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To Light a Candle…. 9/11

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry  (ann-parry.com)
September 11, 2017

  • On each anniversary of September 11, 2011, but not only on each anniversary, I remember the events of that day and how they’ve changed our world.

On Sept. 11, 2001, we were a week or so into the new school year at Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore, Long Island. Except for our class computers suddenly losing internet access early that morning, it began as an ordinary Tuesday.

Sept. 11, 2012 - Merrick, New York, U.S. - LYLA WILLIAMS, 3, and KATE OLLENDIKE, 2, helping place 500 Luminary Bags in front of 215 Wenshaw Park homes, on 11th Anniversary of 9/11, by Wenshaw Park Civic Association (WPCA), Long Island, with over $500 already raised for Twin Towers Orphan Fund. (Ann Parry/-)

Merrick, New York, USA. Sept. 11, 2012.  LYLA WILLIAMS, 3, and KATE OLLENDIKE, 2, help place 500 Luminary Bags in front of 215 Wenshaw Park homes, by Wenshaw Park Civic Association, Long Island, to raise funds for Twin Towers Orphan Fund. (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Then, as students passed from one class to another, a few of my writing students came in announcing news they’d heard on the radio in art class: “Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers!”

“What?… Well, one plane might have that sort of accident, but not two – the same day,” I said. “Someone must’ve heard the info wrong.”

But, over the loudspeaker later that morning, our principal, Fino Celano, gave us the news – calmly, solemnly – of the terrorist attacks on Manhattan’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon… then the plane crash in the Pennsylvania field. No one had heard the info wrong.

Fund raiser for firefighter Ray Pfeifer on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall, New York, USA. Rep. Pete King shown with Ray Pfeifer and the firefighter's wife CARYN, daughter TAYLOR, and son TERRENCE. (Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

East Meadow, NY, USA. March 31, 2012. At fundraiser for firefighter Ray Pfeifer – battling cancer after months of recovery efforts at Ground Zero following 9/11 2001 Twin Towers attack – are, L-R, in front row: son TERRENCE, daughter TAYLOR , wife CARYN, and, in back row: RAY PFEIFER, and Congressman PETE KING, at East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall.  (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

When I got home from school that afternoon, the tile floors our construction workers had ripped up from the kitchen and surrounding rooms the day before were more scattered than stacked. We were replacing our radiant in-floor heating, and the ground floor looked “like a bomb went off” – though I felt guilty even having that thought.

So the night of September 11, 2001, my husband Len, my older daughter Sue and I ate dinner at a local cafe.

Throughout the meal we watched the news coverage of the attacks on the TV up in the corner, and whispered “Nightmare… surreal… oh my god….”

Freeport, New York, USA. 10th Sept. 2014. A bugler plays taps at night on board the boat Miss Freeport V, which sailed from the Woodcleft Canal of the Freeport Nautical Mile after a dockside remembrance ceremony in honor of victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. American Legion, Patriot Guard Riders, and Captain Frank Rizzo hosted the ceremonies on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Freeport, New York, USA. Sept. 10, 2014. Bugler plays taps at night on board boat Miss Freeport V, sailing from Woodcleft Canal of Freeport Nautical Mile after a dockside Remembrance Ceremony in honor of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. (© 2014. Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

My younger daughter Laurie was at college in Westchester. During one of our calls later that week, I told her I wanted to get her a cell phone, especially because of her trips between college and home.

Though she didn’t think she needed one, by the end of the call she understood that her mom really needed her to have one.

Removing American Flag to reveal monument made with steel from World Trade Center, at the Merrick Post #1282 American Legion Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 ceremony, are (left to right) Rabbi Paul Kirchner, Father Eric Fasano, Adjutant Robert Tom Riordan PCC, and North Merrick Fire Dept. Ex. Chief Henry Hinrichs, at Merrick Veterans Memorial Park, Merrick, New York, USA, on September 11, 2011.(Ann Parry/Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

Merrick, New York, USA. Sept. 11, 2011. Removing American Flag to reveal monument made with steel from World Trade Center, at Merrick Post #1282 American Legion 10th Anniversary of 9/11 ceremony, are (L-R) Rabbi PAUL KIRCHNER; Father ERIC FASANO; Adjutant ROBERT TOM RIORDAN, PCC; and North Merrick Fire Dept. Ex. Chief HENRY HINRICHS at Merrick Veterans Memorial Park.  (© 2011 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Our neighbors across the street lost their son who worked in the Twin Towers.

