Sunday, September 11, 2005

Promises not kept.

Every year since 2001, my favorite NY Daily News columnist, Pete Hamill, writes something about 9-11. And so he delivers again:

Promises Not Kept.

Four years gone, and the void remains.

Four years gone, and the fence still surrounds our ruined 16 acres, while nothing rises to the skies.

Four years gone. Longer than it took the United States to fight World War II.

Tourists still arrive at the site of the vanished World Trade Center, aiming digital cameras at each other, or past the fence, but there are fewer of them now. Some gaze at the three panels of the Ground Zero time line on the fence, with its scenes of destruction and heroism. A few seem choked with memory, or anger, recalling where they were when the south tower fell. A few are New Yorkers. For many, it was a television event.

"It was right over there, Margaret," a pudgy man says to his wife, pointing at the void. "Right there." A pause. "Remember?"

Friday, January 21, 2005

books, glorious books

"Don't Wake Me at Doyles" by Maura Murphy. I read the first two pages while at B&N last night, and I wanted to read more, except there was no place to sit down.

Born in 1928, "a delicate child with a peculiar shape... chronically ugly and cross as a briar," Murphy was the third of seven children in a rural family. With few work prospects in the "middle of Ireland's bog land," she moved to Dublin to become a housekeeper, and after a few years was raped by her boyfriend, got pregnant and saw no other choice but to marry him.

There was also "The Speckled People: Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood" again, which I wanted to take home, but didn't.

"Downtown: My Manhattan" by Pete Hamill (my favorite NY Daily News columnist aside from David Hinckley) will one day find itself on my shelf.

It all got me thinking about Frank McCourt. He's a Brooklyn College alumni and spoke to the incoming freshman class, which made me infinitely envious. I think it was during my last semester there (or maybe the second to last) when I had the privilege to hear this man speak and read some passages from Angela's Ashes. Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the entire session because I had a class to go to...but wow. Not only did he have amazing, heartbreaking, wonderful, inspiring anecdotes about his experiences growing up in Ireland and coming of age New York, but he had such inborn charm coupled with a soft, lilting accent that made you want to sit on the floor with your legs crossed and listen to him tell stories forever. I felt that much more enriched simply by listening to his voice. He's that kind of person you wish you knew personally, or even just on a casual basis. A rare soul.