Friday, September 30, 2011

Tim's Baby Journal November 30, 2008 to August 11, 2001

Monday, November 30,  1998

Rookie Cops Deliver Baby In Cruiser

(Philadelphia)--Two rookie police officers with less than a year on the force got the surprise of their young careers Sunday morning when they delivered a baby girl in the back seat of their cruiser.

Geraldine Brooks of southwest Philadelphia gave birth to a premature baby girl at about 9:30 a.m., next to police officer Martin Connors who used her boyfriend's coat to catch the baby.

"Our instructor at the police academy told us there might come a time when we'd have to deliver a baby. At the time, a few of us chuckled,''

Connors said. "I always thought it wouldn't happen to me."

Frederick Salters held his girlfriend's hands while she gave birth to their first child. "It's something I'll always remember,'' said Salters, 37.

"It was over quick. ... I don't know what I would have done without the officers.''

Salters, a father of two others, said this was the first birth he had witnessed.

Connors, 34, and his partner, 22-year-old officer Joseph Dalessio -- who have a combined 11 months on the force -- were getting coffee at a 7-Eleven in southwest Philadelphia when Salters asked them to rush his pregnant girlfriend to the hospital.

Ms. Brooks, who also has two other children, had arranged to meet her midwife at a hospital about 30 minutes away. But, after riding two blocks down the street, she realized that she wouldn't make it. The officers then pulled over and shuttled Ms. Brooks into the back seat of their car.

"I think they were as nervous as I was when I told them what was going on, Salters said.

The officers had called for an ambulance, but the baby dropped into Connors' outstretched hands within minutes.

"It was her third child. She knew the baby's head was in the birth canal. ... She talked us through it, telling us what was going on all the time," said Connors, who worked as an emergency medical technician before joining the force in June. "I was actually praying the paramedics would get there in time,'' he said.

Connors wrapped the baby with Salters' work coat.

"Well, it's something to remember it by,'' Salters said, describing the coat as no longer wearable.

At the police academy, cadets undergo extensive medical training -- including first aid, CPR and how to assist in a birth. Still, such surprise births are rare, according the officers' supervisor, Lt. Joseph Dilacqua.

"I've been with the force 23 years, I've heard about something like this once or twice,'' he said. "You hear about this in a lot of other cities and other police departments, but you never think it will happen to you.''

Although the baby, who had not been named yet Sunday afternoon, was two weeks premature, Salters said it still seemed to be the best time to give birth: the day before his girlfriend's birthday. She turns 27 on Monday.

"She's very happy,'' he said.

(C) Associated Press.

Trust me, monk; I was shitting my pants when all this happened.  Your grandmother called from Las Vegas saying she had seen me on CNN.  Your other grandmother called your mother saying that my partner and I were on the Today Show on NBC.  There's talk that we're getting commendations ... but it's not something to let go to your head.  I tried telling my partner that but ... you can only tell someone so much.  I admit I had a large head about it and all, but I had to calm down ... no sense pissing off a fellow co-worker.


I haven’t written in this journal of yours for a few months. I wasn’t that I had nothing to say or forgot to write down the things that have been occurring; it’s that I have been busy.  It’s like what John Lennon sang “ Life is what you have while you’re busy making other plans”.  I hope one day you’ll understand.

My friend Dawn lost her son the other day.  He died.  She is going through what I fear the most, and that is losing you.

You’re getting quite big now, and quite smart.  I am impressed with you everyday.  You’re mother wants you enrolled in Pre-K, I really don’t want you to go, but I think that’s because I want you to stay a baby ... my monkey boy.  I love you.


Last week you were bitten by a dog down the street.  I was at work chasing bad guys and such, when this happened.  Actually, Elby (my partner) and I were backing up another officer on a car stop.  This 13 year old kid took his mother’s car and drove like a nut.  Elby and I saw this red Ford Probe, driving backwards from 67th Street onto Paschall Avenue, then the other officer following behind.  After we got through, I turned to Elby and told him I wasn’t feeling so good and to we should go back to headquarters.  When we got back, I was told that Grand pop was on the phone.  I had to call him back and found out mommy had you at the hospital.

When I got to the hospital I called for a police officer to take the report, and then took you to St. Christopher’s ER for treatment...which also included Rabies shots.  Timmy, my heart was broken I thought you were hurt more then you were.  You were hurt enough.  You had 2 bites on your chest, a bad scratch on your right arm, and another bite on your leg.  I feel like I let you down by not being there to protect you.


Yesterday, in Los Angeles, a gunman went into a pre-school at a Jewish community center and shot five people.  Of the five that were shot, three were children, young boys about your age.  The other two were a 16 year old girl and older woman.  The police still do not know why he did what he did; one can only wonder.  On days like this you can almost feel when something will happen.
It was my dream to become a cop, ever since I was about your age.  The earliest memories of my father are those of him in his police uniform.  If you decide to follow in my footsteps, I will support your choice; as long as you are a good person.  Just please stay away from drugs, please, you have too much to live for then to become a bane of society.


Here we are at the dawn of a new millennium.  Nineteen years ago, I was 16 years old, John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman.  Today, at 3 a.m. London time, George Harrison was stabbed, by a burglar.  It makes me think of that time, when I cried thinking of a man I never met, but who influenced me to write and want something more for my life.  The doctors say George Harrison is stable.  The burglar, a 33 year old man from Liverpool ( Harrison’s home town), is in the hospital with injuries of his own.  It’s reported on ABC World News, that Harrison caught the man in his reclusive estate 30 or so miles outside of London.  It’s hard when your heroes die.  But you can never lose the faith.


The other day on the 3rd, I along with other police officers from the 12th District and the rest of the department received awards from the FOP for services.  I was very proud of the honor to meet the mayor (even though I don’t care for his politics), Deputy Commissioner Mitchell, Judge Seamus McCafferty, and FOP president Rich Costello.  The reason I was there was for delivering the baby in November, 1998.  It took awhile but it was well worth it.  Of course they got me and Dalessio confused (again).  As Sgt. Bowman said to me, “You’re joined at the hip now.”

I got a letter from Commissioner Timoney last month for professionalism.  No biggie. Yeah, right.  I framed it.  I just wish you were there at the FOP dinner, but I took your mother instead.  Just kidding.  You would have been bored with people commenting about how much you look like a mini-me.

Right now at this moment you’re trying to push my buttons by not eating ... I think I’ll send you to bed.


Well Monk, talk about surprises!  Last week your mother was complaining of cramping and bleeding...I’ll explain this all to you when you’re older.  But anyway, your mother is going to have another baby.  The week before you were walking up to mommy and saying, “You got a baby in your tummy.”  You have the witch in you for sure.  You’re wish for a baby’re funny.


There won’t be a baby.  It turned out your mother had an ectopic pregnancy, also called a tubular pregnancy.  She needed emergency surgery the other night.  You spent the night with Kelly and then Meg; finally Grand pop took you for the weekend.  I had to take vacation time to be around to either take care of mommy or clean up the house.  Mommy was sad because she wanted another baby, but it was that or risk mommy’s health unnecessarily.


It’s been awhile since I had written to your journal.  I can’t say why it took so long to write a simple paragraph or two about your life.

You started school last September and were in the kindergarten for about 2 weeks.  The powers that be at Nativity felt it would be best for you to be put into pre-K.  So for the next 9 months your mother and I had some arguments with the ninny nuns that felt you were too free spirited.

We signed you up for Soccer.  You seemed to enjoy that sport quite a bit.

You love Clifford the Big Red Dog.  You drew a great picture of him in school.

For Halloween you went out trick or treating as the Red Power Ranger Lightspeed.  Your mother and I ran all over to get you the costume and ray gun.

I got on the bike squad and of course you had to try on my equipment.
We took you to the beach and for the second or third time on the sand and surf you began to like it.

Tim's Baby Journal March 11, 1996 to June 6, 1998

When Tim was born, I began to write a journal of his life.  As life continued, the written word was exchanged for photographs.  I recently was able to pull it off a damaged disk.  Tim, this is the beginning of your life.  I love you.


