Something To Do

Helpless.

The days that followed the unspeakable tragedy on 9/11 were marked with one feeling beyond any other.

Helpless.

The lists of the missing grew; some names were added and some names were removed as the days wore on.  I kept hitting refresh on the page for those who worked with our friend Marni at her brokerage office; the majority of the employees were still listed as missing and unaccounted for. I speculated that this was probably a bad sign; that most of them had likely stayed together, discussing the most prudent course of action.  If they had not evacuated immediately after the first plane hit the other building, then they would have never had enough time to make it down the stairs before their own building collapsed.

But yet I still had to take care of my daughter and son, still had to prepare meals for my family, clean the house and buy groceries.  The senselessness of it all:  me driving ten minutes to the Kroger and buying milk while people were still alive in the rubble; I couldn’t fathom it.

I wanted to be one of those people that were just hopping in their cars and driving to New York to help.  I wanted to be able to do something palpable, helpful, constructive.  But what could I do?  I was just one woman stuck her house in Ohio, spending endless hours in front of alternately her television and computer screen.  A woman who could only send out emails into cyberspace, hoping to strike a chord with some of the thousand plus who would read them.

Wait a minute.

I had access to over a thousand people via our email list.  A thousand people who were sitting here as helpless and stranded as I felt.  A thousand people who, if they came together, could do something bigger than each of us working alone.

“Why couldn’t we do a fundraiser through the mailing list to benefit the Red Cross?” I asked Vivian and Elizabeth on the morning if September 12.  “We’ve done it before, for far less important causes.  We can dedicate it to our fan that is still missing, hoping of course that by the time we wrap this up that she’ll be back online and cracking jokes about how loved she never knew she was by all of the fans.”  All we had to do was have people send one of us the money through the PayPal service we’d all used last year for buying Rick’s CD; most of the fans had set up their accounts then.  Then we would just pull out the cash and cut a check to the Red Cross.

Both Vivian and Elizabeth agreed that this was something that we could do, that would help all of us feel like we were doing something.  Vivian agreed to collect the funds in her account, and so the Fan Club Red Cross Fundraiser was born.  It wasn’t going to help us find our friend, or move the piles of debris any faster, but it gave us all a collective goal.

A few days later, I shared this email with our mailing list:

“It has been so hard to continue doing shows up here in Vegas but on Thursday we all lit candles and prayed for those we lost and then we went on and did the show.

As I said at the end of the show every night this week, “We dedicate our
performance tonight to those who lost their lives on Tuesday and we do the show in celebration that we are all still free. God Bless America”. This is the way we show who we are to ourselves and to the cowards who did this.

My love and prayers to everyone and to Marni and her family. Also what ever the RLS fund comes up with for the Red Cross drive, I will match that amount.
love,
Rick”

We all were lost in those surreal first few days after 9/11.  Even Rick himself.

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2 Responses

  1. What perfect timing for you to be posting about those dark, horrible days. And what a great thing you did with the fund raising through Rick’s fan club website. Can’t wait to continue reading about your efforts and your friend.

  2. I know. I had written these posts last week, and they are just where I happen to be in my story. I couldn’t believe it when I turned on the news Monday morning and saw what had happened. What an eerie, strange coincidence.

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