September 11, 2010

Remembering Franco Lalama on 9/11

Filed under: Essays,Patriotic,Political — nigelmoose @ 12:03 am

Franco Lalama was a traditional man. Born in Italy, he came to America at age 7 and settled in New Jersey. As the eldest son, tradition held that he was responsible for the others. It was a characteristic that would define him his entire life.

“He was very responsible, maybe too much so,” his wife Linda remembered. “He put himself last and everyone else first.”

At age 45, Franco worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in an office in One World Trade Center. On the day of the attacks, witnesses reported that true to form, Franco helped others first. He made sure everyone had evacuated the 64th floor engineering office, and then went back to check one more time. “Go ahead,” Franco told them. “I’ll follow.”

“My name is Marianne Keane. My stepfather Franco Lalama was an engineer for the Port Authority. He worked on the 64th floor of the World Trade Center. I’m reading this for his memorial. I don’t remember the last time I told him that I loved him. I would give anything to go back to the morning of September 11 and tell him how much I appreciate everything he’s done. But I think he knows that now. In my eyes, he died a hero. And how much more could you ask for?

“There’s a quote that pretty much speaks for itself: ‘You never lose anything, not really. Things, people… they go away, sooner or later. You can’t hold them any more than you can hold the moonlight. But if they have touched you, if they are inside you, then they are still yours.’

“Frank, as I look back on these days, I realize how much I’ll truly miss you and how much I truly love you. You were the best father I could ask for. I miss you and I hope you didn’t hurt too much.
“Love, Marianne.”

– Marianne Keane, September 11, 2002, New York City commemoration of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack

December 09, 2005
It’s been 4 years already and I still miss you a lot. I can’t believe that it has been this long…it feels like yesterday! I was a freshman in high school when you were sent to heaven and now I am a freshman in college. WOW time flies. I miss you sooo much and I wish you were here so I can share with you all of my college experiences. I LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!
Patricia Keane,
Nutley, New Jersey

September 14, 2007
I worked as a temp for the port authority and Mr. Lalama was my supervisor. Although I only worked on the assignment for about 6 weeks I remember he was very kind to me. This was around the holiday season and even though I had only been working there about two weeks and I was a temp worker who would be leaving soon Mr. Lalama made me feel very welcomed and he even bought me a holiday gift which was a very lovely, gift-wrapped large scented candle large enough to be used as a center-piece. I’m also from Essex County, Bloomfield, so we would converse about our experiences commuting to the city from our neighborhoods. He was a very nice man.
Sherena Hightower,
Bloomfield, New Jersey

September 20, 2008
Dear Daddy,
It’s been 7 years already and I miss you so much. I want you to know even though I’m in high school now and I’m wearing make up I will always be your little girl. I love you so much.
Katharine Lalama,
Nutley, New Jersey

I didn’t know Franco Lalama and can only draw conclusions as to the sort of man he was, based on the words of those who knew and loved him: a loving father, a caring boss, a good man. I challenge us all to remember him today, along with all the other victims of 9/11…to always remember them.

More tributes from Project 2,996.

Remembering Jeannine LaVerde on 9/11

Filed under: Essays,Patriotic,Political — nigelmoose @ 12:02 am

All who knew her were in agreement: Jeannine LaVerde lived for her family, and was devoted to her son, Christopher. She was dedicated to her job, but family was the most important thing. Her mother Delores remembers “It was all about the family for my daughter. She didn’t travel much or anything because there was no better vacation place for her than being with the people she loved.”

By all accounts, she was a dedicated mother to her son, and surrogate mom to all the kids in their Staten Island neighborhood. She had a natural way with them and quickly earned their trust. Friends and family remember her giving nature, her love of the snow, and her ability to repair just about anything mechanical.

Jeannine was 36 years old that day in 2001, and her son was 10. She worked as an accounts administrator at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor of 2 World Trade Center. Her mother-in-law worried about the height. “Don’t worry,” Jeannine is reported to have said. “I can run down the stairs. Any problem, I’m out of there.”

After the first plane hit Tower 1, Jeannine could see the fire from her office. She called her mother, who worked nearby, to tell her she was evacuating the building. She reported, while on the phone, of hearing an explosion in her building. As we know now, a second hijacked airliner had been steered into Tower 2 eighteen minutes after the first plane hit Tower 1.

It’s been nine years since that day, but in many ways, for many people, the wounds are just as raw as when we first realized what was happening. We owe it to those who were murdered on September 11, 2001, to hold them in our hearts and minds, and to never forget what happened that day. Please take a moment today to remember, to say a prayer, for Jeannine and for those who she loved and who loved her: her son Chris, her mother, her brother, and many other family and friends who still think of her every day and mourn for what was lost.

More tributes from Project 2,996.