Sometimes I just wish you to think of this journal as an open letter to you.  One day you'll be a man, making your own choices in life, maybe falling in love, having children - what ever the future holds for you.  You will learn in religion class that man has free will to choose to do good or bad.  I believe that it also extends to be what you want.  I have my hopes of what you'll become, but I have some say in who you'll become.
I believe in the human spirit having the greatest ability to do the highest achievements.  To grow, and learn.  Why else would God give us the insight to peek at His creations recipe?

I remember my father and mother taking me to a drive-in movie to see Iron-Man One.  It was a movie about what Apollo XIII could have turned out to be.  I remember my mother carrying me, I think to the bathroom or the concession stand, and I looked up and saw the stars.  The whole universe seemed open to me.  I felt as if my life would be there, one day.  So far I was wrong.  I wanted to be a scientist, or a pilot - anything that would allow me to one day see the heavens from an angel's view rather than earthbound.
Thing's didn't turn out the way I wished; the way I thought they should have.  I had a stepfather that couldn't understand my appetite for reading and science.  My parents divorce plagued any wish I had to become, and I had my own share in the sabotage.  Timmy, I'll help you with your dreams but you have to see it through.

Stand on the shoulder of an Angel and see the heavens and the universe.  Why settle for standing on the shoulder of a giant.

Tonight, a new comet will be visible passing through the Big Dipper to the Little Dipper.  The passage will take about a week.  The comet named Hyakutake will be visible for a few months, at least until the end of May.  It was named after an amateur astronomer from Japan who discovered it, like most great discoveries, by accident.

In ancient times, it was believed, by some cultures, that a comet was a harbinger of bad times.  Great disasters would befall mankind, and the coming of an apocalypse would occur.  Of course, this was never the case - it was just coincidence or synchronicity.

Well, I passed the police exam with an 89.2, with a ranking of 1955.  I hope this is the test to get me on the force.  It would be a good thing.  Your mother isn't too crazy about the idea.

Happy Easter, Timmy!
You'll find out that your dad doesn't go to church all that much, and isn't all that religious.  Oh, I do believe in God and the Trinity, but I don't have all the faith that I wish I could.  Your mother is probably closer to God than I am.  I just don't have the strength any more.  The church had been defended by our people for over a thousand years.  We've been persecuted, victimized, and forgotten when it came to the politics of Rome.  It's not God that I'm mad at, it's the people that tell us how to be good Catholics.  When we were dying out all that time, who came to our side?

I really don't know what happened tonight, but all I know is that I hurt inside.  Your mother took you away today, because she and grandpop don't get along.  She wants me to make a decision between her and my side of the family.  I had to call out from work tonight, because I couldn't handle this going on.  Timmy, it was a disgrace.  I don't know what else to write except that I'm embarrassed and deeply hurt.

You see your first birthday is coming up, and your mother doesn't want your grandmother there because of what happened in October after your grandfather died.  Your grandfather wanted everyone from both sides there, but it turned into a game of wills, with the two of us stuck in the middle.  Mommy isn't divorcing me; she just can't live here under grand pop’s roof.  So, I guess I'll have to find a new place for us to live ... it just doesn't seem to end.  I don't know how much I'll be able to take.

No matter what, I will always love you.  Promise.

Today is your mother's birthday.  We're apart right now, but we are not divorcing or any of that nonsense.  Your mom and I need to learn how to be a couple again, and talk and listen to each other.  We're okay as long as we're left alone...

I miss you very much.  I have to sleep at grandpa's right now, but we looked at a house in Port Richmond, around the corner from Uncle Jack.  We kind of like it; but it needs work.

I love you.

I'm tired.  I have to go from your grandfather's to work, from work to you and your mom.  Then back to your grandfather's and to work.  Your mother doesn't understand, it's not the travel or the what ever that I am tired of, it's the hurt.

It may not be something that someone is asking me, it's just something you have to do.
I just found out today that the guy, that replaced me on my shift, when we moved to the shore, died.  He committed suicide.  I thought I was having a bad week.  Timmy, remember this, no matter how bad things may seem; sticking it out and working to resolve the problem is better than quitting.  David Hayes quit life - there may be reason he thought it just to do what he did, but it's the other people that suffer.

Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel and quitting work.  Sometimes I feel like quitting trying to educate myself or not do anything.  But, it's worth more to keep working the problem.  No one at work, except a few of us, knew him.  That's a shame not to be known or remembered.  Doctors and religious people, even ordinary people like me can give all the possible answers or reasons; but no one really knows.  Just know that you mean a lot to me.

Today your mother and I are going to sign for a mortgage.  The address of the house is XXXX.  This will be your first home all to your self.  One day we may move, and get a bigger house; but till then this is it.

I haven't been ignoring you, Timmy.  I've been busy running back and forth.  Work to home to your grandmother's to see you.  We are still waiting to here some good news.  Last month I got sick because of all this nonsense.  But, I think we'll get it.  Mom and I have been fighting; we're under a lot of stress.
Last week, we took you to your first Irish festival.  Get used to it, kiddo.  It's your heritage and your history.  We are descended from rebels and they came here to give us a chance.  Remember that.
I love you.
Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, we will be living in our new house.  I hope that you will like it.  I know that I will grow to like it.  I dream about it some nights, because you and your mom are away from me.  This period of time may be the saddest I've had to live through in a long time.  You won't remember it, but I will.  I have to try not holding it against your mom.  She sees the mistake she made of leaving; instead of putting her foot down and telling everyone that you are our son.

One day, you'll have a child, and I may seem like a pain in the butt.  But, I will respect your wishes, as long as you are not hurting the child.  A lot of my anger is because every time that I think things is starting to go the way they should, someone pulls the rug out from under me.  That's why I don't talk to our relations all that much anymore.

Your great-grandfather gave you fifty dollars, and it is the only gift that you will ever get from him; except for the things that I'll pass on to you.  Your great-grandmother died six years before you were even thought of, but she left a lot to pass on to you.  You are my pride and joy, and I am loving every minute of being with you.

We got the mortgage approved last week, now we have to wait for the state to approve it for a lower rate and some grant money for being a first time home buyer.  I'm glad that we'll all be under one roof again very soon.  Your birthday is coming up.  I want to wait a couple of weeks, so that we're settled in our new home; but your mother is insisting that we have it Sunday.

It's not that I'm denying you your birthday.  It's that things are going to be hectic for the next couple of weeks and I have to work on Sunday night.

I spent a day yesterday looking for a birthday gift for you.  A special one that says your daddy loves you.  I got you a rocking-roller horse.  Flip the wheels up, it's a rocker.  Flip the wheels down, it's a roller.  I love you.

Happy Birthday!            You're 1 year old!

We got the house. We should be moving in about 2 weeks.  The house will need some cleaning and some minor repairs. But all in all, it's ours (and the bank's).

Well, we're moved in.

I just got moved to day shift again, after working midnight to 8 for almost 8 months.  Not only that, but I got a notice to go to orientation at the police department.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll get on the department.  Remember, I love you.

Onto other news.  The big story of your life is that you are taking your first steps and getting into everything.  You're trying to put your blocks into the VCR and turn off the TV.  I'm chasing after you to keep you from getting into trouble.

A few things occurred over the summer.  First it was the year of the 100th anniversary of the International Olympics (remind me one day to rent Chariots of Fire) being held in Atlanta.  After the events one evening in July a bomb exploded in the shopping and entertainment center.  A security guard, was a hero one night saving a number of people from the blast, is then a suspect.  I think because he played "Chicken Little" a couple of times with another job, the media focused him as a suspect.  But, then again I could be wrong.

About a week later an airliner TWA flight 800, exploded of the coast of New York.  Quite a few people think that it was shot down with a missile.  But no one knows for sure, because chemical traces to a bomb were found on the wreckage.

You're walking like a pro now.

Last Saturday, I went to the Philadelphia Police Academy for orientation to take the first steps to becoming a policeman.  Your grandfather was one for twenty years.  I hope I get on the force because that means that we can get by a lot better.

I have to answer a lot of questions about myself and it will be a pain in the butt.   Just keep your little fingers crossed.

