Quite Anecdotally – 1st Anniversary of 9/11

Quite Anecdotally (previously published on September 11th, 2002 on the 1st Anniversary of the attack)

by philip scott wikel

As a 7-year-old child in upstate New York I looked forward, with great anticipation, to the week I would spend with my grandparents in Yonkers. It was a slice of summertime Americana wherein my grandfather would invariably take my brother and I to a Mets game, or maybe the Empire State building, and once, if memory serves, we were even treated to a double-header at Shea Stadium where I first heard the word “mezzanine” and where, across the street, stood a metal sculpture of the world.

Angelo’s pizza was just down the street and never failed to create the best pie that side of Manhattan. It was New York pizza which now might be seen as a stripped-down, back-to-basics variety; a delight that required no frills or Wolfgang Puckish additives for it’s divine taste, only the magic inherent in a New York pizzeria. The biggest decision was whether to get plain crust or “Sicilian.”

My brother’s favorite pastime during these trips was, being out of reach of our folks, to take every opportunity to scare the living hell out of me. I lost a lot of sleep at Nana and Grandpa’s because I truly believed that Godzilla was going to come and get me. I found refuge from this form of brotherly love by hanging out on “the stoop,” or playing with my friend Gerard Petit, which he pronounced “Gelard.” His favorite baseball team was the “New Lork Lankees” and his love for them was surpassed only by his love for the “Gleen Bay Plackers.”

He and I would spend the better part of Saturday morning glued to the cartoons that most every other kid in 1973 would be watching. The “Super Friends” made us believe that anything was possible and we’d often daydream about hanging out with them in the “Hall of Justice.” Looking back now I feel a bit uneasy in thinking of how we complained that the “Twin Towers” cast a shadow on the TV screen; they were so tall they interfered with the transmission of the signal. This imprint or impression was like so many you now see in graphics of remembrance, appearing as ghosts, reminding us of a very recent past.

Gerard was a good little soul and I regret not having kept in touch with him after moving west. I’m sure he went on to do good things. Maybe he’s building a real hall of justice and maybe we’ll all be invited to its grand opening.

Nana and Grandpa both passed on several years ago. I’m sure September 11th would have broken Nana’s heart and I’m equally sure that Grandpa would’ve been one of the first to lend a hand afterwards.

My brother lives in North Carolina now. I was there with him and the rest of my family when the attacks took place. There was nowhere better to be at that moment because, the promised Godzilla had finally come and we had distance and each other to keep us safe from harm.

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