December 19, 2001
Dear Twin Towers:
It is said that writing letters to those who have gone is therapeutic. To many you were made of steel. To me, you were more than a home. You were a haven I had never known. Yes, writing a letter to buildings is a tad bizarre. But I have come to accept myself as eccentric. I write to you as if you were people, telling you what I would say to much missed dear friends.
It had been so long since I had seen you. I had planned, and still do, to move back to New York with my husband, Russ and our dogs. I wanted to show you off to them. I fell in love with you both when I first saw you in the summer of 1976. I stood between the two of you, North and South, and recognized your astounding beauty, your sleek lines and countless windows. "Whoever provided the glass for you must still be supporting himself," I thought to myself.
That autumn in 1976, I moved back to New York, the city I fell in love with in 1969, and began building my life there. I thought of you often, wondering if I would work in your glorious beauty. Having low vision since birth, I received training at the Jewish Guild for the Blind in order to have skills to offer New York City employers.
The folks at the Jewish Guild got me a position at Ebasco Services, Inc as a Clerk/Typist. I worked on Rector Street for three months when in the Spring of 1979, Ebasco employees received word from Mayor Koch that if Ebasco would agree to move its offices to the World Trade Center, they would pay no rent for three years.
Employee reactions were mixed, because you were both so tall. I was thrilled when I remembered the first time I saw you in 1976 and the dream to be a part of you would become reality. We began the move over to the South Tower in September 1979. Ebasco would occupy floors 79 through 96.
I was on South Tower's 86th floor. I can still feel the fresh air coming up through the vents on your floors just beneath your streamlined windows, South Tower. I touched your windows and felt the warmth of the sun against my hand. One day I had lunch on one of your windowsills, utterly fearless of falling out! I can still hear the double doors on your 86th floor gently clicking closed as people passed through them.
I was the youngest of four daughters. Born as a result of rubella, I felt the hatred and shame inflicted by father, mother, sisters, and even the mates. In New York I found release from them and met North Tower first when a doctor I was dating asked me where I wanted to have dinner one night to celebrate my emancipation from a family that designated me its scapegoat for all of its anger and problems. We ate at the Windows on the World. This was the Spring of 1978. In my memory I still see South Tower as she stood by his sister, North Tower.
Working in the South Tower I found freedom, confidence, independence and peace, all of the things the family had succeeded in taking from me.
they so greedily took from me.
Then I did something stupid. I took the advice of a Nazarene minister who told me to call the family up and tell them that I had forgiven them. The mother knew how to manipulate me and get me to give up my own apartment and let her move in. The abuse was accelerated. She wanted to somehow punish me for trying to find myself.
I moved to California to get away from them and that is the biggest regret of my life. California does not welcome people with any impairment. When I arrived in San Francisco, an employment agent told me "Take your goddamned blind eye and get the hell out of my office. I'm not helping you find work." She heads the list of many ugly memories I now have of California, and why I want to come home to New York.
I married, but never had children. Too sullied and damaged by the family I did not want children. Instead we have dogs, Dobermans and one Miniature pinscher. I went to the University of California at Berkeley and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English.
I am sitting at my desk on your 86th floor reading a card from Margaret Berkery who was retiring from Ebasco. She admonished me to "Go to college. You have the intelligence and the tenacity to accomplish great things." I am now in the Master's program at another University.
Tuesday, September 11th was my day off. I was watching Animal Planet when the phone rang. It was an invitation from the minister's wife to come and pray for America. I handed the phone to Russell. "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!" I heard him say. I turned the channel to CNN and watched in shock and horror as my "friends" fell. I went into the bathroom and nearly vomited.
I hope you are both put right back up—just the way you were. Perhaps each of you may have a room set aside for those who died. Southy, you will keep the names of those who died in you; Northy, you will have the names of those lost inside of you. Perhaps when people will see those names as they make they way to their desks, they will remember that all of us, including those with disabilities need love, tolerance, and acceptance. Just maybe people will learn not to blame God, but to seek him. You will always be the memorial twins to me.
I would be proud to work in one of you. To not put you back would be to pacify the terrorists who took you down, to defer to their hatred, to somehow give them freedom to destroy something else.
Our technological capacities have advanced since Minoru Yamasaki built you. He said, "The World Trade Center should become a representative of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity."
It was in your towers that I did find my individual dignity Mr. Yamasaki combined the best of engineering and architectural aesthetics and created you both. France had the Eiffel Tower. America had you.
The night of September 11th, I looked at the two of you. You were leaning into each other, as if to support each other in what little you had left of yourselves. In that, you, Twin Towers symbolized what those who loved you were doing, leaning on each other. You look so human to me. Two elegant twin sisters.
This letter is to thank you for what you so generously gave me. I realize that someone will read it and probably wonder who this person is who wrote a letter to the Twin Towers. Why did she do this? Perhaps in writing to you, South and North Tower, I may heal in some fragmented fashion. Perhaps someone in New York who knew me will see it.
I will never forget or forgive what I saw happen to you. I choose not to "understand" why. To "understand" is too close to excusing or accepting what was done to you.
I still want to move back home to New York. If I don't see you both on this earth again, I will see you "up there," where there will be no Osama bin Ladin, no terrorists, no hatred, no destruction—ever again. I hope you will be there on Golden Street.
Thank you, Twin Towers, thank you New York, for all you gave to me. You have my heart. I love you, always.