This morning I have an interview with the police department disclosing everything that I need to give.  Bill Clinton was re-elected as President of the United States.  I voted for him, but I hope it was the best.  I'm better off because of Clinton. But the question should be will you?

It's almost time for Christmas.  This will be your second Christmas and Mommy and I don't have much money.  We did get you quite a few things, but I don't want to have you do without in the future.  Another new year will be coming soon.  And there will be events that I will record for you to see what things were like.

Today a man that I only knew because of one song died.  I didn't know him like a friend or any thing like that; it was more like a memory.  Tiny Tim was the stage name of a man that wrote a song in the 1960's called Tip Toe Through The Tulips.

I was maybe two years old or so when the song came out.  If you ever hear the song you may understand why a child would remember it.  I just remember it, on television, on the radio, and other people singing it.  It was a long time ago.

Last month a young couple was arrested for the murder of their recent born son.  In a Delaware motel room the 19 year old girl gave birth to the baby boy, and the father put the baby in a dumpster behind the motel.  The coroner's office pronounced that the baby had been alive when he was put there.  The parents had it all; coming from affluent families, on the fast track in college.  But if they did, why?

When your mother picked your name, we never gave the thought to what the name Timothy or Owen meant.  But after you were born and I held you in that nursery that hot summer night, I understood.  I was never religious, but I will honor God with how I and your mother raise you.  You are well-born because of the richness that life will bless you with, not the size of your bank account. You were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth, more likely a coffee stirrer. The point is this; those parents will never know the wealth that you have given your mother and me.

In other news, ice was discovered in a crater in the southern pole of the moon. And the United States launched its third Mars probe; the second disappeared as it approached Phobos.

I hope one day you look up at the sky and wonder if you can touch the stars that you see.  I just about gave up on my dreams and I messed up on some thinking that it would just come my way.  When we had you a lot of those dreams were reborn, not for you to do, but for me to finish for you.

Tonight your mother and I had an argument.  The reason was fairly stupid but the point of it was not.  Your mother is a good person at heart and soul.  She would drop everything she is doing to help someone else.  But sometimes your mom doesn't realize that she's being taken advantage of by that person. Your aunts, your mother's sisters have a bad habit of asking her to baby-sit.  When your mom says no to them because she made other plans, or just isn't up to it, she gets a guilt trip.  And I get tired of it.  I'll flex for your mother and concede to her, but any one else can pog ma thoin.

Your mom is a wonderful person.  Part of our arguments is because she can tell me to go to hell and provide directions and a map to boot.  But she can't always do that to your grandmother and your aunts.  Remember Tim, this is your house and home.  The rules that are set are set by your mother and I; not your grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins.  One aunt is of the opinion that I may hit your mom.  Let it be known to you: no matter how mad your mom and I may be with each other when we have an argument we have never struck the other.  I don't care what their opinion is of me, but if they want nothing to do with your mom or you because of me then fuck them.

I have worked my butt off for your mom and you.  On Friday, December 13, 1996 I had my polygraph for the police department.  This is where another 30% wash out after orientation and the beginning of the background check.  Soon, God willing and your great grandmother, Catherine, watching over us I'll have achieve one dream and goal that I have yearned.

You see I hate arguing with your mom.  We don't argue often, but when she is being taken for a fool by someone I will tell her.  She doesn't like that but you'll understand one day.  Your mother's family, like mine, is opinionated. But when she told she is being foolish because she is setting her ground, I will not flex to any one and stand behind your mother.  So remember that when you go through your adolescence.  I stick by my own.  That means you and your mother.

Your grandmother stated that I have a bizarre sense of family, but guess what: She is wrong!  When your mother and I got married before the judge we left our respective families to form our own--you.  If someone doesn't like you or ignores because of who you care for or are friends with then that person isn't worth caring for or about.  I may sound harsh and out of line but until you have a son and wife you may not understand.  But understand this they are not worth worrying about.  Who knows one day you may read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, even see West Side Story.

Christmas will be here soon.  We put the tree up yesterday and decorated it this afternoon.  It's our first Christmas in our new home.  Your stocking is hung on a fake fire-place with care (so what if it's a cliché).  Right now you’re over in the front left corner of the living room next to the tree tearing the TV Guide apart.

As far as news is concerned, Carl Sagan died on the Friday, 12/20/96.  He was an influence to me when it came to an interest in science.

Your mother and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary yesterday.  Marriage on the Winter Solstice.

Merry Christmas, Timmy.  Over the weekend, we went to a Christmas party with your Grandfather.  Today, you visited your grandmother for the first time in over a year.  Overall it wasn't a bad Christmas this year.  Of course you made out like a bandit as far as gifts are concerned.  Your mother's family, as far as I'm concerned, some need to learn that Christmas is a time to put away grudges and misgivings.  I'm not one to speak but since you came along, I may as well make sure that you are raised right.

It isn't right to isolate yourself from your family, but of course there is time to break away and live your life.  Just don't burn your bridges.

Well, Tim-Tim, a year ago I was writing in this journal, of sorts, about the snow storm.  So far we've had a mild winter.  So far.

You just got over the chicken pox a few weeks ago, and now you’re given your mother hell taking medicine for a cough that you have.  It's good that you got it now rather than later or never have it at all.  You're climbing all over the furniture, thinking you're hot stuff.  One day you're going to give me a heart attack.

Tomorrow, President Clinton will be inaugurated for the second time. Perhaps, maybe things will even be better.

Your mother bought you a dog last week. A female shepherd mix named "Bandit".  For all intents and purposes she's not a very good dog just yet.  She's about 8 months old and you love her.  You’re learning a few new tricks yourself.  Climbing on top of the table and causing havoc.  I can tell you didn't fall that far from the tree.  When you get old enough to appreciate this journal, I hope that you use my mistakes to prevent your own, when you have your own little boy.

Last August TWA Flight 800 fell from the skies off the coast of New York.  Two times this week, a passenger liner was chased by National Guard fighters, when each jet flew into their restricted air space.  When Flight 800 went down, there were reports of a missile sighting in the direction of the airliner's course.

Maybe that was what happened?

The official report is that the Flight 800 had a faulty fuel line and it ignited, causing the jetliner to explode.

Well, monk, it's been a little while since I wrote to you in this virtual journal.  In the past couple of months things seem to be going okay.  Last month my background investigator did his neighborhood check, your mother was excited, even though sometimes she wants me to give up this obsession that I seem to have.  Maybe it is an obsession, but I want you to have the best, and if that means becoming a police officer then so be it.  It's something that I have wanted all my life, sometimes I feel I don't but I find myself gravitated to taking the test and going through the wait.

I got my certification as a dispatcher for EMS in the mail.  So that makes things brighter.  I called Officer Briggs, my background investigator.  He suggested that I bring it with me when he calls me. He said I may be in the June class. Keep hoping.

Your mother got you a dog from the SPCA and she could only stay with us for a month or so.  Bandit was just a little too rough for you.  She was a good dog and you loved her, but we had to make a choice and the SPCA just wouldn't take your cousins, so Bandit had to go back.  I'm sure she's with a good family.

About 2 weeks ago I got you another dog, a spaniel mix...I like to tease your mom that it's an Irish Springer Spaniel...Well I won't be in the June police academy class, but my investigator said that I'm in good shape.  I passed my polygraph and my background has checked out so far. Not that I did anything. I just want to get on the force so I can give you and your mom everything.  His name is Shadow.

The other day my background investigator called wanting to confirm a couple of things in my life.  1) An apartment I had in the Northeast, and 2) everything was finished up with it.
He wanted me to write a narrative concerning it and bring it to his office at the 39th District.  He told me I am lined up for the October class.  Let's hope.

Well, I got through the final phase and now just waiting.  Let's continue to hope.  You just turn 2 years old last week.  Like Christmas, you made out like a bandit.  Mostly Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels.  We just got the kitchen's almost complete.  Mommy seems to be happy with it.

In a couple of weeks we'll find out if I get in to the police academy.  I love you.


Well I won't be in the October class that starts on the 6th.  It's beginning to look more like the December class.  I hurt a little, but either way it will still be cold in December.

Good News!!!!!!! I made the Philadelphia Police Department.  I am to go to the Police Academy on December 15, 1997.  Timmy, my dreams have come true!  Remember that dreams do come true, and not just because Jiminy Cricket said so.

The day that I heard was very exciting.  The strangest thing is that December 2, 1997, the day I heard I was to enter the academy; there was an alignment of the outer 5 planets.  The Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus were in a line.  Surrounding the moon, that night the other four wrapped the moon like a necklace. The five bodies hung over our street, right down the middle.

Well, Monkey; I'm half way through the Police Academy.  So far my grades are good.  But of course my grade for my Haz-Mat exam was thrown out along with the rest of the class.  This was because some idiot decided to cheat.  Let me tell you something, if you decide to become a cop I will be very proud of you. But please don't cheat!

I found this excerpt from a notebook.  It was from April, 1995 about 3 months before you were born.


In January, 1993 I while I was deciding where to study to be an EMT, Islamic terrorists set a bomb off in the basement garage of the World Trade Center.  The method was to use a van with explosives.  Now, it happens again.

Yesterday, a car bomb exploded outside a Federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 40 people as of 10:30 this morning-17 of them children.  17 babies that had done no one any harm or ill will.  17 babies that hadn't come to know the riches of life.  17 babies that will never grow up and have babies of their own.

I looked at my wife last night.  During breaks in the news, I glanced over her belly-our baby unaware of his outside world growing inside.  What will I tell my baby when he/she asks questions about the world? How will I explain who is evil and who is good?
A year ago, Gigi and I argued over her finding a daycare job in Philadelphia's Federal Building.  A year later, I'm relieved she didn't listen to me.  The "what ifs" played in my mind as I watched rescue personnel (EMTs, medics, Fire, Police, and Federal) pull bodies from the wreckage of the Oklahoma City Federal Building.  17 babies!

Our children murdered buy a group of fanatics!

I could feel tears well up in my eyes.  I could feel anger drip into my blood like a toxic IV

The photograph of a Firefighter cradling an injured, bloody child in his arms, adorns the front page of the morning news.  President Clinton called for swift justice - the bastards should not get a trial; it would be a waste a American tax dollars.  Swift justice?  A democracy such as ours calls for a trial for the accused - a Star Chamber trial would be more fitting.  (I need to find that photograph)

America has paid the price of freedom with her children's blood before - but never with her most precious.  When I will be holding my baby will I have to protect him/she at all times?  My baby's not born yet, and I'm afraid for its life.

17 babies equaling 17 mothers and 17 fathers grieving over their loss.  My God, who will pay for this atrocity?  Will justice be so swift to satisfy the blood lust of vengeance?  Vengeance so cold future terrorists will change their minds?

Questions.  Questions.

Death.  Carnage.  Pain.

Oklahoma City.

300 people are still missing...I should not forget the babies that were hurt from the explosion.  These animals hurt our most precious and innocent.


The news had shown sketches of two men wanted in connection to the bombing.  A third man was detained in London after through x-rays inspection of  his bags shown wire, metal clippers, and some other tools.  150 people are still missing - body count still rises and may still.  Congress now pushes forth a bill to deal with the terrorists - Death Penalty!

I believe that when the authorities catch these evil men; take them to a deserted area.  Take the handcuffs off; give them to the count of 3 to make a run for it.

1-2-3 BOOM!  Right in the head.  Treat them as rabid dogs.

Its five minutes before 11 in the morning.  CNN reports that the FBI has made positive ID Arrests are forthcoming.  Please dear God, let them be the ones!

Were they Islamic fanatics?

Were they members of the Branch Davidians?

Was it revenge for the death of David Koresch, on the second anniversary?

Gigi doesn't want me to watch the news.  She doesn't want me to get depressed.  I'm not - I'm angry!

CNN just announced the man taken into custody in London, and returned to the US, had been released.  He's still a potential witness.

There still is a connection to Kansas - a hot bed of white supremacists.  Six people were killed in New York 2 years ago and 2 months ago, when Islamic fundamentalists exploded a bomb in the sub-basement garage of the World Trade Center.  Over 1,000 people were injured. 

50 confirmed dead in Oklahoma.

50 human beings obliterated.  A quarter of them children.

When Val and I had first seen the news, we thought it was Center City.  What if it was?


I have 10 more weeks left at the academy, my boy!  I'm running just about everyday, and don't get me started about the sit-ups.  MY GOD!   My class lost another recruit because he failed 2 areas, Law 3 and First Aid.  Now we're studying Communications (BORING!), I feel like I'm back in 8th grade, maybe even 9th grade. You gave us two scares, a couple of weeks ago.  First, you fell down the stairs and split your lip open and you needed a stitch at Northeastern ER.  Second, we went to Me-Mom for her birthday, where you were bit by her dog.  This was very scary for your mother and me.  The dog bit you around the neck...Yes I was VERY ANGRY.  But, of course, you were very lucky both times.  I really don't want to see what you will be like when you reach your teens.


Guess what, Monkey?  I'm graduating this Wednesday, 6-10-98.  I made it!!!
I've been annoyed or so it seems...I'm just nervous about what might happen.  I LOVE YOU!!

Tim's Baby Journal July 26, 1995 to March 10, 1996

When Tim was born, I began to write a journal of his life.  As life continued, the written word was exchanged for photographs.  I recently was able to pull it off a damaged disk.  Tim, this is the beginning of your life.  I love you.

Timothy, your journal begins now. I just want you to know your life from the beginning. You were born today, July 26, 1995 at 8:01 PM, weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces, and twenty-one inches long. It's the middle of a heat wave, temperatures reaching 100+ F. You were delivered Cesarean section, because you were too big for a natural birth. Mommy had to be put under because she fought the local anesthesia and other pain medications.

I love the two of you. I cried like you, so beautiful you were-- so full of life, so explosive with energy. Your mother gave me a son. I only wish Mommy was awake to see her boy. But she did great! Well, the doctors did show you to her, but she was too groggy to remember.

I was escorted to the nursery, while the nurse carried you. I was seated and you were handed to me. Some people, I guess aren't used to seeing men cry for the joy of their child being born. I just held you and talked to you; I made promises that I may break, but will work at trying not to. Mommy had to stay in the hospital for three days, for recovery. I would get there late, because I had to clean the house for you to be brought home. The dog tore apart the downstairs one night, and the upstairs the next. You have my face and hair, and even some of my personality, which you also get from your grandmother. Everyone in my family should know that you are the important one; the one to carry on the name. Bringing you home was a day filled with much joy. Mommy's aunt helped out, because Mommy's parents were in Florida with her sister. This really irritated me. An important time for Mommy and they were on vacation. But what's done is done, but I won't forget. I'll try not letting it interfere with your future. Things can be forgiven.

You are now a month old. I look at you and I wish for you to grow into an honorable and trustworthy man. You are my son and I want you to have the world. Last Sunday, my father took the three of us to see my grandfather. My grandfather is nearly ninety years old, and I'm afraid he won't be around much longer, but I wanted him to see your great-grandson. Your great-grandfather handed mommy a card for you, and told her just to put it in her purse. Later we found out that it contained fifty dollars. We made plans to matte the money, the card, and a picture of you and my grandfather in a frame. I was upset later that night because I knew it may be the only tangible gift from the man for you. I was more upset that my grandfather won't be around, to do the things with you that he had done with me. I just wish that my grandmother was around, but again, she is in many ways. Timmy, you will have good people in body and soul to watch over you.

We are getting ready to move down to Ventnor. I want you to have the same opportunities that I had; but since I had already passed up some that would have helped me; I'll know which you should take advantage. Mommy and I hope to own a house in a few years, a nice place - one of those picket fence types. I love you both. You are now six weeks old. I think you'll have your mother's eyes, blue-gray in color, like the clam center of a hurricane. I'm packing our belongings and making plans. I don't think I'll be at Life Support come next summer; I plan to be working in a casino. I just don't want to make any mistakes that will hurt you later in life. I want to see you grow up.

