Monday, September 19, 2016

September 2016: Fire and Ice {earrings-of-the-month}

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

Won't you look down on me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
And I won't make it any other way

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

I’ve been walking my mind to an easy time
My back turned towards the sun
Lord knows the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line
To talk about things to come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.

oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I'd see you one more time again
There's just a few things coming my way this time around,
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you fire and rain, now
Thought I'd see you just one more time again.

"Fire and Rain" ~ James Taylor

Everyone has a 9-11 story. Just as, depending on your age, everyone remembers where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated or where they were when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. As I wrote, everyone has a 9-11 story. Here's mine.

I wrote most of this on the 10th anniversary of that life-changing day.

Flight 77 made an indelible mark on my life. When Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, claiming nearly 200 lives, including the life of Suzanne Calley, I lost a great friend and mentor. I watched her husband, Frank Jensen, grieve. I watched my husband grieve. And I grieved myself.

Jake and I were in Cabo San Lucas with friends for a week-long vacation when we began to see news footage of the Twin Towers in New York burning. Because we were in Mexico, all of the reporting was in Spanish. Later we discovered an English-speaking channel. And, probably, like everyone else in the world, we were glued to the television sets. Day and night. They even had the news playing down at the resort's pool. Cocktails, chlorine, and tragedy are odd bedfellows, but they got us through the week.

With all that coverage - including the victims' names scrolling across the bottom of the screen - you would think that one of us would have seen her name. Suzanne Calley. But, for whatever reason, we never did. The border closed and we were stuck in Mexico for longer than anticipated. The evening entertainment at the resort began to repeat and by the time "Jesus Christ Superstar" started up for the third time, we drew the curtains and the guys poured some more tequila.

When the borders finally opened, tourists trying to get home flooded the airport, but I think we were all leary of getting on a plane. Two plane rides and a shuttle bus later, we opened the door to our townhouse, dropped the bags on the floor, and collapsed on the couch. It was then that we noticed our answering machine blinking. 27 messages. Seriously.

It's all a blur now, but I distinctly remember hearing Frank's voice, strained, holding back sobs. "Where are you guys? Zanne would know where you are. Call me. I need to talk to you." That was the first message...and the fifth...and the fourteenth. All the same but with increasing urgency at each call. All wondering where we were and why we weren't returning his call.

Then the series of messages from other friends made it clear: "I'm watching the news and they said that Suzanne Calley died on 9-11. Is that the Suzanne Calley that we know? Call me." "Cam, are you OK? Can you call me? I saw on the news that Suzanne was on one of the planes. Call me." Everyone wanted me to call them. But my knees buckled and I fell to the floor. All I could do was focus on breathing through my tears. Inhale. Exhale.

I finally did make those calls. I took even more time off work. I went to her memorial in Gilroy. But it wasn't till Jake and I accompanied Frank and other family members to the official memorial at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., that it became real to me that I would never see Suzanne again.

Zanne was an amazing woman in so many ways. Her passions for life, for diving, and for Frank were evident in everything she did. We spent almost every weekend for two years with them, learning to dive ourselves and, then, because we had worked our way up through the certifications, as Frank and Zanne's divemasters. On our non-teaching weekends, we would go up to their home in San Martin, I would cook dinner and we would drink wine, talk, and laugh a lot. We traveled with them. We spent time at their alpine cabin, skiing and building bone-breaking bobsled runs. And it was on the divetrip that they organized off the coast of Venezuela that Jake proposed marriage.

Though joyous events begin to fill the void made by a tragedy such as this, the loss is no less tragic. I now have Riley and Dylan. Riley's due date was June 11th, 2002, a miracle pregnancy after 18 months of infertility. That is another story on its own. But you can do the math and know that I do believe in angels. Frank is remarried to a wonderful gal named Deb. We have celebrated other friends' weddings and births. Life has gone on. And though time has made the pain less sharp, I still miss her.

Well, it's been fifteen years. But I was inspired to create this month's pieces in honor of my friend. Zanne. 

Ladies, I hope you don't see these as a morbid inspiration. My life was better for having known her.

Your one-of-a-kind pieces feature smoky chalcedony, fiery agate, grey labradorite, moonstone, and more. All are handwired with sterling silver and hang from sterling silver earwires.

No comments:

Post a Comment