A Grand Ave. coworker lost her first responder firefighter husband, and two of our students lost their fathers.

During lunch period, a fellow teacher told us how ever since 9/11 he was having nightmares about being trapped underground.

American flags multiplied everywhere, and so did patience and kindness. I didn’t notice a car horn honking for at least a year.

Manhattan, NY, USA - January 9, 2012: Movie poster "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" hangs illuminated at night over Penn Station subway entrance with Empire State Building in background. Fictional movie is set at time of 9/11 terrorist attacks on Twin Towers in NYC. Green and yellow lit globe on post is at stairwell entrance to MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) 34 St. Penn Station subway station. (Ann E Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Manhattan, NY, USA.  January 9, 2012. Movie poster EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE is displayed lit at night over Penn Station subway entrance with Empire State Building in background. Fictional movie is set at time of 9/11 terrorist attacks on Twin Towers in NYC. (© 2012 Ann E Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

And we had color-coded terrorism threat advisories….

And so many countries have terror threat alerts — for events, buildings, airlines & metros, cities….

And I feel a bit reckless, a tiny bit brave, when heading to Manhattan after an alert’s issued

And my very young grandchildren, along with all young children, can only imagine the world before 2001, through images and stories that grow older as they do.

North Bellmore Fire Department 9/11 remembrance ceremony and unveiling of two pieces of steel from the World Trade Center added to the existing 9/11 monument, 1500 Newbridge Road, North Bellmore, New York, USA, on September 10, 2011. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

Bellmore, New York, USA. Sept. 10, 2011. North Bellmore Fire Department 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony and unveiling of two pieces of steel from World Trade Center added to existing 9/11 monument. (© 2011 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

And I can barely begin to imagine the feelings and pain of those killed, injured, struck with cancer, and of those who lost loved ones, due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

But with gratitude to the first responders and other 9/11 heroes, and with hope, I will never forget. 

– Ann

click to view slideshow:   9/11 Over the Years

East Meadow, New York, USA. Summer 2017. Four birds fly over Twin Towers sculpture monument at Eisenhower Park 9/11 Monument section. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

East Meadow, NY, USA. Sept. 10, 2017. Four birds fly over Twin Towers steel sculpture at Eisenhower Park 9/11 Monument. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” – Chinese Proverb

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LIIFE 2017 Long Island International Film Expo

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry ( ann-parry.com )
July 22, 2017

“Laugh about it, Shout about it….”

Wednesday afternoon I strolled around the Filmmaker’s Lounge and Bellmore Movies, where the Long Island International Film Expo was in full swing. LIIFE was celebrating its 20th Anniversary!

Bellmore, New York, USA. 19th July 2017. Comedian LOU DIMAGGIO makes a funny face as Director BRAD KUHLMAN looks at him hamming it up, at the Long Island International Film Expo LIIFE 2017. (© 2017 Ann Parry)

Bellmore, NY, USA. 19th July 2017. Comedian LOU DIMAGGIO, hamming it up, and Director BRAD KUHLMAN, Director of “Where Have You Gone Lou DiMaggio?” participate at Long Island International Film Expo LIIFE 2017.  (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

After capturing photos and a short video of MAGGIE WAGNER, the vivacious actor who plays Mom in the short film MOM, I spoke with TRISH APPELLO, the festival Coordinator and Secretary of the non-profit LITV/Film Foundation, which, along with the Nassau County Film Commission, presents the Festival.

When Appello told me about the feature documentary Where Have You Been, Lou DiMaggio? – the last filmed being screened that last night of the festival – I decided to return after dinner to catch it.

“MARIAM’S DAY OFF”

That night I arrived in time to first watch Mariam’s Day Off, a foreign film by Director ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN, who filmed it in Armenia.

“Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes….”

I found the placid-on-the-surface story about a young prostitute who ends up spending a day with an artist and his family at his art studio so emotionally compelling and poignant that it wasn’t until about half way into the short film (0:44:22 min) that I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s in black and white!”