We moved to the shore yesterday. We worked our butts off getting things put away and organized. Sleep didn't come all that easy for me. You were constipated and didn't BM until today after Mommy gave you a bottle with Karo syrup. But misfortune and sadness found me again ... my grandfather suffered an aneurysm yesterday and died today and 12:20 P.M. My father said he sat up in bed and called out for my grandmother who passed on six years ago.

You won't know him person to person, but he lives on in me, grand pop, and you. You'll find the picture of him holding you.

Well, we got kicked out of my mother's. You will know that you have a grandmother down the shore, but at this point you may never know her. I don't hate her, but at this point I will never forgive her. Timmy you will know that I will have my reasons later in life. There's a difference between never forgiving and never forgetting may one day forgive, because Val taught me never say never. You may never know you have family in Ventnor ... But I will never choose you or a sibling over one another.

Timmy I'm sorry...

Mommy took you to see her sister in Ocean City. She says she's not mad at me, but I know she cries herself to sleep. She knows I tried. I don't hurt anyone but I will not be the victim any longer. Last night, there was a MVA in Absecon, I came upon. The woman driving a minivan was hit in the rear and the vehicle was turned on its side. The guy I was partnered with (funny as it may seem) is named Tim. He and I asked to assist until the local squad came on scene. I looked at the woman trapped inside the minivan. She had a compound fracture of her left humorous, and was losing a good amount of blood. Timmy, should you decide to become an EMT, or want ever you want, always remember don't enter if the scene is unsafe. There's no sense in getting hurt, because you rushed in without looking all around. It took six men to keep the vehicle stable. A bystander was there holding a small boy. The man said the boy was the woman's son, and was walking around after the accident. I thought, Oh my God, he was ejected. A squad member, Tim, and I collared and boarded the boy. His name was Josh. As I talked to him I thought of you. He was afraid we would crash, as we drove him to the hospital in Atlantic City.

I asked you to count to ten, sing "Twinkle Little Star", and the theme song from Barney. My heart was in my throat. Because of luck and good methods, as well as his mom's care to seat-belt you, he was all right. His mom should be recovering just fine at this time. We should be moving out on October 1, your mom and I haven't agreed where or with whom we will live, until we get our own place. I'll try not to argue with her. She's very special to me, Timmy, and I love her more than most in the world, except you. I just want to do something to make you feel proud of me. I just hope I do, because I know how it is to be let down. You don't deserve to inherit my mistakes.

We moved on the first of the month. Just getting settled was a chore, because we had not set anything up at my father's house, like we had at my mother's. We rented a U-Haul truck and gather up the troops to move us. Gary, Ann, Jon, and your uncle Jack pretty much just threw everything into the back of the truck. MeMom came and got you and your mother. Grand pop had the house ready, in as much as he could do. I'm not mad at Mom-mom, I just still feel hurt.

Well we've been here over a month. Grand pop may be getting a promotion at work, which will mean he would have to move. He'll leave us the house, but I am afraid of not being able to keep up with the bills. You're learning to crawl and sit up now. You love to laugh and giggle; maybe bounce when your mother or I hold you up. Your favorite toy seems to be Gerry the Giraffe (remember giraffes can talk if you use your imagination). He had all kinds of pastel colors on his mane, until mommy washed him because grand pop spilled coffee on him. I have to go to work now... so I'll see you when I get home.

Your mother began to give you baby food a few days ago. I've been sick for a few days now. I thought it was an ear infection, but turned out to be a sinus problem. Christmas is practically around the corner. Soon Santa will come, leaving presents for good little boys and girls. I was never one to enjoy the holiday as I started to get older. But I want you to enjoy it! And remember, your mother is very big on the holiday season - however, she's worried about money for gifts, and she just wants everyone to be happy. Timmy, you are the reason I will enjoy this season. Grand pop is spoiling you awful! You may find that as you get older, you and I may not see eye to eye. I may get you mad when I stick my nose in your business, but remember you’re my son and I love you.

It's a few weeks from Christmas, and it's your first. We didn't get you much because we couldn't afford all the things on the wish list. We'll make due. Timmy I just want you to know that Christmas is a time of giving - not receiving. Santa is a nice concept to appreciate for a child, but you may be reading this one day as a man. The year is almost over. American troops are being shipped to Bosnia to help keep the peace. I worry one day you may have to go off to war, and I pray you don't.

Here are some headlines for 1995.
A massive earthquake rocked Japan. January, 1995

Paramount Studios launches new television network, UPN (United Paramount Network).

January, 1995. A religious doomsday cult in Japan set off toxic nerve gas, Saran, in the subways of Tokyo.

March 1995 US Federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma bombed by right wing militia-terrorists.

April 20, 1995 Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts link orbiters together for the first time since Apollo-Soyuz in July, 1975.

July, 1995. O.J. Simpson found not guilty of the charges for murders of Ron Goldman and Nichole Brown-Simpson.

October, 1995 A Jupiter size planet discovered orbiting star Peg 51 in Pegasus constellation.

October, 1995. The birth of a new star and possibly a solar system, 7000 light years away, is seen with the aid of the Hubble telescope.

October, 1995. Israeli Prime Minister Iszak Rabin was assassinated.

November 4, 1995. Disney's Toy Story is the first totally computer generated animation motion picture.

November 22, 1995 Ed Rendell voted to second term as mayor of Philadelphia, defeating Joe Rocks.

The Galileo probe set to enter Jupiter's atmosphere on December 7, 1995.

The fifteenth anniversary of John Lennon's murder. December 8, 1995

TV Shows Name of Show Network
X-Files Fox
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine UPN
Star Trek: Voyager UPN (new)
Sea Quest: 2032 NBC (new format) (Canceled)
Space: Above and Beyond Fox (new) (Canceled)
Friends NBC
Caroline in the City NBC (new) Of course you can't discount your mother's soap opera - General Hospital (ABC).

You are just beginning to watch Sesame Street, The Puzzle Place, and Thomas the Tank Engine on PBS. Sometimes I think you understand it better than you let on ... only four months old and already showing signs of genius! But as you can see CBS didn't fair too well with us.

Well this is your first Christmas. Grand-pop is on furlough, because both parties in Congress can not agree on a budget. Just so you know in your later years this is a very frustrating time. Sometimes you won't have enough money to get you all the gifts you would like to give; sometimes you won't find the gift you're looking for that special someone. There may even be times when you will feel alone. But, all in all, it's a time to reflect on what you have all ready and the family that loves you. Your mother and you are sick with a cold, which the two of you got from grand pop - who likes to share such things. I'm worried that I got something your mother will like, and that I'll have enough money to last until payday!

The Galileo probe lasted 75 minutes in Jupiter's atmosphere. It will take some months to correlate the data and interpret. US troops are in Bosnia. Sometimes it may seem that the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, but remember things always seem to get worse before they get better.

This is a time to have joy and hope. A time to set aside differences and look to the good that people are capable of. During World War I, in a battlefield, on Christmas Day 1916, German and Allied forces stopped fighting for 24 hours. They exchanged cigarettes, candy, photographs of children and loved ones; they even set up a Christmas tree! For 24 hours there was peace!

Christmas isn't about gifts or Santa Claus. It's about man's relationship between himself and God. It may be Jesus' birthday, and how God sent Him to us, but it's more. I think people forget that as time goes on. So many years from now if you are reading this, ask me why I think that.

Merry Christmas! Christmas 1995

We just got home from Aunt Hanna's house in Ocean City. You got the mother lode of gifts from your mother and me. Your great-aunt Ann Marie got you and your cousins (the boys born this year) fluffy toy animals; you got a purple baby elephant wearing a diaper, so we'll have to think of a name for him! Your two grandfathers tried to find the on/off switch on a scarf, because one of your aunts wrapped it in a Christmas light box. You're sick right now with a cold - maybe the flu. I don't know. I'm mostly afraid of you having the croup. Timmy, it may seem that I'm complaining or whining, but you are the most important person to me, aside from your mother. I'm new at this daddy business and I don't have all the know how or experience. There isn't a manual written to provide the answers.
I love you.

