Sunday, December 13, 2009

Catherine Patricia Salter and Her Memorial

August 24, 1964 – September 11, 2001

Story by Charles Franklin, supplemented by Bud Salter

I'd like to make myself believe That Planet Earth turns slowly.It's hard to say I'd rather stay Awake when I'm asleep,'Cause everything is never as it seems.

CHARLIE: Everyday driving home from work, I hear the words to this song about fireflies. Who would have thought that someone would actually make a song about some lightening bugs? But somebody did, and alot of people like it. But it's these words to the song that I hear the most, because everything is never as it seems. Or is it?Why do we tend to believe that we can live forever? Why don't we recognize death as it is? In life, we take things for granted with a thought that we will never leave this place. Our loved ones, we see them as invincible, nothing can bring them down. It is like we hold high regard to their life. But once they are gone, it is hard for us to let go. But we have to because life goes on. We must move forward. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to disregard death as something we should sweep under the rug. In death, it is ok for us to hold on to our memories of our loved ones. But what happens if it is something so tragic that we can't make ourselves believe that it actually happened? That is something that we can not accept or forget about. Whether it be a young child, or someone famous that we have followed through out that person's career. We don't want to believe it. But it happened. September 11, 2001. The day started out beautiful and promising for people across the nation. The sun was out, people were either at work, or on their way, children were being dropped off at schools, just a typical day for people. Myself? I was at work, doing what I always do. I was interrupted from my job by my friend and he told me something that I just did not believe. He told me that New York was under attack. My first thought was 'No, can't be.' Then I just dismissed it. But walking out on the floor, I heard all the chatter about this attack. And I still couldn't believe it. When my shift was over, and I turned my car on, the radio came on like it always does, and I was waiting for my music, but it never came. During the 30-minute drive back to my house, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Not one time did I hear music, or commercials. New York was indeed under attack! It was only when I got home that I realized what had transpired during the day. Not only did 2 planes hit The World Trade Center, but Tower 1 and Tower 2 collapsed. I couldn't believe the horror that I saw, and that was just the replay. My wife told me that she had witnessed the second plane hitting Tower 2, just as the network came back from commercial. It happened that fast. My whole day was basically attached to the television from the time I got home. The next day, didn't get any better. The topic of the day at work and around my neighborhood was about the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC. All those people, gone. And for what? No one knew why. After all the thinking I had done, I still don't know why. I was thinking to myself that night before I went to bed, 'I'm so glad there was no one I knew that died that day.' And it was to my horror that next morning when I discovered that my thinking was wrong. I picked up the paper like I usually do at the gas station, and that was when I realized I did know someone that died on September 11, 2001. It was a girl from Wellsville, Ohio. Her name is Cathy Salter.BUD: When Charlie first approached me about being part of his BLOG entitled “P.O.W. – People of Wellsville”, I knew he would ask me to write something about my sister Cathy. It seemed logical that the oldest of the six kids would be able to find the right words and produce a story that would do her justice. Try as I might, however, the words just would not come. The pitfall when you attempt to write a story like this is that it can easily turn into being too much about your feelings and your experience that you lose perspective of the person you are trying to write about. When I read Charlie’s first draft of the story, I saw a lot of him in it of course, but what struck me was the genuine way in which he expressed how Cathy had touched his life. It was then that the proverbial “light bulb” went on in my brain and I realized that by describing your memories and personal interactions with Cathy, you are also telling her story.
CHARLIE: Doing this story is hard. I really do not know what to put down. After all these years, I really didn't know Cathy all that well, just from school and sporting events. But I did know her. I tried to get my friend, her brother Bud, to do this story. I shouldn't have asked him, because I knew it would be hard for him to do this. He tried, but he just couldn't find the right words. I understand that. I figured that since he was the oldest child of the family, he would know what to say and what to put down. All the little things, all the big things about Cathy. But he just couldn't find the words. So I said 'No problem, I will try to do my best to preserve her memory.' So here I go.For those of you who did not know Cathy, you missed out on knowing a really nice and pleasant person. From what I remember of Cathy walking around the halls of Wellsville High School, she always had a smile on her face. She was smart, athletic, and in my opinion, extremely talented. I can remember Cathy running track, her specialty was the 400-meter sprint. I would call her, and her sister Cyndi, The Salter Twins. If anyone remembers the cartoon 'Super Friends', they were 2 alien beings on that show, called The Wonder Twins, and they would put their fists together and say "Wonder Twin powers activate!' The male alien would take the shape of mammals, and the female would take the shape of liquids. So for Cyndi and Cathy, I would say "Salter Twins, powers activate!” Cyndi would take the form of a hurdler, because she was and Cathy would take the form of a sprinter, because she was. They got a kick out of that. Both said I watched too many cartoons. Then in the early part of the summer 2001 I saw Cyndi and Lynda walking their children down Main Street. Cyndi could hear my voice from a block away and right away she knew it was me. She later reminded me of what I used to call her and Cathy. Wow, after all these years, she remembered that. That was when it hit me that Cathy was gone.