  • Click Slideshow link at end to see more photos of LIIFE 2017
Bellmore, New York, USA. 19th July 2017. Director and writer ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN speaks during a Q&A at the Long Island International Film Expo LIIFE 2017. (© 2017 Ann Parry)

Bellmore, NY, USA. 19th July 2017. ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN, Director of “Mariam’s Day Off” short film, speaks at LIIFE 2017. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

“WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, LOU DiMAGGIO?”

The next and final screening was the documentary Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio? – a feature film (75 min) directed by BRAD KUHLMAN about comedian LOU DiMAGGIO considering returning to comedy after being away from the stage for 20 years.

For more than one reason, I was glad Appello had enthusiastically recommended seeing, Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio?

For starters, it was fun to see so many of DiMaggio’s fellow comedians – including Joy Behar, Richard Belzer, Rebecca Corry, Larry David, Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin, Howie Mandel, Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld.

And Lou DiMaggio’s stand up comedy sets on his road to comeback were certainly memorable, and for wildly different reasons.

“We’d like to help you learn to help yourself….”

And what likely made the strongest impression on me in Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio? was cautionary advice DiMaggio’s fellow comedian gave him about returning to stand up comedy – for it reminded me, in a way, of advice my late mom, a professional opera singer when she was single, gave her children and voice students:

The world has more outstanding singers than it can afford to support. And the difference between the best and next best in a major competition or audition can be imperceptible even to an expert – so luck will play a big part in the career each has. —  When you’ve got to choose if you’ll pursue a living in the arts – follow that path only if you’re absolutely driven to AND you can handle the competition and pressure.

Bellmore, New York, USA. 19th July 2017. L-R, HENRY STAMPFEL, BRAD KUHLMAN, LOU DiMAGGIO, TRISH APPELLO, woman, and ANNE STAMPFEL pose during final Screening Night of Long Island International Film Expo 2017 at Bellmore Movies. The last film screened was the feature documentary "Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio?" by Director Brad Kuhlman about comedian Lou DiMaggio contemplating a comeback after 20 year away from stand-up comedy. Henry and Anne Stampfel are the owners the Bellmore Movies, and two of the co-founders of LIIFE. Henry Stampfel is President Chairman Treasure and Trish Appello is Secretary of the Long Island Film/TV Foundation which, along with Nassau County Film Commission presented LIIFE 2017. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Bellmore, New York, USA. 19th July 2017. L-R, HENRY STAMPFEL, BRAD KUHLMAN, LOU DiMAGGIO, TRISH APPELLO, MARIA PUSATERI, and ANNE STAMPFEL pose during final Screening Night of Long Island International Film Expo 2017 at Bellmore Movies. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

FILMMAKERS Q&A

“We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files….”

For the Q&A, eight filmmakers associated with the films screened that night participated. After hearing the candid, detailed answers to the audience’s thought-provoking questions, I wished I’d arrived in time to watch all the films.

Watch the following video of comedian Lou DiMaggio at Q&A to find out these answers:

  1. Why didn’t DiMaggio need a mic to answer the audience question?
  2. What did DiMaggio find was the biggest obstacle, for himself, to making the movie?
  3. What did DiMaggio’s say when he saw the movie the first time?

Video Above: Lou DiMaggio answers Q&A question at LIIFE 2017.  [The Q&A did not take place aboard a ship on stormy seas, despite appearances to contrary.]

“And here’s to you….”

The next night at the Long Island International Film Expo Awards Ceremony, LIIFE celebrated its 20th Anniversary and 2017 winners, including the Best Documentary Feature“Where Have You Gone Lou DiMaggio?”

“Wo, wo, wo”

Simon & Garfunkel site:  “Mrs. Robinson”  lyrics

LIIFE:   longislandfilm.com    2017 Winners

My LIIFE 2017 imagery:   Lou DiMaggio video    GALLERY     SLIDESHOW

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“American Grit” Contestant Chris Edom has Backyard Viewing Party

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry ( ann-parry.com )
July 8, 2017

“American Grit” Season 2 contestant Chris Edom lives right here in Merrick!

