(Forgive me for another 9/11-related post, but I'm still thinking about my visit to the Memorial.) My mother, z"ll, a bookkeeper by profession, was an aspiring interior designer and architect by dream and imagination. She loved when new skyscrapers sprouted in Manhattan, and would plan excursions to visit and gawk. I remember, in particular, field trips to Citibank (with the slice missing) and AT&T (with the Chippendale top), but the World Trade Center was her favorite by far. We counted down the days to the opening, and then made multiple trips to the very top and a view that seemed to embrace the universe. On July 4, 1976, when tall ships from all over the world gathered in New York Harbor, we managed to squeeze into an elevator—security? what's that?—that landed on the top floor where TV cameras were transmitting the spectacle to the entire world. It was actually a little disappointing, because from almost a mile up the ships looked like matchstick toys. But just being there was enough to make me feel like I was helping to make history in some small way.
The towers falling—being murdered—was an assault on those memories. It was no longer possible to look up at the buildings and re-live those trips. Photos evoked only anger and sadness. I could find no space in the drawers and crevices of recall to place the good times I spent on top of the towers with my mother, and best friends, and my first boyfriend as we chastely held hands and scanned the horizon for the speck of the street where I lived in Queens. For the past fifteen years those memories have been adrift, seeking a spot to land.
When I saw the two pools yesterday that rest in the footprints of the North and South Towers, I knew I could stop searching. My mother would have loved them. I can see her leaning over the perimeter and tracing the names with her fingers, and then listening to the waterfall and smiling.