BUD: Cathy was born August 24, 1964 to Eleanor Salter and the late Henry Salter of Wellsville, Ohio. She was the 4th child of six, and the birth order produced a natural pairing of buddies: Bud & Tim, Cyndi & Cathy, and Lynda and Mary. She was 4 years younger than me, which meant she had the bad luck of graduating from high school the same year I was graduating from college. She didn’t miss a beat, though, graduating co-valedictorian of her class and heading to the University of Cincinnati where she graduated in 1986. She started work as a paralegal and then moved on to Aon insurance, happily calling Cincinnati her home. She loved the Cincinnati Reds and went to many games in the summers.

In April 2000 our dad died, which took an unexpected toll on the family. While dad was battling cancer, Cathy had to decide whether to take a promotion to Chicago or New York. She chose New York and set up her home in a garden apartment on Bergen Street in Brooklyn. She started following the Yankees, but ONLY because former Red’s outfielder Paul O’Neil was playing for them…
Cathy called me from her office in the World Trade Center Tower Two in August 2001. The conversation started off very business-like, since the purpose of the call was to remind me to sign some papers regarding my dad’s estate. There was disagreement among the siblings regarding the settling of the estate, which caused a lot of hard feelings. As we spoke, though, the conversation warmed up and, Cathy (being the eternal optimist) said that this too will pass!

We even cracked a few jokes and the nightmare of our dad dying was put out of our minds for a few moments. She then said that "time heals all wounds". To that I replied, "No, love heals all wounds". We had some more small talk and then she hung up. That was the last time I spoke with her.

Like Charlie said, September 11 2001 started out just like any other day and ended up a nightmare. When we received confirmation that Cathy was in Tower 2 when the plane hit, it was very hard to deal with. Accounts of that day are on the Facebook Page “Remembering Cathy Salter”, so they are not repeated here. The next matter to attend to was a funeral/memorial mass for Cathy at the Immaculate Conception church in Wellsville, Ohio. The date was October 11, exactly one month after the attacks on the WTC.

