WTC: In memory of one.

When I think of the 2,996 individuals who died at WTC, I think of Sandy Brace — the only one I knew — and try to multiply that out.

I can never do it; it’s too big.

I try anyway.

She was an acquaintance at back when I was an angsty, teenaged writer. She wrote about her family, her cats, the loss of her mother, staring out her office window on one of the upper floors of the World Trade Center and dreaming of what she’d write next. The need to live before time runs out.

Her time ran out way too quickly for way too little reason.

RIP, Bandit’s Mama. I barely knew you, but I’ve never forgotten.


Sandy’s writing profile (last login on 9/7/01):

About her life, and the day before her last:

Her 9/11 memorial page:


From Sandy’s poem “Transformation”:

As each of us grows ever older, we return to our childhood.
We return to the fragility and softness of those early years.
There, if we are lucky and search for it, we will find
The sweet wonder of our growing time and memories
That fill our throats with joy. We will feel again the laughter
And the peace of those distant years.

I wearily endure the weight
Of my time and a silence in my heart. I feel the stillness,
But there is not sorrow. I sense quiet, but there is not loneliness.
Withdrawing now from my world, I fold my soul into myself
On this day that is mine, and I hug my aching bones.

From “Sandra Conaty Brace: 25 Cats, 55 Words”:

Sandra Conaty Brace might have appreciated a short biographical sketch about her. After all, she herself had mastered the 55-word short story — a challenge to the most diligent amateur writer. Mrs. Brace had published much of her work on Web sites dedicated to the genre.

Mrs. Brace lived in Stapleton, Staten Island, and took the 7:40 a.m. ferry across the harbor each day to her job at Risk Insurance Solutions, where she was an administrative assistant. She shared her house with a husband, David, and 25 cats. Well, maybe not exactly 25. “It’s probably more,” Mr. Brace said, “But I lose count.”

Dinner for the cats always caused a minor food riot, but even a riot can have its own poetry. Mrs. Brace placed cat food on seven plates on the kitchen and dining room floors. The groups of cats arrayed around each plate formed a furry constellation of stars, with the plates at the centers and the cats as the coronas.

On Sept. 10, Mrs. Brace, 60, took the day off from work to do chores, fix the carpeting on the stairs that had been torn by a cat, and watch “Judge Judy” on television. Mr. Brace came home at 5 p.m.

He asked her: “Why don’t you take another vacation day tomorrow?” She replied, “No, I think I’ll go to work.”

“And that’s what happened,” Mr. Brace said. “That’s what happened.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *