Thursday, September 13, 2001

Rescue Attempt #1

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Fawn rode her bike down to the barricade and reported that it was still
impassable. I was losing hope and beginning to get more hysterical and
frantic. I was trying to find SOMEONE from management and it took nearly
the whole day for someone to forward me to the appropriate people. They
told me my cats were fed by my (angel) super, Juan, but my building was
surrounded by military. Mixed reports: a possible collapse; a
possibility of rescuing the pets. No information.
No numbers to call for help. Everywhere I looked, another dead end. I
called my office and asked for them to fax i.d. from my file to my
friend Fawn's office as everything was in my building. I knew I would
need this if I were to get past the blockades. Two nurses, Aurora and
Chris, came and sat with me as I cried. It felt hopeless. My friend
Nancy called and said she heard about a list with the ASPCA. I tried
calling the ASPCA before and was turned away, but figured I would give
it another try. They told me to go to 110th St to fill out a form which
made no sense to me...Fawn called another number and was told,
"Go to pier 40 NOW!!!"

We hopped on bikes and the kind workers there
were very sympathetic. They took our names, etc. and we all huddled
together outside hoping for a miracle. Water was passed around and some
food. I tried to eat half a banana as I knew I hadn't been eating and
sleeping and would need my strength to climb 9 stories and carry 2 cats
weighing together at least 30 lbs. We applauded and cried as we saw
owners returning with their pets. It was good to see life being rescued
from a place where we had seen so much death. It was at 2am when I
climbed into the van. It would drop me off just north of BPC. We were
told we had 5 minutes and we were risking our lives as well as those
that were aiding us in the rescue therefore if we took anything other
than our pets we would be prosecuted. My thoughts were on the lives of
Sid and Elvis and I couldn't even think about anything else. It was very
surreal. We were all very scared as the van crawled towards the first
blockade. Papers were shown and we were allowed to pass. I looked to my
right and saw a submarine in the Hudson. There were enormous spot lights
backlighting the swirling dust. We put our masks on, exited the van, and
were assigned a buddy. We were to move in a team. It began to pour and I
was completely soaked and cold. I was slipping in my flip-flops, but I
had no shoes. I had nothing. We walked the rest of the way along river.
I could see the damage to the buildings. The lightning, thunder, rain
and wind were the perfect backdrop to the horror of what had happened
there. The side of one building was peeled down as if a giant cat used
it for a scratching post. We got to the west end of my block, Rector
Place, and I could see cars with the roofs torn back. We held on to each
other while crossing over hoses and debris. We got to my door and it was
locked. I cried again. I prayed my cats would be safe another day. When
I got back to the van the ASPCA boxes were soggy and useless. I had a
hard time throwing them away because I wrote my cats names on them and
it felt like I was throwing away my cats, throwing away hope. With all
the strength I had, I reminded myself that these were just boxes, and my
cats were still safe inside. I would try again tomorrow. I returned to
Fawn's and showered off the new layer of dust. I tried to sleep around

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