CHARLIE: My wife, then my girlfriend, was admitted to the hospital on October 10th. On the 11th there was gonna be a memorial service for Cathy at the Immaculate Conception Church. I really wanted to be there but I was about to become a father, again. And I really wanted to be at the service as well. So after my youngest and last child was born I went to the Salter House on Riverside. I was there for about 10 minutes before I had to leave and get my two other kids fed and to go back to the hospital to see my girlfriend (wife ) and new daughter. But my thoughts were not far from Cathy. I can tell you this Cathy's death has left a huge void in the lives of the Salters. If she had died in a car accident, or was sick, then I can imagine that they would have dealt with it better than they have been. But Cathy died not knowing why she died. But we all do know one thing, Cathy was a hero. She just evacuated her staff and was getting ready to leave but didn't get that chance to do so. So every year on 9/11 family members make the trek to Ground Zero to honor their daughter, sister, friend. The names of all the victims from both towers are read and Bud and his Mom have had the honor of reading Cathy's name. Earlier this year Bud created a site on Facebook called “Remembering Cathy Salter” that so far has over 270 members. I am also a part of this site and I try to help Bud with the administrative maintenance of the site. Alot of Cathy's friends are members and membership still continues to grow. People just don't want to forget. And forgotten she isn't.
BUD: In the fall of 2009 I heard from Charlie that the village of Wellsville was planning a memorial for Cathy, so I relied on Charlie to keep me posted on the progress.CHARLIE: While looking over my Facebook account I had received a email from Wellsville councilman Tony Cataldo. He wanted me to contact Bud to tell tell him of what the village was planning on doing in honor of Cathy. Tony explained to me that the Eagles Lodge was donating some money to the village and could do what they wanted to with it. Tony had the idea to erect a memorial in honor of Cathy so he went to village administrator Jim Saracco with his idea. The next steps progressed fairly quickly: deciding on a location, getting material, measurements and labor for this project. The next step was setting a date for this memorial dedication, which originally was set in November but somehow was delayed. I was either told to go to city hall or decided to go on my own, not exactly sure which one it was, to see what the memorial looked like. Tony was there along with Jim Saracco. Tony showed me the plans, measurements and what it was going to look like. The stone itself was going to be black granite, surrounded by white stones. I was impressed. My first thought was that the Salters would be too. So I took some pictures of everything they showed me, went back home and emailed Bud with the information I was given. He later contacted me and told me that he liked the idea, ran it past his mom and she too liked it as well. All she wanted to know was when the ceremony was going to take place. Well then, my job was done. Not quite! See, I was somehow recruited to be a contact for the village. Tony told me that since I was on Facebook alot and knew my way around the computer he was going to use me. I don't mind being used, but wow, I didn't even get paid for my services (just kidding). Richardsons Monuments was going to take care of the chosen stone for the occasion.
BUD: I have since learned that the monument was designed by Bob Berg of Richardson’s Monuments. I first met him when we were working out the details for my dad’s cemetary monument, and then he matched dad’s design for Cathy’s cemetary monument . I am personally pleased that Bob was involved in this new monument, and I thank him for his tasteful design.

CHARLIE: Time had passed and I didn't really hear to much about the project. One day I received an email from Bud asking me if I had heard anything else about the memorial. The next day I went back up to city hall and Tony told me was thinking about contacting me that day to let me know what was going on and they were in the process of calling Mrs. Salter and a few of the Salter children about what was happening with project. But it was soon approaching the end of November and to my knowledge no date was set. Now since I was somehow involved I wanted to be there for this occasion. Will it be on a Friday or Saturday? If it was on a Friday will I have that day off or will I have to work? Well I got my answer. It was going to be held on Friday December 11, 2009 at 1pm. And I soon got my answer about work as well. I had to work that day. How was I going to get information about what was going on that day? I had to rely on my good friend Sue Haugh. I had asked her to not write down everything that she saw but express to me what she saw, how she felt and what others there were doing and their expressions throughout the ceremony. I threw this all on her the day before. I know she wanted to kill me but somehow I knew she would do it. I also was going to ask a few of the village leaders how they felt and what they thought of the occasion. Earlier this week Tony wanted me to take some pictures of the memorial to send to the family so they would know what it looked like. Jim Saracco met me up there and my son went with me to help uncover and cover the monument back up. I was so honored to be one of the few people who actually got to see what it looked like before anyone else. I took the pictures and helped cover it back up. Had the photos downloaded, and sent them to Bud and I think he sent them to his mom as well. Then a few days later Wonder Twin Cyndi emailed me and asked me to send her the photos as well and I did. For the next few days I had had nothing else on my mind but this story I was going to come up with and three noisy kids I so wanted to tase, I had to settle for grounding them!