Still Remembering Susan G. Santo

Filed under: Uncategorized — nigelmoose @ 12:01 am

My 2009 Remembrance of Susan G. Santo

September 17, 2009

“You asked. We listened.” says Metro

Filed under: DC,Metro,Virginia — nigelmoose @ 9:56 am

you asked

Spotted this PSA from Metro on the Blue Line this morning:

You asked. We listened.

You asked for a better way to hold on when you’re standing on a moving Metro train. We think these new handles really fit the bill. And we hope you agree.

Christopher Zimmerman
Chairman, Metro Board of Directors


Oh boy!  Not only is Metro now listening to our requests, they are responding and advertising that they’ve done so. 

In the spirit of helping Metro help us, I’ve compiled a few other items in hopes that Metro will listen to these, too. 

1. Eliminate chronic delays on trains.  Some of us have actual jobs with bosses who expect us to be to work on time.  And even if we’re not on our way to work, probably sitting on a stalled train is not how we wanted to spend our time.

2. Recalibrate your bus schedules to take into account actual traffic patterns and drive times.  You’ve been driving in this area for decades, Metro.  Surely you can begin to anticipate where the heavy traffic might slow the bus and adjust your timetables accordingly?

3. If you are only going to have one escalator in a station turned on, have it in the “up” position.

4. Anything you can do about safety, for passengers as well as employees?  Your record on that is not looking so great this year, Metro.

5. No more drivers texting, phoning, or sleeping while operating trains and buses.  We know you are working on that one now.

I have more ideas, Metro, but these will do for starters. 

I asked. I hope you listen.

September 11, 2009

Remembering Susan G. Santo on 9/11

Filed under: Essays,Patriotic,Personal,Political — nigelmoose @ 11:52 am


She was 24 years old and had a young daughter.  She went to work on September 11, 2001, at Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. in the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  She was killed that day as a victim of coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States.

I did not know Susan G. Santo, but I’ve been thinking of her almost constantly since I pledged to write a tribute to her as part of Project 2,996.  I asked to be randomly assigned a name, and being a mother of young children myself, it was especially poignant to have the name of a young mother as my honoree.  I’ve been able to find some information about her online, mere snippets of a full and rich life, but they begin to paint a picture of the woman whose life was taken that day. 

In words from those who knew her, she is remembered for her goofiness, humor, strength, determination, and her devotion to her daughter.  To some she was Sue, Susie, Susan.  To online friends she was “mbossy” and her daughter “lil bossy.”  She was a fan of the Mets (and especially Mike Piazza), Junior’s Cheesecake and the musical group Barenaked Ladies.  I remember and mourn today for Susan, this woman I did not know, for the stolen life, the lost potential, the tragically premature separation of mother and child. 

One friend, who chatted with Susan online, wrote in a tribute:

“I remember one of our last ‘talks’ together, how you told me you were worried your daughter would end up like you, without a mom. I told you not to think like that, you were young and had years with her.”

I pray for her daughter, father, brother, family and friends, that they might find comfort in their memories of Susan, and from each other in their common grief.  It’s an honor to have this chance to commemorate her today.  May we always remember Susan and the other victims who were murdered so horrifically that day.

More tributes from Project 2,996.

Remembrance, respect, and gratitude

Filed under: Patriotic,Political,Virginia — nigelmoose @ 9:13 am

September 11, 2008

We will never forget

Filed under: DC,Patriotic,Political,Virginia — nigelmoose @ 11:15 am

July 17, 2008

US Marines “Build Me Up Buttercup”

Filed under: Goofy,Patriotic — nigelmoose @ 11:44 am

It takes a few seconds for them to get rolling:

May 19, 2008

Foolproof Gardening?

Filed under: Personal — nigelmoose @ 6:45 pm

I don’t have much gardening experience beyond sticking a few annuals in the ground each year, but I decided to try vegetable gardening this year, on a very small scale.  On the advice of a friend who knows a lot more about this than I do, I got two Earth Boxes and planted them this weekend.  I’ve been assured that they are almost foolproof.  Assuming you can follow directions to set them up properly and that they get enough sun, the rest is pretty easy.  A below soil irrigation system means that as long as you keep the reservoir full, you can neither over- nor under-water the plants.


Behold, tomatoes on the left and cucumbers on the right.  (Ignore the weedy mess that is our “lawn”–we inherited that when we moved in last summer.)  They aren’t much to look at yet, but I have high hopes for my fledgling vegetable garden.

About two hours after I planted the Earth Boxes, the boy came into the kitchen and noticed the tomatoes I had purchased earlier that day at the farmers’ market.  He was disappointed when I told him that no, they had not come off the new tomato plants

May 14, 2008

Argument or Contradiction?

Filed under: Goofy — nigelmoose @ 10:50 am
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