I have no idea where we spent New Year’s Eve 2001 but I do know that we started off the year having a GREAT time.

Here is a picture of me and Bernice beginning our “Aldo’s Ritual”. My mother liked to say we were putting on our “War Paint”.

Us putting on our "War Paint".

My friend Karen came to visit from Florida around St. Patrick’s Day. We went to visit our friend Erin a town over. On the way home, my car totally started dying. I was able to get the car home but it fully died on my block. I had to park it on the wrong side of the street facing the opposite way. In the middle of the night, a freak snow storm blew in and created like waist high snow. My neighbors were like infuriated that my car was parked like that, even though it was dead and it was a snow storm and I couldn’t move it. Ugh.

During this time, my mother was part of the a Bagpipe Marching Band. In this picture, she’d just come back from marching in the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day parade, which had happened a couple weeks prior to the actual day. More than one bar and college party invited the Pipers in for a beer in exchange for a ditty. Below is the end result of my Mother’s good time, haha.

Karen, My Mom, Me, Bernice

On St. Patrick’s Day proper, a bunch of us decided to go into NYC and watch the Parade. Unfortunately we all imbibed so much “Irish Cheer” beforehand that by the time we got to the city, we were all dying to go to the bathroom. We went into the Manhattan Mall and it took us like an hour to all go. By the time we got downstairs, we saw the back of the parade. Ever resourceful, we went to an Irish Pub and had a beer. On the way home, while getting off the train, my friend Jen’s leg slipped between the PATH train car and the Platform. Someone thankfully grabbed her out of there before the train moved.

Us in NYC on St. Patrick's Day.

Around Easter was when we found out that Kristyn is highly allergic to any and all penicillin. She got a throat infection and was given amoxycillin to fight it off. WELL, the amoxy created a super weird reaction, causing her blood vessels to break all over her body. She was on steroids too which caused her to puff up. She was super swollen and looked like salami. It was nuts. She had a tiny voice (because her throat was so constriced) and huge, spooky, glassy eyes due to the Benedryl she was on. I kept calling her Mr. Burns after a Simpsons episode I’d seen recently where everyone in Springfield thinks an alien is in the woods and it just turns out to be Mr. Burns glowing with toxic waste. She acted just like toxic waste Mr. Burns. Here’s the video below:

That Easter, my mother told us we could have whatever we wanted so we asked her to make us Ham, Baked Ziti, Parmesan Chicken and Meatballs. And she did, haha. And “Salami Kristyn”, my other name for her, ate with us. Good times.

Kristyn vs. Penicillin.

We were kind of doing “Intense Holidays” around this time and decided to throw an impromptu Cinco de Mayo celebration. We made tacos, bought a pinata and for some reason bought grass skirts and a coconut bra.

Impromptu Cinco de Mayo party. Yes that is a GI Joe doll.

At a Fourth of July party at Nick’s house, I for some reason wanted Bernice to punch me as hard as she could. She was NOT down with this because she knew how strong she is and what a wimp I am. The conversation basically went like this:

Me: Punch me.
Bernice: I don’t want to punch you.
Me: Yes you do.
Bernice: You’re my friend, I really don’t want to punch you.
Me: Don’t make me insult you to get you to punch me.
Bernice: Oh it’s on.

Thinking I'm a badass.

Not as badass as I thought.

Not badass at all.

The year prior we’d gone to our first Poison concert on a whim. For no damn reason we went to another one and another one and another one. Warrant played this year and I was thrilled bc I’d been in love with Janie Lane when I was a kid, haha…

Us at a Poison concert.

My family used to own a bunch of trailers in a campground in Upstate New York (Woodbourne to be specific). Anyway, we had a ton of great times up there. The pictures below are all from different times we went.

Me and Amanda, for no reason at all, came up with a dance routine to “Runaway” by Bon Jovi. We performed it everywhere we went.

Me and Amanda doing our dance routine to Bon Jovi "Runaway".

My friend Mike said to me and Bernice, “Why don’t we all go swimming?!” It was like midnight and freezing cold. Drunk and silly, we changed into our bathing suits and ran into the water. We saw Mike sitting innocently on the shore.

Me and Bernice dancing in a 20 degree river in the middle of the night on a dare.

This river is like knee deep in most parts and like hip deep at the center. My parents had a little boat that we could paddle down the river on. On this same trip, a bunch of us got on the boat in pitch dark. Bats were swooping over our heads. As soon as we get to the deepest part (which, in one section is like 6 feet deep), we all decided to trade places. Idiots. On another trip, we all got in the boat and let the one person who had no idea how to paddle, paddle. The river moves relatively fast for a small river and there are HUGE boulders like a 100 feet ahead. You have to paddle past the rocks. Well we were all having a great time, not paying any attention in the slightest when suddenly we see the rocks getting closer and closer. The person with the paddles didn’t know what to do and started spinning us in circles. By the time the people who DID know how to use the paddles got them, it was too damn late. The boat hit the boulders, flipped completely over and ditched us all into the water (which is like six feet deep by the boulders). The paddles floated away and so did Kristyn. We grabbed her arm as if she was going out to see even though the height of the water is like ankle deep not fifty feet away (I know it’s a crazy river, haha). We had to grab the boat, grab each other, it was mayhem. Our friends on the shore panicked, one of the jumped in the water and waded all the way to us. The other one ran along the shore. I got up on the rock and due to the slipperiness of it fell immediately down into a split. It was so damn dramatic, hahaha. And we were all fine. Fin.

