Then and now – Feb 26


Twenty one years ago on this date, I turned the television on to watch the twelve o’clock news. There was a special report announcing the WTC had experienced an explosion. I yelled down the basement stairs to my husband. He came bounding up the stairs, stood in front of the television and stated with a typical firefighter mentality “I can’t believe it. I missed the big one.” Today my thoughts and prayers have been with the families that lost loved ones on February 26, 1993. 6 people including a pregnant woman were killed in that terrorist attack. Their names are listed on the National September 11 Memorial including the words “and her unborn child”. Just think that unborn child would be an almost 21 year old young person. On another note, September 11, 2001 would prove that my husband didn’t “miss the big one.”

Today I spent the day at the hospital with my sister waiting for my mother to have surgery to remove a foreign object from her lung. Saturday morning, my mother had shown signs of confusion at the independent living facility where she resides. My sister had received a phone call and transported my mother to the hospital. I drove two hours north to join them. The ED doctors after a CT discerned she had not had a stroke (thank you, Jesus) but had pneumonia from a foreign object in her lung. She was admitted and we were told she would need to have the object removed. The foreign object was part of her dental bridge. You can’t make this stuff up. The back story is in May of 2013 at a family reunion my mother started “choking”. She insisted that she was fine. After much coaxing, she would look in a mirror, I would stand behind her and realize she was missing teeth. “I am fine. Don’t worry.” My cousin and I each contacted friends who are nurses and they stated “just keep an eye out. It will probably pass out of her body naturally.” Days pass and I ask my mom “did you poop the teeth?” My mom says “yes.” She shows no signs that she has aspirated it. She appears healthy. Fast forward to February 2014 after an unsuccessful attempt on Sunday to remove it, she is intubated, sedated, pumped with antibiotics and today surgery is scheduled. I am thankful that the procedure that failed on Sunday was accomplished successfully today. The surgeon walked in the waiting room jiggling a container that contained the bridge with 4 teeth attached. He said “this has to go to pathology.” My sister stated ” we don’t want it back.” He stated “the dentist can probably put it back in.” Alrighty, then. ūüôā

Miss Ann says


 About Faith:

  • If it all can be explained, where is the supernatural.
  • Sometimes life is lived in ten minute intervals. Lord, give me the next ten minutes.¬† Okay, I made it through those 10 minutes. Let’s do ten minutes more.
  • Mind your own business is in the Bible¬† “…and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
  • God can be trusted in the darkness and the light.
  • ‚ÄĚ I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being¬†¬†content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. ¬†I can do all this through him who gives me strength.‚ÄĚ
  • God is good. God is love. God is holy.

 About Friendship:

  • Lunch with friends is delightful even if the food isn’t delicious.
  • Silence in a conversation with a good friend isn’t an uncomfortable thing.
  • “Old” friends add layers to my life. “New” friends are the icing on the cake.
  • My friends have friends.
  • Sometimes all you can do is be there and listen.
  • To be a friend is an intentional¬†priceless act.

 About Family:

  • Having both of my daughters in the same place at the same time is the best.
  • Giving my mum an inexpensive bouquet of flowers and a cr√®me horn pastry can make her day.
  • Marriage is a¬† life commitment that should be taken seriously.
  • My parents did the best job they could with the resources they had.
  • My children¬†remember events differently than I do.
  • Parenting is hard work but worth every minute.

For me:

  • A good book, a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate make for a lovely evening.
  • Snuggling a sleeping baby on my chest is magical
  • An unsolicited hug from a child/teen has the power to improve my day.
  • Peanut butter and jelly on an English muffin, Fritos and a glass of milk are my ultimate comfort food lunch.
  • Books are meant to be read and shared.
  • I am good being by myself. I reboot being alone.

To my students:

  • Don’t use last names when speaking about someone. You don’t know who is related to whom.
  • Most of life has nothing to do with what you want to do.
  • If you end up on Jerry Springer, I don’t want to hear my name mentioned.
  • I don’t make threats, I make promises.
  • “What made you think that was a good idea?”

Things I wished I had learned sooner:

  • No matter how well I treated my body after a certain age it would betray me.
  • Being silent when someone speaks isn’t the same as listening to them.
  • There is wonder to be found in each new¬†day.
  • ¬†Challenging¬†weather conditions, flight delays and traffic issues may affect my day but they are not personal attacks on me.
  • Smiling at someone could make their day (and my day).
  • There are people who thrive on drama. I don‚Äôt have to aid and abet their¬†drama.

