Posted by Greg Post on Wed, 11 Sep 2002 10:36:29
I have gone back and forth about sending this email to you, talking about Ann... in some ways, I suppose I feel I don't have much right to my connection with Ann's story - a fleeting association that almost feels like two cars sharing the same bit of highway for a few miles... then turning down different off-ramps and never seeing each other again. But the thought has stayed with me, and today of all days, it feels appropriate to share my thoughts with you, the people who knew and loved Ann best. It's not really meant for the message boards - I'm too longwinded, I'm afraid. But if nothing else, I want you to know that another someone "out there," in my own way, remembers Ann and knows the world is a little less bright without her here.
Exactly one year ago, I was anxiously trying to get out of downtown Chicago, praying for the anonymous people in NY and the World Trade Center, not knowing if anyone I knew had been directly affected by the events of that day... it wasn't until some time later that I learned from my brother that Ann was a victim of the tragedy, and that knowledge connected me with 9/11 in ways that continue to surprise me today.
Ann and I met at Wayland Academy - we were both in the class of 1989, both starting Wayland as juniors in the fall of 1987.We came to Beaver Dam for very different reasons: Ann was there to broaden her education and strengthen her opportunities for the future,I was there to escape decisions I had made, and hopefully to find a shot at a future.
Ann is the first student I remember meeting, at the orientation program for new students. At the time, I was very uncomfortable being at Wayland - I had long hair, and I much preferred wearing an Ozzy Osbourne t-shirt (much less vogue then than it is now!!) to a shirt and tie. I was lost, and nervous, and I couldn't imagine "fitting in" with the group of people I was going to meet.
On the surface, Ann was everything I expected of a Wayland student: beautiful, intelligent, motivated and outgoing... a nightmare confirming everything I had built up in my mind. I could have thrown in the towel right there and run the 160 milesback home. Then, she talked to me, and she was genuine and friendly to me, and a whole new world of possibility opened before my eyes. If someone like Ann could accept me for who I was, then maybe Wayland wouldn't be so unbearable after all. I remember enjoying the orientation days a lot after that.
Ann & I shared a few classes together (most notably Mr. Baxter's Western Civ. AP class, where she really shined), and knew each other as you can't help but know each other in a graduating class of 80 students, but we weren't ever what I would consider "friends." She never stopped being genuine and friendly to me over our two years at Wayland. She was someone I admired and respected from a short distance, one of those people that you KNEW were going to make a mark on the world. From what I have learned, she did exactly that in the short time she was here.
Even before the events of last year, I have often thought about that first experience at Wayland, and how my time there changed the path of my life. It was people like Ann who, through no overt act or specific intent, changed the "off-ramp" I chose in life for the better. I'm thankful for that. The gifts I received from my time knowing Ann are exceedingly valuable: Be kind. Don't judge. Strive to be more than you are today, and you can make the world a better place.
I remember Ann today, as I often do, and I pray that she is at peace.