Sunday, February 26, 2006

Touched by Terror

Today is the anniversary of the first bombing of the World Trade Centers. Back in 1993 I was in Newark, NJ walking through the bar at the Ramada when I saw the images of smoke coming out of the tower. I was there as part of a meeting and was about to head back north to New Paltz. I quickly found a pay phone and called my Mom to find out where my Dad was. My dad worked in Tower 1 on the 69th floor.

Rewind... my Dad got a job with the Port Authority back in 1966, I forget where he worked in the first years, but when they began to build the World Trade Centers his office was moved there. I know he was working there in the unfinished building, because family legend says that it was my mom's fear of going up in the unfinished upper floors that helped induce labor for my birth. So I have had a personal connection with the towers right from the start. Growing up we used concrete cylinders that came from the construction trash of the towers to hold open doors in the summer.

I went and visited my dad at least once on every school vacation up until high school, and even when I was in college I would sometimes take the bus down to NYC and meet up with him. Trips to the observation deck were a must and he always had tickets to the observation deck in his desk drawer so we could jump the line and get right to the elevator. I even had the opportunity to sleep on the observation deck as part of a special Boy Scout "camping" experience. After the bombing in 1993 it became a little harder to just pop in and see my dad, however us sharing the same name, did have its advantages.

I met my wife in college and whenever we saw the towers as we were driving, on a plane or train, we would always joke and wave to my dad. My dad retired from the Port Authority in January of 2001, and one of my last memories of the inside of the towers was that snowy night as my wife and I made our way through the lobby carrying a six foot ladder wrapped in fabric. It wasn't some sort of Christo project, we gave him a ladder for his retirement.

The towers were always a landmark and coming out of the subway I always looked for the towers I knew they we southeast on the island and depending where I was going I knew to walk towards or away from them. The last time I saw them was about a month before they fell as I was in NYC for a gift show. Banned Song List

Monday, February 20, 2006

The power of the Internet or Calling all Dickissons

So I was playing around tonight with a notebook that was in my great aunt's house of our family history. It must be at least 4 years since I last added information to my computerized family tree and for some reason I got distracted and began again tonight.

I have been looking at the book quite a bit lately trying to gain information about my Civil War ancestors. Seems on my wife's side of the family one of her ancestors was with the 13th NY Heavy Artillery who participated in the Seige of Petersburg. My mind begins to think about him seeing some of the sights after the Union entered the city that we see today. On my side they were not so lucky out of the 4 brothers who went to fight- 3 died with the 15th NJ Infantry and 1 that made it back alive moved to Michigan. I have not been able to find his records yet only the family history that he was captured twice. Anyway of of the 3 that died two of them died about 50 miles north of where we currently live. The 1 that lived may have made it this far depending on where he was captured.

Sorry, I got distracted from my original story. Since I was a kid I have been interested in the Civil War and just ask my wife no Civil War story has a quick ending. I think I have my telling of the Petersburg Campaign to just under an hour now.

So I am looking through the notebook and found a little piece of paper on which was written "Dickisson Picnic 3rd Sunday in August" So I thought I may Google "Dickisson familiy and NJ" to see if they still do it (this notebook was from the early 80s) and possibly they may have gone techno. So I did the search and I found this record of my great, great, great, grandparents. The John listed born 1816 is my great, great grandfather. (humm... married in Feb and born in July... must have been cold in November 1815) I can not tell you how cool that is to see that the national archives out of all the examples of "Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, ca. 1800 - ca. 1900 These items include fraktur submitted with Revolutionary War Pension applications" they have to use it it my ancestor's not just a cousin or uncle but my actual grandparents record that they used. The power of the internet!

** If anyone out there also has this family tree book I am #878 contact me for updates. **