BUD: I received the photo from Charlie and was really impressed. He asked me not to post or share the photo until the dedication, so I did not. The photo was embedded in the Facebook email anyway, which meant I couldn’t forward it or post it, even if I had wanted to. I thought this was Charlie’s way of keeping the secret, but it turns out that he did not do this intentionally and fully expected me to be posting the photo on Cathy’s Facebook page!
CHARLIE: December 11 came and I was at work, looking at the clock. I knew I was going to see anyone there after I was done at 2:30pm so I didn't even rush to make the seven mile trip down Rt. 39. I walked in the house and went straight to the computer and logged on to Facebook to see if Bud had posted the picture I had sent him earlier in the week. He hadn't, but now I know why! Did Sue Haugh do what I asked her to do? I knew she would come thru -- not only did she 'type' out what she saw but she made me a disk of the photos she took. She is such a gem. She also gave me an itinerary of events for the ceremony. The ceremony started off with the raising of the new flag for the new flagpole that was purchased with the money donated to the village from the Eagles. The flag was raised by the V.F.W. Post #5647 of Wellsville. Master of Ceremony of the event was our Honorable Mayor Joseph P. Surace. High school ensemble Ebony and Ivory sang the National Anthem and the Pledge Of Allegiance was led by Village Administartor Jim Saracco. Speakers for the event were County Commissioner, a Wellsville graduate, State Representative Linda Bolon and State Senator Jason Wilson, the Honorable Melissa Byers Emmerling, another Wellsville graduate. Also speaking was Eleanor Salter, mother of Cathy Salter. Attending also for the family was Cyndi Salter, now living in Pittsburgh. Eleanor spoke on behave of the family expressing their gratitude, also regret for not being able to attend for they had other responsibilities keeping them from being there. Susan said as Mrs. Salter spoke she could tell that she was full of emotion and as she spoke of Cathy, tears filled the eyes of the many who attended. "We felt her pain, sorrow, and her loss", Sue said. "It was with that thought and feeling that many left the ceremony and will hold them close for the rest of our own lives. Although the mood was somber, a sense of pride filled the air. We are proud to have had Cathy with us during her younger years, proud of her successes during her short life as she moved on and we take pride in knowing that Wellsville will not let one of out own be forgotten. Forever in our hearts, you will not be forgotten, Cathy." Ebony and Ivory sang again, "God Bless America." Then came time for the unveiling, which was going to be conducted by Police and Fire Chiefs Joseph M. Scarabino and William D. Smith. When the monument was finally uncovered, the citizens who did attend the event were moved. They seemed very pleased with what they saw. The monument was made of black granite which was beautifully made, and with the words inscribed, "WE WILL NEVER FORGET-IN LOVING MEMORY of CATHY SALTER." It now rests along the side of the Boy and the Leaking Boot on Wells Avenue.There were many comments about the ceremony and monument itself. But I have no idea what they thought -- I can only imagine what they were thinking. The finished work was impressive. But what is more impressive is what it look like at night, illuminated with the lights that were installed with the the donated money. City workers put in the time to work around that area, did some painting, dug up the grass at the site and got it all ready. Once it was all finished it was worth the effort. Mayor Surace said about 50 to 75 people attended, including area newspaper's and a tv crew from WFMJ 21 out of Youngstown, Ohio. He also said that it was well accepted by the citizens of Wellsville and as far as he knew, all were pleased with the idea. Tony Cataldo said it was great and there could be future events planned there. Jim Saracco said it was tremendous and moving and was told that the monument itself was befitting for such a person as Cathy and for her family. And all the comments he heard were appropriate and beautiful.The day itself couldn't have been better. After a whole week of rain, some snow and hard blowing winds that almost knocked down my fence, the sun came out on Friday morning. By afternoon people began to realize that the day was going to be great and was happy the sun was out. But it wasn't the sun. It was Cathy, smiling down on everyone who was there. It was her smile that made the day possible and I think everyone knew it too. Sometimes we just can't explain why things happen. It just does. Did we really want this to happen? No. We all would rather have her with us. I guess you can say that about anyone that we lose. But things happen for a reason. Maybe this was just her time, but not like this. We just can't accept how this happened, but as always we trust that God can make good from evil. For all of those who died on that tragic day in New York, Washington, D.C. and in Shanksville, Pa., God had his hand on all of them. So, we do not mourn the loss of Cathy Salter, we celebrate her life. And on December 11, 2009, the village of Wellsville, Ohio celebrated her life in fine fashion. WE WILL NEVER FORGET.
Notice of Thanks: Before I forget I would like to thank my wife Helen for helping me type this out because she is better at it than I, Bob Marcin and the Eagles organization for their input and participation, Tony Cataldo, Mayor Surace and Jim Saracco for allowing me the time to talk to them about this project, the village workers and everyone else involved. Without them the Cathy Salter Memorial wouldn't have happened. And last but not least Henry 'BUD' Salter for actually making this story better that I could have done.

1 comment:

dtice said...

After reading this story i have come to remember why i try to live my days to their fullest and tell my family how much i love them everyday.I wish peace and happiness to the Salter family and all families who were affected by this tragic and cowardly act.Peace and happiness to all during this holiday season..thanks charlie and bud well done...