Each Day:

  • may I remember the blessings of the past.
  • may I look forward to the future.
  • may I be present in the now.
  • ¬†may I act justly, love mercy¬†¬†and¬† walk humbly with¬†my God.
  • may I be who God intended me to be. ūüôā

random thoughts from 60 years of life:


when I was kid:

1. there were 9 planets.

2. adults were called Mr. or Mrs.

3. television when off the air and started each morning with a photo of the  American flag and the playing of the National Anthem.

4. the president was assassinated .

5. we practiced for nuclear attacks.


when I was a teen:

1. MLK and RFK were assassinated.

2. men walked on the moon.

3. I believed¬† “to live is to dance, to dance is to live”

4. my male classmates had draft numbers

5. POWs came home from Vietnam


when I was in my 20’s

1. I studied dance, voice and acting in NYC and auditioned for Broadway shows

2. I went to college part-time.

3. I started a business with my best friend

4. I meet my hubby and got married

5. drove across country with my sister and sister-in-law. I went to England and France with my bff.


when I was in my 30’s

1. I had 1 miscarriage and gave birth to 2 daughters

2. “have dance will travel” taught¬† dance in many places to many people

3. was Sunday School Superintendent in my local church

4. my hubby became a FDNY firefighter

5. the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded


¬†when I was in my 40’s

1. Life had a more balanced rhythm.

2. we got a dog.

3. vacations –¬† England, Prince Edward Island, National Park Tour, Houseboat rental, camping…

4. Oklahoma City bombing and September 11 happened.

5. I became a widow.


when I was in my 50’s

1. my daughters got married.

2. my brother and  my dad died.

3. I spoke in NJ, NY, PA, CA, NH, TN, KS, Northern Ireland and Japan.

4. I had breast cancer and I am now five years cancer free.

5. I retired from my dancing school.


on February 13, I will turn 60 and I can say:

“Scars and struggles on the way

But with joy our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone

Carried by Your constant grace

Held within Your perfect peace

Never once, no, we never walk alone.

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own

You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful”

 Never Once by Matt Redman


but why ???


Last week I had the opportunity to speak with a group of fifth graders at the Tribute Center. It was one of those very cold days so the children arrived all bundled up in their coats, mittens, scarves and hats. We encouraged them to unfasten their coats, take off their hats and mittens. As with any group of children, you had those who were attentive and those who weren’t. They were led through the galleries by a staff member and I had the privilege of “tagging along”. One of the first comments the curator made was “are the attacks of September 11, 2001 current events or history?” It seemed strange to me that I hadn’t thought about that before. I pondered that question. I realized for fifth graders it is history they weren’t even born on September 11, 2001 but to their teachers, parents and older siblings it is current events.

At one point I overheard a student say to his fellow student “but why did they do it?”. They shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads and looked puzzled. I asked the two young men if they would like me to try to answer that question. “sure!” I choose my words very carefully. How do you explain terrorism to children. I have been trained in the proper things to say but it is always tricky. A simple answer is usually the best answer so I said “the terrorists were taught to hate. They were taught to hate America.” “oh!!” was their response.

Later when the fifth graders, their teachers and chaperones had finished viewing the galleries, they joined me downstairs for a my part of their visit – my September 11 story, timeline review and Q & A time. During the Q & A the same question was asked again “but why did they do it?” I gave the group the same basic answer I had given the two students. I stated “the terrorist were taught to hate. There is a whole bunch of history behind it but bottom line is they were taught to hate and then they made a bad choice to act on that hatred. Unfortunately, all through history people have been taught to hate but it is a choice to act or not act on hatred.” Little arms shoot up with more questions – “but why the Twin Towers?”. We discuss what an iconic is and what the Twin Towers stood for. We discuss what the Pentagon stood for.

And then a statement that was part fact, part misunderstanding and part question. “So after the plane hit the buildings, the police arrested the terrorists and they are in jail, right?” stated a wide-eyed 10-year-old boy. Pause. Glance at teacher. Breath. Think. I started formulating my words even more carefully. For a moment I thought how did he miss that a plane hitting a building would kill everyone? Was he not paying attention? How do I explain the unimaginable to this child? “No, the terrorist died, too! It was a suicide mission ” A look of shock on more than one face. Okay, they really don’t get this. Another pause. “You know if something bad happened while we were here together I would do whatever it took to keep you safe. Your teachers, all the grown ups here would be willing to protect you. Just like police officers, firefighters, and our military do all the time. But nothing in me can understand hating someone so much that I would kill myself so that they would die, too. That is what the terrorist did. They hated so much that they were willing to die so that someone else would die. And you know I am really glad you can’t comprehend that because you don’t want to be able to comprehend that.” ūüė¶

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom