I wanted to start a new series on my blog called Letters to My Mom. These will consist of letters I am writing to mom about how she influenced my life. Here is the first one.
I have been thinking about a lot of things recently as I watch Noah grow up. I like seeing how I influenced his life, his choices and his hopes. But I wonder what little things will make a difference later. I remember things that you did that have never left me. One memory is so clear I am not even sure if it is real, but it has been with me since I was very young. I remember a sunny warm day and a man was working on the corner of New York and Rensselaer Avenue. You ask me to go down and ask him if he wanted a beer. He said he couldn’t but wanted water, I carried a glass of ice water and some kind of snack. This story may not be true but it is you. I remember so many times you helping others and as Mike Fourneir recently mentioned to me you were famous for bringing coffee to the fire fighters when there was a big fire in town. It is ironic that the one I remember the most was the fire at the old Pepsi bottling plant.
As you know, we grew up half a block from the old building and I always wanted to explore it. I remember the house at 30 Rensselaer which was the last block before the literal other side of the tracks. The abandoned Pepsi plant was one a several industrial buildings that sprouted up along the Oswegatchie River and the Railroad tracks. Well it caught fire about a year after we moved to the other side of town. It was a big fire and one that threatened a lot of houses that were built near it, including our old home. You made several thermoses of coffee and we went over there. I got to watch the fire but what I saw and remember is not the building that eventually burned to the ground, but you, making sure all the fire fighters here given a drink.
I never asked you why you would do this. It seemed so normal to me to offer something to people in community service jobs. I lost that along the way. One of my teachers recently brought a bunch of left over bagels to the local fire hall. I thought of you. I realize some of the work I did growing up was directly related to these moments that you reached out to help others. Thank you for giving me a good foundation. It helped me find my way.