“Is Stephanie Alright?” – A 9/11 Experience

Sunday, September 11, 2011                                                                        By Bob Sparrow

     I was awakened by a phone call at around 6:20 a.m. on September 11, 2001.  It was my mother-in-law from Minnesota; she asked, “Is Stephanie alright?”  I said something like, “I guess so, why?”  She said, “Turn on the TV, there’s been a bombing in New York.”  My heart sank.  My daughter, Stephanie was living in New York for the past several years; she had recently graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and was pursuing a Broadway career.

     After turning on the TV and trying to comprehend what was happening, I immediately tried to call Stephanie on her cell phone.  Of course, there was no cell phone service available in New York at that time.  I called her apartment several times and finally got through and was able to talk with her roommate.  She told me that Stephanie had gone into Manhattan that morning for an acting class, but assured me not to worry, that the class was in ‘mid-town’, not ‘down town’ where the bombing had taken place.  I wasn’t assured.  All kinds of scenarios raced through my head placing Stephanie ‘down town’.  As it turned out, she was indeed on a subway to her class in Greenwich Village, which is ‘down town’!

    I continued to call Stephanie’s cell phone even though I realized there was little to no hope of getting through – I just had to do something!  I called her roommate about every 20-30 minutes to ask if she’d heard from her.  She had not.  I was experiencing this American tragedy in a very personal way.  While I was shocked at what I was hearing and watching on television, my overriding concerns were not about who did this to us and why, but rather where is my daughter and is she alright?

     Five agonizingly long hours pass; at 11:30 our phone finally rings.  At that time we didn’t have ‘Caller ID’, so we didn’t know if it was Stephanie or someone calling us to tell us some news we didn’t want to hear.  When that familiar, though audibly shaken, voice came on the phone and said, “Hi Dad, I’m OK”, I cried and found something to be happy about on that tragic day.  She later related her experience to me.  She was on a subway heading to Greenwich Village that morning, but the subway stopped prior to getting there and she was stuck underground for about a half an hour before it came to a station and she got out.  She came up from the subway and saw people standing in the middle of the street staring at the towers of the World Trade Center which were engulfed in smoke.  Soon after she joined them she saw the first (north) tower collapse.  She hurried over to where her acting class was meeting and ended up sitting with the class for several hours, listening to the news and trying to figure out what was going on.  She then decided to try to get home.  She was fortunate enough to find a cab that would take her only as far as mid-town, where she got out and went to Houston’s, the restaurant where she worked, looking for a familiar face, but found that it was closed.  An eerie feeling pervaded mid-town, but it had not turned to panic.  She was determined to get back to her apartment in Queens, but with no public transportation operating, she joined the throngs of people walking out of Manhattan across the Queensboro Bridge.  On her way home she saw thousands of people already queuing up to give blood.

     She was understandably shaken by her proximity to this horrific event, and when she came home to California for Christmas three months later, she decided to stay.  She has returned to New York several times over the last ten years and enjoys all that the ‘Big Apple’ has to offer, but will never forget that day ten years ago when she witnessed history.

American Jobs Act 1 Scene 1

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our president spoke harshly to Congress last night;

Half applauded, while the other half groaned.

Obama’s determined to create and save jobs,

Top priority is saving his own.

It’s going the way of vinyl records and the vacuum tube,

It’s as out of date as a hula hoop and a Rubik’s cube

Its future is like that of the typewriter, or so the techies say;

Just when I learned to run the darn thing, the PC’s becoming passé.

Wives are being ignored , so girlfriends they’ll call;

Or perhaps they’ll spend a bit more time at the local mall.

They thought that they were married, but their husbands have departed;

They’ve crawled into their man caves, ‘cuz football season’s started.

If the economy’s getting you down

And by the market you’re getting drubbed;

You can escape to the 60s this TV season

On Pan Am­ to the Playboy Club

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Back to School . . . Congress!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our congress can’t play well with others,

Or use their time wisely it seems;

They’re just coming in from their recess,

Firmly set in their partisan teams.

Off to school go our kids for the learning

Of lessons about right and wrong,

Maybe kids can help to teach congress

Some lessons in getting along.

Yahoo has put Carol Bartz in the gang

With the likes of Koogle and Semel and Yang

All past CEOs, who were given the shoo

Seems there’s not much to Yahoo about at Yahoo!

In New York, Open play for both gals and guys

Was halted because of the threatening skies.

With no roof on the courts, in the water came rushing;

What would you expect at the Meadows called Flushing?

Eddie Murphy’s been picked to host the next Oscar,

 An improvement’s a virtual lock;

For he follows James Franco whose face had the look

Of a man who’d been under a rock.

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Obama’s Pre-game Speech

Friday, September 2, 2011

Obama set his speech to Congress, next Wednesday was the date,

But Boehner said, that is the day of the GOP debate.

So he moved the speech to Thursday, but the time won’t be the same,

‘Cause he knows he can’t compete with the Saints and Packers’ game.

Chrysler’s on an up-tick, so Motor Trend reports;

Their sales are beating GM, Ford and the imports?

They’re selling trucks and minivans , cars in their bigger class;

How quickly we don’t care again about the price of gas.

When it comes to franchise owners, LA seems to come up short,

From Georgia Frontiere to that blow hard, Frank McCourt.

If a Dodgers sale goes through, it could give us all angina,

As the gloves and shoes, now payroll, will all be made in China.