Well, it's a new year. I signed up to take the city police test; it will be the sixth time taking the exam. Maybe this time it will be the lucky time! You just got over the croup. Yep, your old man was right. Timmy, you are my boy. We are expecting a blizzard, a foot or two of snow is to fall. Daddy standing in 30 inches of snow.

The snow has come and is expected to last well into tomorrow morning. A foot or so has fallen already. You are a little cranky today - you're teething and the cold weather is no help. I've been up with you since 8 a.m. and you were miserable most of the morning. Mommy asked me to take you downstairs so she could get some sleep. A daddy's job is never done. You're not that bad, but mommy doesn't like to see you crying - and you rarely do! I shoveled the front of the house, and by now you couldn't even tell that it was done. Now I got the cold that you and mommy had over Christmas. I just wish to thank the two of you. I do love you, don't forget.

The sun is shining down outside this afternoon. We got about 31 inches; so bad it was, the governor shut down the roads to everyone except emergency personnel. The buses and trains weren't running so I couldn't get to work. Your grandfather, mother, and I spent taking turns shoveling the outside with a snow blower. So not much is going on. Grand pop was to go back to work after the federal government was shut down after 3 weeks, due to budget talks in congress. We managed to get through this and then the snow came. You're too young to take out in this weather, but when you’re older; you and I will go sledding or maybe build a snow-fort.

Well I got some good news. I just got promoted to the Dispatch department at LSA. The pay increase is nominal, but it's better than nothing. The only thing I'm not too crazy about is that it's midnight to eight. But that shouldn't last too long. We were expecting another 6 inches on top of what we already got. But it turned to rain. In a way that is good, but in another that could be a problem. (Snow + rain) lowered temperatures = ice.

You're starting to talk now. Well, you could mimic "I love you" since you were a month old. Now you're saying dada dada. To stay on even ground you're saying to everything not just your ever loving dada.

I just wanted you to know that I'm writing this journal, so that you can understand some of the things that I may do as you grow up. I'll try not to be an overbearing father (but I may) and I may be strict with some things that you'll do, say, or act out. Just know that I love you. You and I may spend hours at a toy store or a book store. You may not even like to read as much as I do, but ... When my parents divorced, and my mother remarried, I thought I lost some of who I was. My books and comic books were taken from me and thrown out with the trash.

It was rumored I read too much. Well, guess what? Wrong! The comics that were thrown out could have paid for some of my college and possibly all of yours. Your mom sometimes takes books out of my hands, claiming I need to spend more time paying attention to her. I'm not saying she's wrong, but I get angry with her for doing it. Your mom is one of those people that need to be told and shown how much she is loved and cherished.

I think you about everyday you when I have to work. I want you to know a few things about me. I was born here, in Philadelphia, on October 23, 1964. I never really had a charmed life ... more like a time of looking for what I would grow up to be. I wanted to be an astronaut or a pilot; sometimes even a detective. I have a conservative love of science fiction, meaning if it is practical and possible then I enjoy it. I don't have a broad mind for the ridiculous. My parents divorced in 1975. My mother had a fifth child, Jennifer, by her new husband that November. I have an interest in technology and the sciences. It may even be a love. Like the use of the computer to write this journal. Timmy, please, if anything, study hard and learn. Things, like math and science may come easy for you because you already show the potential for being gifted. You're learning at six months what some babies don't learn for a few more months. I'm not saying you'll be an Einstein or Hawkings, but you may be able to understand where they come from.

Next Sunday it will be 10 years since the space shuttle Challenger blew up. It was 11:39:13 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28, 1986. In the blink of an eye - less than seven-tenths of a second after the shuttle Challenger took off on its 10th and final voyage - a deadly jet of hot gas managed to burn its way through a flawed O-ring booster joint. Seventy three seconds later, at an altitude of 46,000 feet and a velocity of Mach 1.92, Challenger disintegrated in an orange-white cloud of flaming debris, an image burned into the national psyche by unending videotape replays on the news. The Space Shuttle I was just coming from one of my computer classes when I looked at the televisions that were mounted in the hallways at my junior college. The thought was this was a joke. No American spacecraft could ever have a flaw. Tim, I didn't know what to believe. The Shuttle Challenger exploding Tuesday, January 28, 1986.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. Super Bowl XXX is on TV; the Cowboys versus the Steelers (again). It would have been the Eagles but they lost to the Cowboys two weeks ago. Millionaire John DuPont surrendered to police after a three day standoff, after he allegedly shot a man, David Schultz, at his front door. I have been working Midnight to 8 for a couple of weeks now. I'm still not used to working all night and sleeping during the day. Ten years ago I may have, but I had to get used to going to bed early and getting up early. We got a walker-chair for you from Uncle Jack and Aunt Kelly, since little John is walking. Next Saturday is his first birthday, and we still don't know what to get him. Everyone that has met you says that there is no way I can deny you. I can't. I call you my "little twin", because you look exactly like me. Just like a little twin.

Recently a couple of weeks ago, astronomers believe that they had found two new planets. One is in the Big Dipper constellation, at star 47 Urase Majoris, the other in Virgo, star 70 Virginis. Both may be gas giants like Jupiter, but bigger, possibly 3 and 8 times larger. The question if either has life we may never know in this life time, but these two could harbor complex organic molecules. The four other planets that were discovered are believed not to habitable. Three of them are orbiting a neutron star. The fourth is orbiting too close to its sun to possibly evolve life, because of extreme temperatures. But who knows for sure. Some things may not be known for a long time. We can only speculate using Earth as a model, and modern scientific process.

You just came home from the doctor's office with your mother. You had an ear infection which cleared up, but now you have to have a chest x-ray and a barium swallow done. You spit up sometimes like I do and you have a cough. The doctor wants to rule out reflux. It's when your stomach muscles are a little weak and forces your food to go back up to your throat. I may seem like a worrier but I am your dad, and that is my right.

Its one day after Groundhog's Day and Puxtsotoni Pete says six more weeks of winter. We just got another snowstorm, it drop about five to six inches this time. It rained a couple of weeks ago, so the snow from the blizzard pretty much washed away. The houses and business down on Main Street, near the river flooded. Today we're going to your cousin's John's first birthday; well we may not, if we can't get a ride. You see I still don't have a car of my own. I ride in the public limousine, which I share with 40 other people. It doesn't matter what possessions you have, it's who you are. 2/4/96 The Anglican church, a few weeks ago, had argued that Hell may not exist as a place of punishment, fire, and brimstone. The argument is that Hell may just be a state of nothingness; a total separation from God and Heaven. Also some scholars argue that Hell may be a concept taken from Greek and Persian Christians in the early church; a possible attempt to make the church truly Catholic.

Remember catholic means universal, not just adhering to the canon or laws of the papacy governing your religion. The Greeks may have influenced the apostles as they made their way north spreading the Gospel. The Greeks mythology had a general theme of a punishment and a place of punishment for those that did wrong. I would be able to tell you more, but your mother threw out the paper.

The other day you had the test done. Yes, you had a bit of reflux. No it's not serious. But I'll tell you one thing, your mother never saw white poop before.

I'm to take the police exam tomorrow, but I haven't studied at all. I'll pass somehow, but not by cheating. I hope to maybe get on the department. I've been working midnights for almost 2 months now and I hope soon to get on a normal shift. Your first tooth is starting to come in and you're sitting up by yourself. Not perfect, but I'm proud of you. You've been a little cranky since but you'll calm down.

Your second tooth is starting to come in, and you're trying to stand on your own. I took the police exam, and I know I passed. I hope I make it this time. You're a funny little monkey. But I still love you. I haven't been feeling good for awhile. I think it may just be my body getting tired of this midnight shift.

