September 11, 2008.
A day that we may find respite from the increasingly ridiculous political garbage, a day when maybe any of the candidates may realize WHY they want the job anyway!!! (and a day where there are many scrambling to avoid the natural disaster of Ike who may not have the time to ponder old ills because of the new and very real ones heading their way…good luck to you)
The following is an essay I wrote back in 2002. At the bottom of this essay there will be a link to some of my photos of the day, and my first-person account of the day. I don’t need to keep saying more. This should be enough.
How will the NEXT year be measured? RENT closed the other day. One more thing from then, gone. But before it left, it had become an anachronism.Seeing it last month, I couldn’t help but note later to my cousin that the world of RENT had become a period piece…
“Seasons of Love” ( From the musical RENT, by Jonathon Larson)
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure – measure a year?…
In daylights – in sunsets
In midnights – in cups of coffee
In inches – in miles
In laughter – in strife…
How about love?…
Measure in love…
Seasons of love…
…Five hundred twenty-five thousand journeys to plan…
…How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?…
…In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In the bridges he burned
Or the way that she died…
…It’s time now – to sing out
Tho’ the story never ends
…Remember the love…
Measure in love…
These words came to me, as I was driving, and they helped themselves to my quilt. So, how do I honor this past year? There were so many changes in my life…my brother moving in with us, my marriage, the graduation of my daughter, her moving away to college, my moving away from New York, changing jobs…and all of these, tinged with the memory of a year past… …and of the sights and sounds of horror as we stood and watched the buildings fall; and the tears shed on my brothers shoulder, and the tears Arlie cried on mine; the cold wet ground stealing up through my shoes as the bag-pipes played at Mike Fiore’s funeral; of the endless processions of sadness that lined Staten Island roads for months as family after family came to the sad realization that their loved
one was gone.
I wanted a way to honor this. I decided that around the border of this quilt, I embroidered the initials of some lost that day. In the blocks are folk-art styled symbols of the events. I was fortunate enough to know few. But step outside the line, just one step from my door, and there are many people I know who lost friends and family. I would like to use their initials on my quilt as well.
“There is no good memorial for them but remembering.”
September 11, 2002
Essay and Photos from my old blog about 9-11 (this is my FIRST website…ancient, decripit and ignored…someday, I may move stuff… for now, you’ll need to take the trip over…)
(Town…can you tell I’ve been in Virginia too long??!! LOL) I took the 6:00 AM Amtrak into THE CITY (is that better??) on Thursday to go see RENT again before it closes for good after an astonishing twelve year run!
….yeah, it was a fast trip—now you see me, now you don’t—and those friends that I called to try and connect with were unavailable—C’est la vie…
I traveled sans camera. It was a near thing; but when I opened up the computer to check the weather forecast and they promised 100% chance of precipitation. it seemed a lost cause to carry around a digi SLR and zoom lens through Manhattan, and not be able to shoot anything. There isn’t much that’s less exciting than parading around the streets of the city dodging umbrellas, and trying to keep a camera dry. Instead I carried a raincoat and tossed an umbrella into my backpack.
So, of course, it didn’t rain. I need to go back again! Roaming through Chinatown for the afternoon with Arlie, my eyes were frantic with looking, my fingers twitchy with nothing to shoot.
Dinner was of course, New York style pizza. And then we headed for the show. The idea was, TICKETS to RENT one more time, for Arlie’s college graduation gift. (There’s a post back in April about the idea.) The show was awesome. Fabulous. Go see it if you have a chance in the next 6-odd weeks, before it’s over. Sadness, really. Because all the biggies are gone, excepting Phantom. I shouldn’t say that–after all, I am not in NY any longer; don’t really know what’s around. But it seems an end of an era is approaching…..
It was interesting watching it, because as I did, it occurred to me, that RENT has become something of a period piece. Frozen in time. Dated, almost, but not in a bad way. But so perfectly identifiable with a moment past.
I said this to my cousin, who was awesome and took us on a backstage tour after the show…. Apparently I am not the only one with that view; she said there was an article in the NY Times recently about it…. Pity I don’t get the Times!
So Arlie and I got to stand on stage, looking out onto the empty seats, shocked at how small the Nederlander really is, and poke about and look around, and meet some of the actors, and sign the wall out back! Crystal gave Arlie a signed poster and some other goodies from the show as well…
….and our trip into the city was complete, because as is tradition, we had to haul freight at the end of the night to catch the midnight ferry…not so used anymore to chasing ferryboats, we both refused to run up the many stairs to watch the gates close in our faces, but as soon as we saw they were open, we dug into it with gusto and the great memories of so many nights ending with a sprint, determined to not linger in the ferry terminal in the middle of the night waiting an hour for a boat… it all felt ‘right’…
Catherine and her family graciously allowed us to crash at 1AM–didn’t get to do so much as wave at anyone other except Grandma Johnson and Maggie May…then home again, home again, jiggity-jig, I stopped and grabbed a dozen bagels and was summarily tortured by the smell for the 6 hour train ride back to Richmond!! BUT. Now I have bagels for breakfast!
6,700,000 minutes running, 235,000 odd minutes left. (–and counting).
How do you measure—-
Measure a life?
A gritty, sad, uplifting tale, tossed into the 1990’s in NYC and it is iconic now. Just the other day I was in the city for the afternoon, on a no particular destination roam-about. And walking past The Nedelander Theater, the walls covered with graffiti caught me as they do, and the wash of a variety of emotions churned around in my mind.
My daughter Arlie fell in love with Rent way back in the 8th grade, 10 years ago. I closed my eyes and could see her smiling face as she opened the envelope on Christmas morning with her tickets to Rent. She lived with the CD in her Walkman, all the lyrics committed to memory. And it’s probably on her Ipod at this moment.
Another vision of Arlie and I, walking through the smoky, dusty streets of Manhattan on September the 15 or 16 2001, on our way to purchase tickets to Rent so her soon to be step-sister could see the show.
We stood on Broadway in the dusky late afternoon as a parade of heavy machinery, designed to tear things apart, crept southward, and the more final implications of their actions reached deep inside our aching hearts; because those behemoths were all but declaring no one would be found living in the rubble, Guilani’s continued TV proclamations of searching longer to the contrary. It was a quiet moment on Broadway, the same thought probably flitting through every persons mind.
Rent has been on Broadway, it occurs to me, most of Arlie’s conscious life. All of her adult life. And now she is graduating from college next month (FINALLY ;} ) and Rent will be closing soon too. All around us, things change, grow,move on.
It seems fitting I think, that maybe tickets to Rent could be a part of her graduation celebration. It’s always been there for her so far. Guess I need to find out how difficult it will be to find some tickets to the show.
So how odd indeed, to come home and find an article in the New York Times on the actual genesis of the Wall at the Nederlander? It’s an interesting article… Click here!
Look at my Flickr photos (to the right) for the photos I took last week.