JayLo and Mark Anthony – it looks like that gig’s over.

It seems that little Marky boy is quite the Latin rover.

Mark found a nice hotel room, but who did he check in with?

It’s hard to say because she signed in as a ‘Mrs. Smith’.

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Dick Time

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

With Rice and Powell firmly under the bus

Chaney’s new book has caused quite a fuss.

If you read In My Time I think you would find

That it should have been called, In My Own Mind.

The car-sharing Zipcar is making a deal

With Ford and their Focus, the high-tech mobile.

If it works it will help college kids get around,

If not, they’ll be caught with their zipper down.

When Hurricanes are mentioned, you think of Irene,

But the Hurricanes of Miami, though not as obscene,

Have put college football in water that’s hot;

We think that the Cheetah should be their mascot.

Movies this summer they say were a snooze;

With Conan and Aliens, that isn’t big news.

Kids must have been facebooking or tweeting for fun;

Even Captain America couldn’t hit a home run.

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Money Whoas

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Pentagon rented containers to use briefly in Iraq,

Never dreaming 10 years later they still would not be back.

So now the final late fee charge is darn close to $1B,

The generals would all be fired if they pulled that as civilians.

Americans, it seems, are cutting back on debt,

Tired of stress and strain that causes them to fret.

We’re cutting up the cards, giving credit lines the freeze,

That will teach those bankers to charge outrageous fees.

Michael Vick has a new contract to QB another year,

The Eagles will pay $100M in hopes he’ll cause the fans to cheer.

He says that as a person he has grown – improved his traits,

Maybe we should let the dogs be the ones to evaluate.

Mel Gibson’s in two courts this week and won’t have many laughs,

His gal pal will get millions to compensate for all his gaffes.

Meanwhile his ex-wife will be receiving  her financial part,

Putting the final stake in the wallet of “Braveheart”.

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Little is Big

Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene’s wiped out bridges and road in her wake;

Caused death and destruction and lots of heartache.

The lesson that’s learned on this wet Monday morn

Is that there is no fury, like a woman who’s scorned.

The story of short sales and banks is confusing

The banks have to win while the homeowner’s losing.

They made the bad loans, but their actions are numbing;

As they won’t lift a hand ‘til the payments stop coming.

  –

This week fans of tennis all will be rushing

To take in the Open at the meadows in Flushing.

But the game’s in decline for U.S. women and men,

There’s only one player in both ranking’s top ten.

What a joy to see baseball played like a game;

No contracts, no hold outs, no unions to blame.

The joy of just playing, the tears and the smiles;

The Little League game beats ‘the bigs’ by a mile.

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Good Night – Irene!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene is gaining potency and power,

The whole East Coast is bracing for what she might devour.

The Outer Banks may take the brunt, the worst in many years,

Now everyone’s evacuating with everything held dear.

 –

Warren Buffet bought BofA stock, preferred shares, of course,

Some say he’s saved the struggling bank, riding in on his white horse.

But there’s a reason he’s the Oracle, smarter than most civilians,

In the first day his investment paid off $1.45 Billion!

 –

Danica Patrick has decided to leave Indy cars behind,

And race the NASCAR circuit, the Nationwide is on her mind.

But she won’t be bringing her Go Daddy style to a Sprint Cup pit,

First she needs to learn new skills: how to chew and how to spit.

 –

The VMA’s will be on Sunday, wonder if we’ll see Madonna?

We could always catch a flick, “Our Idiot Brother” or “Colombiana”.

Or we could catch Glen Campbell’s concert, but we’ll need lots of Kleenex,

For when he sings, one last time, “By the Time I Get To Phoenix”.

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Core of Apple Leaves

Thursday, August 25, 2011

iGuess that we suspected it, Steve Jobs has said good-bye.

iWonder if at Apple there was even one dry eye.

iMac, iPod, iPad, iTouch, he changed the way we play,

iKnow for all the industry, it’s truly one sad day.

What is the panacea for that fickle Dow-Jones ticker;

Going short or going long or just going for some liquor?

Will gold go past two thousand, or will it stay beneath?

If it hits that magic number we’ll probably sell our teeth.

Cam Newton, out of Auburn, was drafted number one,

And hopes to show the NFL how he can pass and run.

He studies hard the play book to gain that QB knowledge,

And is making just a little more than he was paid in college.

In the Shadow of My Father, a new movie being shot

Is about John Gotti and his son; a family mafia plot.

Travolta and Pacino and Lohan they will use,

In hopes of making one great film that no one can refuse.

Mother Nature is Not Happy

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The east coast was surprised by a 5.8 earthquake,

Causing buildings to sway a bit and nervous knees to shake.

Now Hurricane Irene is bearing down as a Cat 3,

Evacuations have begun to avoid the wind and sea.

U.S. financial firms are making a big play,

Moving into  Hong Kong, where they’re seeking big pay days.

But in another part of Asia, Japan has been downgraded,

The once-robust economy now seems vulnerable and faded.

While there continues a review of college programs and their warts,

We pay homage to Tennessee’s  heroine of women’s sports.

Pat Summitt now battles Alzheimer’s and we all wish her well,

Her ethics and her conduct should inspire and compel.

Lightening burned the home of Richard Branson to the ground,

His Necker Island retreat has been a place of some renown.

Kate Winslet was there, saved Richard’s mom and didn’t panic,

Do you think she learned life-saving skills while filming “The Titanic”?