Heart of Leo

Heart of Leo

Watching shooting stars pass through Leo’s heart
As constellations dance in a celestial waltz
Seven sisters shed tears as I mourn my loss
Your soul echoes in mine

Forever you are loved
As the babe I held
The boy I doted
The man you were to be

I hear your voice and call out to you
Yet all that is seen is a ribbon of a rainbow in the mist above
Lightning flashes distant to the East
Showing me where I am banished from the garden we were to be

Mud covers as I raise myself from your grave
It was not your time, nor God’s plan
An angel guided me to where you died
Held me when I thought abandoned

Under the limelight of a blackened sun
This barrier I put up only caged me
Protecting those left behind from the rage in my heart
As tears fall on the stone with your likeness etched and name engraved

~Martin Connors

Thursday, September 29, 2011

May 21, 2011: My Personal Day of Rapture

In January, 2010, Harold Camping, an eighty-eight year-old self professed Biblical scholar and radio Evangelist announced that the end of the world would occur on May 21, 2011.  By Spring, 2011, billboards were seen on roadways across the United States.  Philadelphia was no exception to the proclamation that the righteous would be taken in whole body and soul into Heaven in the coming of the Rapture.

Along I-95, LED billboards flashed between advertisements for a local radio station, an ambulance chaser, and the announcement of the Rapture as calculated by Mr. Camping.  Tim and I were heading home after seeing Thor.  Tim joked he would love to see the look on peoples faces on Sunday, May 22 when they did not wake up in Heaven.  It was to be the beginning of the end of days according to the billboard.

Oh how I wish May 21, 2011 did not come.  It was the day of my son’s funeral.  It was the day we put his earthly remains in the ground.  I woke up on May 18, 2011 to a new world – a world without my son.  On May 22, 2011, I woke up wishing I had never woke up.  I am sure Harold Camping woke up feeling similar, but for other reasons.  He has since revised his calculations for October 21, 2011 and then suffered a stroke – I on the other hand continue to be in the Emergency Room looking down at my son, holding his corpse, cursing my God, and at the same time begging him for forgiveness and not take my son.  I have been fortunate to hold on to my health – but not by much.

The end of days came four days early for me, and was finalized that Saturday when I knelt with my hand on my son’s casket as he was lowered into the ground.  I felt the hands of my brothers, brother officers, and family raise me up for fear I would fall into the grave.  That was my facing revelation without the choir of angels – no angelic voices of the seraphim, cherubim, thrones, rulers, virtues, powers, princes or principalities, or arch-angels blasting their mighty trumpets.  I did feel the hand of my guardian angel when I drove past the hospital as I received the phone call that would herald the end of my son’s young life.

Timothy's Strength

I wrote Timothy's Strength on Wednesday, September 12, 2001. I wrote to exorcise my demons and tribute those that sacrificed; hoping it would inspire solace all from the words of a little boy, my son Timothy.  His simple little boy wisdom was spoken from an old soul. 

It was this night I promised that he would never wear a badge if I had anything to do with it; however I felt that should he follow in my footsteps as part of his own path I would be proud of him none the less.  This not only a tribute to those that perished on 9/11, but to the coming generations hoping one day there will be no need for war. 

It is now a tribute to my son, who on that night saved my soul.

 I was surprised when it was published by the FOP Grand Lodge website and paper, as well as several other publications that asked for permission to re-print.

The events are true and not exaggerated.  Those that suggest remembering this day is foolish, are those that allow the suffering to continue - it does not matter if they are friend, family by blood or contract, or a stranger, it is this person that allows those that wish to undermine our society and allow those that are enemies foreign and domestic attempt to prosper.

Timothy's Strength 
A Philadelphia Police Officer's 
September 11th 2001 Experience

I am a Philadelphia Police Officer. I am married with a wonderful son. On September 11th, I (like most of my fellow Americans) witnessed the senseless slaughter of human life. The department was put on high alert and our tours of duty were extended. With the exception of a scant five minutes to change my uniform of the day, I did not see my wife and son until later that evening.

My squad was deployed to the hotels near the Philadelphia International Airport. In each and every hotel we checked we saw the faces of travelers, many of them American, change from distraught to a significance of hope.

People walked up to us and thanked us for being there. We were just doing our job. We were asked our feelings for fallen brothers and sisters in New York. I could only respond that it was horrible, seeing no need to raise their already heightened anxiety. I felt the pulse of the true America was still beating. I witnessed strangers offering to pay for dinner, a room, or share a taxi.

When I returned home, I kissed my wife and hugged her. I went upstairs to kiss my son who should have been already asleep. Being the son of a Philadelphia police officer myself, I could not be angry with my six-year-old for waiting up and feigning sleep for my return. I too had done the same during the turbulence of the late sixties and early seventies.

My son, Timothy, sat up in his bed, and asked me, "Did you and your partners catch the bad guys that hurt those people with the bomb and airplanes?"

"No," I said. I choked back a sob. "We didn't. Not today."

Timothy leaned closer to me. For the first time in my son's life, he was witnessing me crying. He held my face.

"Don't cry daddy." He put on a brave face. "All those police and firefighters that died when the buildings fell on them will be replaced by their sons."

I began to cry heavier. My son just held me and said, "It's gonna be OK."

My six-year-old, perhaps oblivious to the true magnitude of the tragedy was comforting me with his simple wisdom. I only pray my son will not take up my choice of career, and find his own path because he had shown me that night that he has the soul of the BRAVEST. He wants to be a firefighter/detective, in other words, a fire marshal.

My only regret is that I am duty bound to Philadelphia, and wish to have been there to at least bring our brothers and sisters out to let them rest in peace.

Tuesday September 13, 2011: Timothy’s Strength Redux

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 has passed.  The thoughts I had ten years ago, five years ago, and even last year have changed.  I taught my son to commemorate heroes, not to put them on pedestals but honor them still as the brave human beings they were – not gods or becoming someone’s personal angel.  I wanted him to understand the human condition in what it surmounts to the words Courage, Bravery, Honor, Service, and Sacrifice and how each word is defined by action.

When Tim was little, I planned to take him to Ground Zero to see how it had changed from being a massive crime scene to becoming a memorial built on hallowed ground.  He understood.  What the children of 9/11 experienced, Tim feared – losing a parent to an act of violence.  He feared losing me despite my assurances that I would come home.  Tim saw seven Philadelphia Police Officers funerals and attended the funeral for Gary Skerski; Gary’s daughter attended Tim’s grade school.

I wrote Timothy’s Strength at the urging of a friend when I told of my Tim’s words and his assurance that “…it will be okay.”  The story has become more then a tribute to the fallen knights of St. Florian and St. Michael; it became my anthem for the old soul my son possessed.  I spent 9/11 outside of New York City.  I watched the some of the tribute until the televised coverage was too much for me to handle.  The roll call of the departed sparked the memory of Tim sitting up in his bed – staying awake until I walked in the front door.  He was shielded from the images that the news media transmitted to virtually every television set in the world.  The sight of bodies falling from the upper floors of the towers, the smoldering field where Flight 93 crashed possibly upside down and nose pointed to the Earth as the passengers fought the hijackers, to the flames gutting the Pentagon.

All Tim knew was that Daddy was at work and bad guys were trying to destroy the world.  In his imagination, my partners and I were hunting down the bad guys and bringing them to jail.  He wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t live up to what his imagined heroics projected.  Tim was simply happy his daddy was home, safe and unharmed.

This past April, Tim and I drove past the site where the foot prints of the tower were being transformed into pools of reflection.  I promised him we would go before the spring of 2012 and pay respect.  On May 17, 2011, at 4:03, those promises and plans became moot.  I was faced with my own 9/11.  I lived through my own Rapture that next Saturday as Tim was escorted by members of the Philadelphia Highway Patrol to his final resting place.  My world and heart was shattered; my mind barely clung to sanity.  My son became my hero ten years ago.  I didn’t think of those that sacrificed their lives ten years ago on that dreadful September Tuesday…I thought of my son who was killed on a horrifying Tuesday in May – almost four months before.  My sense of tribute has been altered.  I only hope Tim understands as he looks down from Heaven.

Old Country Buffet, the Old Man, and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Tower of Doom

When Tim was about 7 years old, Old Country Buffet was pushing to have their restaurants labeled kid friendly.  Part of this campaign was to go after the sweet tooth of juveniles across the country by having a commercial showing a kid making a mammoth dessert from chocolate chip cookies, soft ice cream, pie, cake, whipped cream and sprinkles.  Tim being no different asked if we could go to the nearest Old Country Buffet so he could match such a colossal effort; soon this became a once every few months family outing.

