Hey Y'all!

It took me awhile to get here, but alas I'm finally joining the blogosphere of bloviation. It took a rant floating around in my head to send me toward this journey, but so be it. We'll have some fun here too. I promise. Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to leave me a comment or two. ~ diane

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Beautiful Memoir

I've been under the weather the last few days, so I literally lost myself in a good book. You already know I love to read, but when I'm not feeling well, it's often my only solace. Sometimes I can't read, if the headaches are too severe. And there was that time when I had swine flu and just breathing was all I could handle . . .

Thankfully, this time around I was able to devour a book I'd recently discovered at a used bookstore. It's called A Widow's Walk: A Memoir of 9/11 by Marian Fontana. Here's some copy from the inside flap:

On September 11, I dropped my son off at his second full day of kindergarten. The sky was so blue it looked as if it had been ironed. I crossed the street, ordered coffee, and sat to wait for my husband to meet me. It was our eighth anniversary and Dave and I were about to begin a new chapter in our seventeen years together. Sipping coffee, I watched as a line of thick black smoke crept across the sky from Manhattan, oblivious to the fact that my life was about to change forever.

Marian's husband Dave was a firefighter from the elite Squad 1 in Brooklyn. That morning, he was leaving the firehouse when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. He wasn't even supposed to be at work, but Marian had insisted he switch shifts so he'd have their anniversary off . . .

This is one of those books you don't really want to read, but you find you can't-not-read. In fact, I read all 419 pages in less than 48 hours. It's been eight and a half years since the attacks of 9/11, and even though the wars still rage in Afghanistan and Iraq, it's easy to forget the unspeakable grief of that day in 2001. Especially for those of us who don't live in New York or Washington or Pennsylvania. But for these families, I'm quite sure the memories stay fresh in ways we can't even imagine.

And that's what made this book such an unforgettable read. The author shares her memories from those first moments of disbelief, through the undeniable certainty that her husband was buried in that eight-story rubble at Ground Zero, through the endless, exhausting wakes and funerals of fellow fire-fighters, to the acceptance of a new, unwanted life as a widow and single mother. Fontana's transparency, sometimes so painfully difficult to read much less imagine, takes you along with her through those first hours, weeks, and months after our nation's worst attack.

Marian Fontana was an accomplished comedienne, actress, and writer long before September 2001. Her sense of humor helped get her through her grief, despite her relentless tears. It helped as she became active on behalf of the 9/11 families, fighting with others against ridiculous political issues that surfaced. But this is not a fun book to read. Still, less we forget where we've been, it's so important to stop occasionally and be reminded of those who still grieve every day of their lives for loved ones and friends who perished on 9/11. Especially those who willingly walked into those twin towers trying to save the lives of others - because THAT, in my humble opinion, may be the truest picture of the American spirit.

I learned so much reading this book. Next time you're feeling under the weather, give me a call. I'll be happy to loan it to you.

1 comment:

  1. Was beginning to wonder where you were. I have been checking your blog. Hope you are feeling much, much better! P.S. Got the book you sent!! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been reading little bits and journaling. It is great!