Good morning on this Wednesday, September 11. It’s hard to not remember what happened on this day 18 years ago. I remember it so clearly. Back then I worked at Century City Eye in the billing department. My job started at 7:30 AM but I always go there around 6 ish as I left home early every morning to beat traffic. I used to listen to KFWB while I drove to work or whatever sports talk show that was on at that hour. I remember as I turned onto Century Park East, I heard the first reports of a plane hitting a building in New York. The sun had just risen and I remember pulling into the parking structure and rushing to the elevators to get to my office. The surgical staff had already arrived and we all watched in the break room in horror as the events were unfolding. The first number I dialed was my parents as I felt like a scared child. I remember one of the OR nurses, Gabby, walking around with her bike helmet on. Around 8:30 AM our bosses called an informed us to go and be with our families and leave for the day. That morning, our world had changed. Life was scary and uncertain. I remember for a few months after that sad event in American history, we became used to security checking under our cars as we drove into the parking structures and getting heavily searched before we entered concerts or large events. The building I had worked in funny enough was across the mini twin towers in Century City near the mall. Then as most things do, security lessened and even I thought about it less and less. I can’t even imagine the horror that everyone that had been in or near or knew someone that had been in the building that had been struck that morning or how different their lives became after that morning. It did freak me out a little and I started looking for work closer to home shortly after that event. I had an escape plan and remember telling my kids which route I would take if I were unable to drive my car if something happened as that part of Century City was so congested. Lucky for me, a few months later, I landed a new job, Customer Service Rep in billing & finance at City of Hope Medical Group near the end of 2001. This meant that if I were scared, my parents were only two miles from my new job. Speaking of my Dad, tomorrow September 12, my Daddy would have been 84. How I wish I could sit next to him and listen to his stories and wisdom. So every year around this time, I get a little melancholy.
My Dad was like a super hero, at least to me. He had the best stories, or I should say, tall tales. I think I was almost 13 when I stopped believing that he was attacked by a shark that swam into the bathtub! Really! He had this scar on his leg and he had so many different stories about how it happened. He also had a saying for everything like “I was sad because I had no shoes till I met a man with no feet.” I got that one anytime I wanted something extra. Like an extra pair of shoes or new jeans. Then there was that one about shit and your hand or something like that. Guess I have to look that one up and so glad I did as I just giggled to myself. The saying is “Want in one hand and shit in the other, See which gets filled faster”. Most Dad’s would refer to poor kids in other countries, not my Dad. Yeah, I guess he was a little crude and I am getting less and less crude each day or at least I am trying my best. My poor kids got to hear many of my Dad’s wisdom tumble out of my mouth from time to time. I only hope they have good memories of him as I sure do.
I had to play a song that reminds me of him. My Dad had way with singing. He used to speak the words to songs and then add “I know that shit.” So, here in the video is Looking Glass singing Brandy.
This song made me vision a seaport town and Brandy working at the bar and dreaming of better days. It was only about 10 years ago when I started working back at the Brass Elephant as a cocktail waitress and then as a bartender and then as kitchen manager. Yeah, that is one thing I know I picked up from my Dad and that was my work ethic. He once gave us girls the advice to learn everything about a job so that they miss you if you are not there. So, at every job I worked at, no matter what it was, I watched, learned and Googled till I figured something out. Ooops, back to that song, Every time I hear that song it always reminds me sitting at the kitchen table in our little galley style kitchen in my childhood home in Duarte and all the celebrations and such that happened there. I haven’t been by that old house in years but would to see the old neighborhood soon. I also remember driving him to his appointments when he had dialysis in Monrovia or to check-ups in Baldwin Park. Had I not left that job in Century City, I would not have had all those lunch hours at my parents or taking them to their appointments. Working at COHMG allowed me to take off as much time as I needed when Dad and Mom were ill and then through my Dad’s death and the new life without him. Glad I have all these memories of him locked in my head, the good, the bad and everything in between.
To you dear reader, where ever in the world you are I hope it is peaceful and where ever you are going, get there safely. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again.