We had gone out one night during Christmas shopping.  Tim enjoyed his main stay of pizza, spaghetti, chocolate milk, and of course the leaning cookie tower of chocolate doom.  Tim slurped down cup after cup of chocolate milk.  His mother and I both chastised him not to gulp down so much chocolate milk because he would fill up on that and not eat his dinner.  Tim despite warnings continued and eventually finished his dinner and his mammoth dessert.  Soon his bladder called for relief and he ran off to the rest room with me following him interrupting my meal.
After a few trips of bladder relief and his mother and I having our dessert and my customary cup of coffee, we gathered our dishes and stacked them to make it easier for the dining room attendant. As we were leaving, I ran into two friends from the 12th District, John and Brenda.  Both were at a table with another couple enjoying a night out at the movies and stopped for a quick bite.
I introduced my wife and Tim to John and company.  There was a bit of small talk about the evening, preparing for Santa, and work.  Tim began to do a little side step dance left to right, right to left.
“Daddy,” Tim interrupted.  “I have to go to the bathroom again.”
“In a second Tim,” I said.  I turned back to John and Brenda and our conversation.
“Daddy, please.” Tim was now holding his belly.
I began to excuse myself so I could escort Tim to the Mens Room.  I don’t know what happened to prompt my son’s explosive spewing.  All I know is that he suddenly was reenacting Linda Blair from the Exorcist.  Tim vomited in a gushing fire hose stream of puke.  An old man sitting behind Tim suddenly raised his arms in a defensive posture yelling “No.”  The old man’s exclamatory protest came out in slow motion as he was suddenly covered with undigested pizza, spaghetti, chocolate milk, and the mammoth chocolate chip cookie tower of doom.
As Tim’s stomach continued to revolt against his dinner and pushed his dinner out, the entire side of the dining room, with the exception of John and Brenda, cleared a wide berth.  I stood in a combination of embarrassment, concern, anger, and not knowing if I wanted to cry or laugh.  I pushed Tim off to the men’s room to clean him up.  I kept thinking of the pie eating contest from movie Stand by Me.  As I leaned Tim over the toilet and dragged him over to the sink to clean him up, I couldn’t hold it down myself and joined the party.
Tim regained his composure and began to cry and apologize.  I started to admonish him for drinking so much chocolate milk and wasting his dinner, but stopped and began to laugh.  We exited the men's room and made a bee line for the exit.  When we got into the car, I imitated the old man raising his arms and shrieking “Nooooooo!”
The next day at work, I offered John to pay for any dry cleaning he and Brenda may need.  John said he only got a few drops on his blazer and Brenda managed to escape any contamination.  “Your boy did get that old guy behind us real good though.”
“Oh my God,” I said.  “I am so embarrassed.”
“Marty-Mart,” John said.  “Its part of having kids; you’ll be joking about this one day with him.”
John was right.  It was one of Tim’s favorite stories to be told.  He loved how I used an old geezer voice and said no in a faux slow-motion like in the movies or comedy shows.  When ever we went to Old Country Buffet he would want me to tell the story.  He was the hero and villain; the center of attention and the subject.  I miss hearing him laugh and put in his own interjections to liven up the tale.

October 23, 2009 - Nintendo, Chocolate Cake, and The Beatles

 Tim’s first favorite Beatles song was “Yellow Submarine”.  The cartoonish imagery of the song, pre-dating the 1968 movie, was easy to follow with Ringo Starr’s monotone vocals.  My 1994 Camry had a tape deck and I bought the Beatles “1” album and when I would play it when we went on trips to the mall, grocery store, the mountains, or shore; Tim would sing along.  Sometimes I would have to rewind the cassette tape and play the song over and over at his request. 
As he grew older, I told him the story of the Beatles.  I had learned their history and music from my grade school music teacher, Jane Ashworth, when I was growing up in Ventnor.  I explained to Tim how John Lennon had just come out of self-seclusion after five years, recorded Double Fantasy, and on December 8, 1980 was gunned down by Mark David Chapman.  I continued telling Tim how Lennon influenced my writing, my thoughts about life, and learning to play the guitar; I also confessed how I cried on December 9, 1980 for the loss of my idol.

Tim picked up my love for the Beatles music; he even listed it as one of his “Likes” on Facebook.  As Tim became a teenager, he began to influence me with his other tastes in music – Three Days Grace, the All-American Rejects, There Might Be Giants, and Linkin Park.  If a song caught his ear or mine I would download it and burn it to CD.  Often times, I came home after a 4x12 shift to hear Tim’s stereo playing as he slept.  I loved how he was discovering his own tastes in music and was making his own mixes and playlists.
As my 45th birthday approached in October, 2009, Tim bugged me for weeks if he could borrow $200.  When I asked him why he needed the money, he would say something I had said to him: “I could tell you but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.”  He was very tenacious about his goal of getting the money.

One afternoon, we were shopping in Wal-Mart and Tim disappeared to his favorite section – Electronics and Games.  Soon he came to find me and he was very excited.

“Daddy, I really want to borrow that money!”

“For what,” I asked.

“Daddy please?”

I handed him my debit card.  Tim told me not to follow him or peek.  I promised I would stay put.  Soon he was running back.

“Daddy I need your PIN.”

I gave him the numbers and he ran back to the section.

An employee came up to me and told me I was needed in Electronics.  The cashier wanted to know if I had given Tim my debit card.  I told him I did and that Tim was my son.  Tim stood with an embarrassed expression on his face.  His jacket was off and covering a large rectangular box.  When he saw me he covered the box with his body.  “Don’t look Daddy.  Don’t look.”

I turned away.

Tim came over and told me not to turn around.  He asked for the car keys and that he had something to put in the car.  Soon he came back having put in the trunk whatever it was that he purchased.  Tim was grinning from ear to ear as he walked towards me.  I knew he learned how to be crafty when it came to hiding presents or not letting me know what he would get me or his mother as a gift.

When Tim was little, during our treks to Toy R Us or Wal-Mart, if he found a toy and it was getting close to Christmas I would tell him to scan it.  I told him it was the Santa Scanner and that the bar-code sent a message to the North Pole and Santa or his helpers would use a world wide network to keep track of some items that a little boy or girl had an interest, but may forget when it came time to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what was wanted for Christmas.  It was a game we enjoyed.  He had the fantasy of Santa sitting at a computer and Tim’s name would pop up with a picture of a toy he wanted.  I could look at the read out and see the price.

When we got home, Tim had me close my eyes.  He rounded up his sisters to help him bring out the presents, having Charlotte carry a smaller thin package as he had Alaina cover my eyes to ensure I didn’t peek.  Tim told me to open my eyes.  He had Charlotte and Alaina give me the smaller box.  I was instructed to unwrap it from the double tied black plastic bag. 

“Sorry Daddy, I didn’t have any gift wrap except Christmas paper.”

“Monk, no need to say sorry; this is wonderful.”  I pulled out a game package from the bag.

The Beatles Rock Band game for the Nintendo Wii; I flipped it over and read the liner notes on the back.  On the cover the Beatles trademark logo with the extended “T” and the Beatles running – a shot from their first movie A Hard Day’s Night. 

Tim came over with a double bagged box.  The girls helped me pull it from the bags.  It was a Fender Stratocaster replica game controller.

“I tried to find the Rickenbacker/John Lennon guitar and game, but everyone was sold out.”  Tim sat next to his sisters.  “Do you like it?”

“I love it Monk.  Thank you!”

“What about me and Charlotte, Daddy?”  Alaina huffed.

“Yes.  Thank you two also!”

Tim got up and ran to the kitchen.  He came in carrying a chocolate cake with only a few candles lit atop.

He and my daughters sung “Happy Birthday” and we ate chocolate cake.  Afterwards we played the game, listening to the music and seeing a history of the Beatles as they evolved.  We listened to how John Lennon’s songs…and Paul McCartney’s lyrics matured with the sounds they discovered and made into music.

It was one of my best birthdays.  Actually, it was the best because my son wanted it to be special and shared the limelight that was his with his sisters.  I will never have another birthday again that will come to mind such as my forty-fifth birthday.