Friday, September 11, 2009

The Most Sacred Of All Days

Today, my life stops.

The Red Sox take a back seat, as well as just about everything else.

It can all wait.

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time know that September 11th is the saddest of all days for me. It was eight years ago today that my dear friend Joyce Carpeneto was taken from us, as she was one of the 2,749 victims of the second attack on the World Trade Center.

I have honored her memory and those of all the 9/11 victims on this blog every anniversary since I started the blog in 2006. This year I have been given the honor of being a part of a wonderful web site called Project 2996, which has bloggers from around the world remember at least one victim every September 11th. Today I am remembering Joyce, and I am including the memorial I wrote for her in October 2001 called "Our Joyce: A Dear Sweet Friend," and the poem I wrote for her in January 2002 called "There's an Angel Watching Over Us."

If you'd like to check out Project 2996, please click the link, and you can read some wonderful remembrances of some beautiful souls who left this world way too soon. My thanks to Dale Challener Roe, who runs the site and allowed me to remember my friend.

I will be at Ground Zero today, along with thousands of others to remember the 9/11 victims. I have been there for all eight remembrances, and I will continue to be there for every anniversary until the day I die. It's a sacred obligation for me.

I am so proud of the following memorial and poem. They are two of the proudest accomplishments of my life.

But I am even prouder to call Joyce my friend.

"Our Joyce: A Dear Sweet Friend"

In the summer of 1985, I been working for the Tower Records store in Greenwich Village for about nine months. I soon met the newest "Front Desk Girl", a 24 year old, brown haired, brown eyed girl from Long Island. Her name was Joyce Carpeneto.

Joyce and I became fast friends. Her warmth and kindness shown through almost immediately. In late 1985, our store was undergoing a management change, and Joyce gave me one of the nicest compliments I have ever gotten. One day she said to me, "You should be managing this store". And I was just a rock floor clerk! I really believe that Joyce had more faith in me than I had in myself.

Joyce and I worked together in the Tower Village store for over 4 years. She eventually moved downstairs to the cassette department and I became the rock CD buyer. We both became supervisors and we closed many nights together. I remember many times Joyce would come to me with a problem and I was only to happy to help her.

Joyce left the store for TRIP (Tower Records Import Product) in 1990 and I left as well at the end of that year. I too landed at TRIP in early 1991, and I was very fortunate to have Joyce already there. She was a rep, and I became her assistant. I covered the Tower stores at the Village and Carle Place, LI for her. I was a bit nervous taking over the job, as I wasn't sure if I'd fit in. Joyce made it easy for me, as she showed me the ropes and introduced me to a lot of the people I'd have to deal with in the new job. It was wonderful to share an office with her. One Friday, Joyce and Barbara Lang, our other rep, were discussing where to send me the next week.

I covered stores for both of them on a rotation basis. On this day they both needed me the next week. So in the middle of all of this, Joyce turns to me and says, "Don't you love the fact you have two women fighting over you?" I could only laugh and smile, and when I think of that story, it will always make me smile and remember Joyce's wonderful sense of humor.

By mid-1993 TRIP (or MTS Sales as it became known) merged with another company, and Joyce was let go. It was terribly unfair to her, but she didn't let it get her down. Joyce picked herself up, dusted herself off, and joined Tower's Art Department. I discovered that she was a very talented artist, and I saw her work in many of the Tower stores.

After the MTS position ended, Joyce and I would always run into each other in places like the Village Record and Village Video store. It was always a pleasure to see her and talk about what was going on in our lives and reminisce about the old days. All of my memories of Joyce are fond ones, and and will remain that way for the rest of my life. Together, and with many of our Tower friends, we enjoyed art shows, Tower parties and bowling after work. It was so much fun, and it all seems like just yesterday.

The weeks since the tragedy have been the longest, and without question, the saddest time of my life. For all of us who love and care for her, Joyce will always be a special part of our lives. She will always have a special place in my heart, and a day will not go by that I will not think of her.

In the days following the tragedy, Joyce's mom and Russ Giffen set up a website looking for more information about her. The first time I saw it I burst into tears. The picture of Joyce was just stunning, and the words included on it were incredibly poignant: "If you knew her you had to be her friend. She loves everyone." I cannot improve on those words. Just incredibly beautiful.

And all of us loved you, Joyce.

I thank God that Joyce Ann Carpeneto came into my life. She's one of the most dearest, sweetest people I have ever known, or will ever know. We are all better for having her friendship, kindness and support. I will always remember her beautiful smile and her wonderful laugh. She will always live in my heart, and no one can ever take that away from me.

Back when we worked in the Tower store in Greenwich Village in the 1980s, I always felt that Joyce and I were part of an extended family with all of our other friends who worked there. Now, one of our family is no longer with us. So we grieve for our missing sister, in the hope that she has found peace.

I will always love Joyce for the rest of my life. No matter where I go, she'll always be with me.

She'll always be Our Joyce. She'll always be Our Cookie. And now, Joyce will forever be Our Angel.

John Brian Quinn
Brooklyn, NY
October 19, 2001

Please drop me an e-mail to let me know your thoughts. I would be honored if any of you would pass this along to any other of Joyce's friends. Thank you so much.
All the best

On New Year's Night, I sat down and wrote a poem that night that would alter my life in ways that I could never have imagined. I wrote about a visit I made to Ground Zero that past November with my friend Deborah. I eventually put it on September 11, 2001 Victims as well, and I got even emails from people around the world, and I have become friends with many of those kind folks.

Here is the poem I wrote that night:

By John Quinn

This poem is dedicated to my dear sweet friend Joyce Ann Carpeneto, who is always and forever in my heart.

It's a gray, overcast day
In late November
The fourth time I've been
Down this way
The pain in my heart rises
As soon as I walk out
The subway station
But I had to be here for you
I'm not afraid to be here
Because I know
There's an Angel watching over us.

Our eyes fill with tears
Pictures line the walls
And the picket fences
Thousands of dreams
Shattered in an instant
A soft rain starts to fall
Could it have been sent
By you?
To show us both
The depth of your love
And the tears still within you
It's an unmistakable sign
There's an Angel watching over us.

Loved ones write their own
Words of sorrow and grief
On a huge makeshift sheet
I struggle through my tears
To tell you those precious words
I couldn't tell you
When you were here
In this life
Now the rain and the tears
Have both left together
And the sun peeks
Through the clouds
Now I am so confident
There's an Angel watching over us.

I've been down this way
Three times before
But this will be the last
Time I come down here
The heartache for me
Is just too great
Seeing that terrible site
Where you left this world
I'd rather remember
The good times we shared
You'll always be
Safe in my heart Sweetie
I'll never break
The Promise I made to you
On the Brooklyn Bridge
You'll always be alive
In my heart forever
I'll never be afraid to die
Because I'll see you again
One day I know
And that because from above
There's an Angel watching over me.

John Brian Quinn
Brooklyn, NY
January 2, 2002.

God bless you all.


Alicia said...

I'm so sorry for your loss; I know the pain runs deep -- yet the love lives on.

I honor Christopher Paul Slattery.

The Omnipotent Q said...

Thanks Alicia, and for sharing your beautiful tribute as well.

Cathy said...

Oh John, I am so sorry you lost such a dear friend in such a horrific manner. Thank you for taking the time to share her story with us. It is much appreciated. Never forget.

Tex said...

Such a beautiful poem about her.
That site is an awesome tribute to those who lost their lives. I hope tomorrow is a peaceful day and everyone you come in contact with smiles

Flag Gazer said...

Thank you for sharing your friend with us. I'm glad you have joined Project 2996.

And, thank you for going to Ground Zero tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing, sir. May this day never be forgotten.

Peter N said...

Wow John, what a beautiful post. She must have been SO special. She still is, in fact.

Take care of yourself. Thank you for the morning tears.

Bruce Coltin said...

A very touching tribute.

Christina-Marie Wright said...

Thank you for posting your tribute to your friend Joyce. I'm sorry for your loss. We will never forget.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John. Joyce was such a wonderful person. I'm happy to have known her and very sad that she can't be a part of our get-togethers. You've made a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person.

Kathleen said...

That is an amazing tribute and all the more poignant that you knew her so well. I am sorry for your loss.

I have honored Sean Caton today for Project 2,996.

Unknown said...

Oh my, that did it, the tears have started. I think making it until almost 11:00 am without waterworks is a record.

I am so, so very sorry for your loss. And the loss suffered by all the friends and families of those killed on 9/11.

ziptheusa said...

I am sorry for your loss. Be comforted in knowing we will never forget.

One Ticked Chick said...

Thank you for this beautiful tribute and for bringing us Joyce's story. My heart goes out to you on the loss of a wonderful friend. We lost so much on 9/11. As a participant in Project 2996, I honor Sgt. John Coughlin and Lt. Edward D'Atri today.

The Omnipotent Q said...

I want to thank each of you who took the time to stop here and read my tribute and comment on it. The very kind words are appreciated by me from the bottom of my heart.

Snarky Basterd said...

It's the saddest of days for me, too. Thanks for doing this wonderful post.

The Omnipotent Q said...

Thanks for the nice sentiments, Dr. Dave...

SoSock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SoSock said...

It's been a few days since I've "been by", so I'm just now reading this post.
I know, all too well, that it's hard to write about this kind of loss. My thoughts go out to you. Thank you for being a good enough friend to her that you could write like this, and share it. Because that is probably harder than the writing. Everyone should be so lucky as to have friends like the friend you obviously were to Joyce.
I myself have suffered a kind of writer's block (not that I'm REALLY a writer) for 8 or 9 months now. Last Wednesday was the 33rd anniversary of the our wedding, and the 1st since I lost her. I hope your day on Sept. 11 was not as hard as mine was that day.
It did however finally push me back to the keyboard for a post. I just hope I can keep doing it now.
Peace to you, and may her memory be for a blessing

The Omnipotent Q said...

Thank you for the wonderfully kind sentiments, SoSock. May you and I both have peace in our lives...

Dorincard said...

Remembering is extending life, in a way. Best wishes to you!

bluecrv said...

Everytime I read these tributes to those loved ones, friends, and
co-workers lost I feel the pain the writer feels. I am fortunate not to have lost anyone I personally know in this tragic event. I admire those who did and have the ability and courage to share their memories with us. John these are beautiful tributes to your friend Joyce and I am sure she is an "Angel" looking down on you.

The Omnipotent Q said...

Thank you both so much for your very kind words about what I wrote for Joyce. I hope I have made her proud.