Me, Kristyn and Bernice on a boat. I've never looked so lovely.

This is me and Kristyn sitting on plastic chairs in the middle of the river. We really wanted to chill out there and drink beers but honestly the water is like 20 degrees in the dead of summer. It like hurts your BONES to be in it so sitting an inch above it was less fun than it sounded. We lasted a little while though, haha.

Me and Kristyn sitting on chairs in the middle of the Neversink River.

We brought Kristyn’s college friend Melissa Upstate once. We had the bomb time. But then we never saw her again. Haha. I wonder if we scared her off. Probably. She was great though.

Melissa, Kristyn, Me and Amanda at the Trout Hatchery.

Upstate New York can take anyone and turn them into a caveperson. Any polished city dweller gets up there and immediately begins forgoing showers, eating and drinking like it is their last meal and walking across rocks, sticks, fire, anything in their bare feet. It’s a great time. In this picture we are probably waking up and warily deciding what shit to get into for the rest of the day.

Us warily waking up from a night of debauchery probably.

Here is Kristyn celebrating after chopping some wood. Who’da thunk that Kristyn would be a world class wood chopper? Whenever we needed fire wood, we’d all take our chances at chopping the wood but it was only Kristyn who really did it right, haha. Awesome.

Kristyn was the wood chopping master!

And you’d think that a lifetime of camping would make me the world class chopper. Nope. I guess I just watched my Dad do it. Lordy knows he gave me enough lessons on how to do it right. I just never tried my hand really, haha.

You'd think I'd be the wood chopping master. But then you'd be wrong.

We went horseback riding at this place me and my family used to go to. There are a lot of Hasidic Jewish Summer Camps up there and we got paired with a gaggle of pubescent 12 year old Hasidic Jewish boys on our hour-long ride. They hit on us and asked us what we were doing later. Haha.

Me and Bernice on horses, not every day you will see that.

And of course, not all of 2001 was good times. That summer, I quite my job at the Sheraton because I hated it. I’d pretty much steadily had a job since sophmore year of high school and figured that there was no time like the present to have a little fun. Little did I know that immediately following I’d have to move out of my mother’s house. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to find a job. Little did I know that my car was going to totally once and for all die. And little did I know that on the morning of September 11th that the fricking World Trade Center was going to be attacked. Oh my god. Me and Kristyn were in class that morning at BCC in Paramus. Someone came in the classroom and told us that there’d been a plane crash. The class ended like a minute or two later and we got in the car. We were listening to Howard Stern, like ya do, and he mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We made a wrong turn and got on Route 80, which we normally never take. All of a sudden, I think it was Robin says that one of the towers fell. From Route 80, we saw the huge plume of smoke rising up. We drove home and could see the missing tower from King Street by Kristyn’s house. We went to her house and got there just in time to watch the second tower fall on tv. We were so freaked out. I mean Kearny, is like 6 miles from Manhattan, give or take. So to have a terrorist attack happen so close was SO ALARMING. You could smell the smoke and see a column of it in the skyline where the towers stood just that morning. So crazy. And the radios went out. All the local stations’ reception towers had been on top of the Twin Towers because that was the highest point. All of the stations were like just on the scene reporters. It was like it was the end of the world. They stopped all flights out of local airports. There was an eerie silence. Newark airport is two towns over so we’re used to hearing planes go overhead all day long. For there to be silence was really scary. And I remember watching the sky, terrified I’d see something. Over night, fighter jets started flying above us. The sound was crazy especially because it was so quiet. And I remember the news was just reporting everything and anything. There was no real way to validate any reports because there was such mayhem. And they kept showing that plane hitting the towers over and over and over and over again. I was jobless so I sat at home and just watched coverage constantly. I was living at my Aunt Heather’s at the time and I remember sitting up in the middle of the night one night in my room watching the news as they were working to rescue someone. They had heard a voice calling to them over and over. It was a tense newscast and for hours they kept coming back to the scene. Someone was buried beneath the rubble and workers were trying to get to them. Turns out it was a hoax. The whole damn thing. I mean tons of shit like this happened but I mean the news was just reporting anything because how could you possibly know what was right and what was wrong? It was so damn scary. Anyway, not long after the attacks for some reason we went into Manhattan, haha. I don’t know what the rush was but here is what the subways stations looked like after 9/11 (and still sometimes do).

This is the PATH/Subway station at 34st Street in NYC right after 9/11.

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