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. In backyard of "American Grit" contestant Chris Edom, Edom walks up where the American Grit logo appears on large screen that show's premiere episode is projected on in his backyard. Edom family hosted neighborhood Viewing Party during broadcast of Episode 1 of the FOX network reality television series. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” contestant Chris Edom (lower left) walks up to where the TV show’s logo appears on the large screen in his family’s backyard during their Viewing Party. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Chris – who described himself on the Fox reality TV show as being bullied and picked last for teams when he was a kid – invited every adult neighbor on both sides of the block his family lives on to the Viewing Party he and his wife Joan hosted for the premiere of the new season.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. "American Grit" TV contestant CHRIS EDOM, 48, (wearing GOT GRIT? T-shirt) has his arm around shoulder of his wife JOAN EDOM, both of Merrick, as they host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. Show. Edom family and neighbors watched Episode 1 of FOX network reality television series that Sunday night outdoors. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” reality television show contestant CHRIS EDOM and his wife JOAN EDOM host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

The night of the party, when I parked my car, slung my camera across my chest, and walked across the dead end street, I thought back to the 1960s when it was actually a mostly-dead end (as Miracle Max from Princess Bride might put it).

Back then, its rounded end had a limited outlet that brought extra cars and pedestrians, including my best friend Judy and me walking to and from school each day.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. At bottom left, CHRIS EDOM, "American Grit" TV contestant, 48, of Merrick, hosts backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. The Fox network reality television series show projected on large screen, with (L-R) JOHN CENA, and 2 of his Cadre members, JOHN BURKE and RIKI LONG. Edom was last contestant picked for a team that episode. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. At bottom left, CHRIS EDOM, “American Grit” TV contestant, hosts backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. On screen are 3 of the 4 “Cadre” team leaders: (L-R) JOHN CENA, JOHN BURKE, and RIKI LONG. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Eventually the outlet closed altogether, and now curbside basketball hoops bloom each summer, and it’s common to see families chatting, children playing….

But that Sunday night, the block felt – uncommon. The air itself seemed charged with some special energy that grew stronger when I joined the crowd at the Viewing Party.

Merrick, New York, USA. 11th June 2017. "American Grit" TV contestant CHRIS EDOM (at bottom right, wearing white GOT GRIT? T-shirt), 48, sits with his wife, JOAN EDOM, of Merrick, as they host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. Edom family and neighbors watched Episode 1 of FOX network reality television series that Sunday night on a big screen (at left) outdoors. Edom was last contestant picked for a team. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. “American Grit” TV contestant CHRIS EDOM (at bottom right, wearing white GOT GRIT? T-shirt) sits with his wife, JOAN EDOM as they host backyard Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

What a turnout! About 60 of Chris and his wife Joan’s family, neighbors and other friends filled the Edoms’ backyard to watch the first episode.

Before the episode started, Chris had the biggest smile as he told everyone how close the contestants have stayed, how many will be getting together to watch a future episode, and how they’re his American Grit family.

Then the words “American Grit” filled the huge inflatable screen borrowed from a neighbor. The show began. Guests cheered when Chris appeared on screen, held their breath when challenges got tough, and waited in suspense to find out: 

Will Chris be picked for one of the 4 teams — or will “the last kid picked for teams” be the first contestant “ringing out” of the competition and the chance to win the cash prize at end of “American Grit”?

Merrick, New York, USA. June 11, 2017. American Grit TV show contestant CHRIS EDOM (wearing white "got grit?" T-shirt), 48, of Merrick, hosts Viewing Party for Season 2 premiere. Show stresses teamwork and stars WWE star John Cena. Edom family's relatives and neighbors watched Episode 1 of the Fox network TV show on large screen in their backyard. Edom was the last of 16 contestants picked for a team. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Merrick, NY, USA. 11th June 2017. During “American Grit” Season 2 premiere Viewing Party at contestant Chris Edom’s backyard with large TV screen – Edom (center below) plunges into lake after pulling rip cord. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

  • UPDATE July 16, 2017:  Chris made two important decisions during tonight’s episode, and still is a contestant on American Grit.
  • UPDATE August 6, 2017:  Chris Edom did Merrick proud by coming in 5th Place during tonight’s Season 2 Finale!   —  At the Open House Viewing Party held at ‘Cadre’ Rikki Long’s gym in Copiague, fans joined ‘Cadre’ John Burke and some contestants, including Chris with his wife Joan. The two fans from my family who were there enjoyed cheering for Chris and meeting such friendly cast members.

Chris Edom’s twitter:  @chris_edom

More “American Grit” Viewing Party photos:    Slideshow      Gallery

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