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i wanted to share with you all something i witnessed last night, the
first time i’ve been in new york since the wtc attack. i had dinner
with a friend on the upper west side and afterwards we took a walk
through the neighborhood. for those of you who have not been to the
city since 9/11, it’s quite somber and subdued but still moving
along. i was proud to be there and spending money in a restaurant,
which is now a patriotic act (thank goodness, at least i know how to
do that!). we passed a firehouse on west 77th street. the front of
the station is filled with hundreds of flower bouquets, thank-you
letters from children and neighbors, framed photos of the
firefighters lost from that station, including their chief, banners,
votive candles, etc. as people pass by, they stop to light a candle
or read the letters or say hello to the firemen. the doors to the
station are wide open. we did the same, and as we were standing
there, a small asian woman came by and handed an envelope to one of
the firemen (they are accepting donations for families of killed
firefighters). she then said a few words to him but when she was
done, she stood still, clearly at a loss for words but unable to
leave the firehouse. a few minutes went by and she just stood still.
she was clearly so choked with emotion that she couldn’t say
anything but she also couldn’t leave. the fireman with whom she’d
been speaking then opened his arms wide, approached her and invited
her to give him a hug. they embraced and it seemed to be exactly what
she had needed. then another woman on the sidewalk said “i want to
hug a fireman too!” and we all laughed ,and they hugged. it was such
a small moment, not something that would be shown on cnn or discussed
on npr or written about in the times, but it was so special. the fact
that this fireman, who had lost so many friends & colleagues, who had
probably worked countless hours in a hell zone and witnessed
unimaginable horrors, had it in him to give just a little bit more of
himself to a total stranger, reaching out to comfort her. maybe you
will think i’m overly sentimental, but i found it very moving and
inspiring. especially in a city, where in the very recent past, we
barely looked strangers in the eye, let alone offer them hugs.
everyone who lives or works in new york has their own stories –
where they were when it happened, who they knew, what they saw, how
it smelled, how they got home. i was at work in connecticut, so i
didn’t personally witness anything that day, but i’m glad that from
what i saw last night, my story is about strangers reaching out to
each other, comforting each other in the simplest of ways during the
hardest of times.

love, ellen

Hello to all on Orchid and Ellen (thanks for the touching letter!)

I grew up here in NYC and it would take thousands and thousands of
words to describe what I have seen and felt.

Everywhere and I mean everywhere you see memorials set up all over
the city-randomly in front of delis and office buildings- bus
shelters- in every single park and every firehouse I have seen from
Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Plastered on every sign post are smiling pictures of people - photos
from weddings, vacations, parites - at first these flyers were signs
of hope- of course these people got out! They are just in some
hospital uptown or even New Jersey! These images now haunt me and
everyone I know- We all know they are dead. One image in particular
sticks out in my mind - a pair of sisters who worked together in one
of the offices where no one so far has survived . They look like me
and my sisters. They look so happy. I have cried for their parents-
and I have cried for my parents- hoping they would never have to bury
their own childern. Walking to work has been a test of strength as I
pass each memorial- I try to act like the tough New Yorker I am
suppose to be.

My business partner just moved from St Thomas to New York recently- a
total Island girl. She is so horrified she is scared to leave her
apartment. I just nervously tease her as I walk her to and from work

I have seen cops hug strangers on the street- one cop tall and ruddy-
typical Irish cop (like family members of mine who have been cops)
hugged an entire arabic family in one swoop. They lost their sons at
WTC. I thought he would never let go.

I have seen fireman cry from exhaustion- firemen cry as they have
been promoted to fill the positions of their former dead supervisors.
My brother was a fireman- god I am so happy he had to stop because of
his health. I am so selfish and I feel guilty

Yesterday morning I saw the streets littered with young handsome New
York State troopers. Looking fresh because they just arrived - tall
and fit like young soldiers.

After work I spotted one state trooper nervously talking to a
coworker- he went to ground zero and he said now he can begin to
understand the word war. God, I do not want to understand that word.
Again, I am being selfish.

Take care everyone.
My thoughts are with everyone

DeDe Sullivan
dedemetal jewelry

Dear Ellen, Thank you for telling us about you recent experience in
New York. I have not talked to one person who lives in the New York
metropolitan area who hasn’t been touched, directly or indirectly, by
the events of 9/11. In the wake of this disaster most of us have
witnessed similar things to what you saw in NYC, Ellen. Tonight I will
be visiting friends, the parents of a 24 year old son who was trapped
on the 104th floor of the WTC. Our national collective heart is heavy
with grief.

We who participate in Orchid are part of a relatively small community
but we are also part of the greater world wide community who deplore
the cowardly acts perpetrated on this nation.

I hope that all of us Orchidians can find some refuge in our work and
in helping those who are less fortunate.


Joel Schwalb


Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I know it brought a smile
to my face in these sad times and it is these ‘unreported’ stories
that really help make the world feel like a better place than it looks
at the moment.

Things just don’t appear to make sense at present and who knows
what’s in store for the world over the next few months or, God forbid,

I wish you all the best for the future and let’s hope the world can
recover from recent events relatively quickly.

Regards - Nick (Bahrain)

Just so all of you know the piece on NYC that I sent in was written
by my sister, who is not a jeweler, nor is she a part of my company.
I asked Hanuman to allow me to submit and run the piece and he very
kindly did. However when he did he inadvertently deleted the part that
said my sister had written the piece.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

dear orchidites - reading the posts from nyc witnesses embued me with
more starch & resolve to get through this because i recognized one
immutable fact: we have no choice. ive

My deepest sympathy goes out to the victims and people of USA
affected by the bombing in downtown New York and Pentagon.

Now that US is sending war machines to take revenge against Osama bin
Laden, more bloodshed and more heart pain for the innocents there.
Never end.