A Newsletter By,
About, and For Graduates
of William Allen High School's Class of 1983
Issue 12 - December
On September 11, 2001, the day
terrorists crashed airplanes in New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, my wife
was sick. Instead of going into the office, I planned to spend the morning at home, taking
care of our two-year-old son. Earlier that year, the three of us had moved from Brooklyn
to a house in New Jersey with a short (by New York City standards) one-hour commute to my
office in the World Trade Center.
I heard the news only a few minutes after
the first plane crashed. From the start, as my assessment of what happened evolved, my
thoughts bounced back and forth between anguish and empathy, on the one hand, to
complacency and selfishness, on the other hand.
Anguish and empathy: "I feel sorry for
whoever died flying that small plane."
Complacency and selfishness: "Im
glad it wasn't me."
Anguish and empathy: "It was a jet!
Hundreds in the building and the plane must have experienced terror in their final
Complacency and selfishness: "The
plane probably hit too high to hurt anyone in my firm."
Anguish and empathy: "The towers fell!
Some of my colleagues must be among the tens of thousands who must be dead! Is this
another Pompeii? Pearl Harbor? Will there be a military -- even nuclear -- attack? I
recall hearing over network television a mix of true events, all of which are now etched
in history, and soon-to-be-forgotten rumors that the Mall in Washington was on fire, that
an explosion had rocked the Capitol, that four or five more planes were in the air, and
that Air Force One was "a target".
Complacency and selfishness: "Do I
still have a job?"
Anguish and empathy: I went to a nearby
hospital to give blood, but it was not accepting donations.
Complacency and selfishness: Envying
survivalists I had often mocked, I gassed up the minivan and bought candles and drinking
And so on.
Out of the five or six hundred people who
worked out of my firms World Trade Center office, the terrorists succeeded in
killing one. I didnt know her.
As I look back on that day nearly four
months later, I find the events less distressing, but more profound. And, I continue to
bounce between the two emotional poles. Anguish and empathy: I frequently read the
newspaper's short biographies of those who died, and sadness permeates me. Complacency and
selfishness: When my firm considers a new permanent site for its offices, I hope it is a
building overlooking the burial ground that is ground zero, because it would mean a
In these unusual, but not unprecedented
times, we often hear about the collective mourning and the collective consciousness of New
York City and of the Nation. But, I cant help noticing how uneven the effects of the
calamity are. Among my closest colleagues, none of whom lost a loved one, the terrorists
caused an astonishingly wide range of effects. For many like me, the lasting effects of
the events seem to be little more than a touch of survivor syndrome. (This article is no
doubt evidence of that symptomatology.) I would include in this category the colleague who
sits across the hall from me in our new temporary offices. He escaped to a safe distance
from the towers, then saw the bodies and body parts fly. He recently accompanied his
neighbor to view a piece of her husband. And despite it all, he is genuinely talkative
about his and others' experiences -- even chipper at times.
The person next to him had a toddler and an
infant in the day care center that was in Five World Trade Center. She ultimately reunited
with her children, who were physically unharmed. But, she had no word on the whereabouts
of the toddler until well into the night of the 11th.
Another person with whom I work lived in
Battery Park City, yards from ground zero. In the weeks after the attacks, she was a
bundle of nerves -- a textbook case of post-traumatic stress syndrome. She had evacuated
the tower without her purse and, for several days, could not return to her apartment to
retrieve her dog. She did visit the apartment briefly to retrieve him, unharmed, but had
no key (it was in the rubble with the purse). She had to break the door down. By the time
the authorities let her make her second visit to the apartment, over a month or so later,
thieves had walked into the doorless apartment and stolen her computer. They hadnt
bothered to take the milk and eggs she had stocked up on shortly before September 11.
John Ashbrook practices law
at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. On September 11, 2001, their office in the World
Trade Center Tower 1 was destroyed. By September 16, the New York Times reported on their
recovery in an article entitled "Up From The Ashes".
Note from the editor of The Connector
(Annette Blanar): I wanted to include an article about 9/11 in this issue of The
Connector. So far, it is probably the biggest tragedy in our lifetimes. Hopefully, we
never will never have to experience something so horrible again. I asked John if he would
be willing to write an article. To me, he was the perfect person for the "job".
He was the first person I worried about when I heard the news. Here's my story:
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I
was in my home office working. While I usually listen to the radio while working, that day
I didn't turn the radio on; I just got to work. At about 10:00 a.m., I received a phone
call from my husband (who was at work) who asked if I was OK. Puzzled, I responded that of
course I was OK, why wouldn't I be? He replied, "You don't know, do you?" and
proceeded to tell me that two planes crashed in New York and that he couldn't find any
more information because the news web sites were all overburdened.
I went to our living room and turned on
the TV. I relayed what I could learn from the news to my husband. It was hard to figure
out exactly what happened; there was conflicting information. I believe I was still on the
phone with my husband when I heard about the crash in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. That
plane's flight path between Pittsburgh and Somerset was pretty close to our house (it may
even have flown over ). I live in Westmoreland County (the county that took the 911 calls
from Flight 93), 50 miles from the crash site.
Shortly after hanging up with my
husband, within about one-half hour's time, I received calls from my neighbor, brother,
mother, and mother-in-law. They wanted to make sure we were OK. Later that day, I even
received a call from one of my clients in California.
This is where John comes. Later that
evening when my emotions and adrenaline settled down, my thoughts shifted to wondering if
anyone I knew could have been a victim of the tragedy. John was the first one that came to
my mind. I knew he worked in NYC, but didn't know where. I pulled up The Connector web
site and found his latest autobiography update; I now had the name of his firm. I then
searched the Internet to find out where his firm was located and found World Trade Center.
My heart dropped into my stomach. I e-mailed him looking to find out if he was all right.
Fortunately, he was.
To all those who were not so lucky and
to their families and friends, The Connector sends out its sympathies. We have lost many
fine people in all of this, and many people will carry emotional burdens they don't
deserve. We are a strong nation, made maybe even stronger from the this tragic event. Let
us all bond together as friends, not strangers, and move collectively to bring peace to
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For a little more than 2 years now, Ive been whitewater kayaking as
a source of escape from the doldrums of sitting at a desk and working on a computer. Our
rivers offer one of natures greatest playgrounds, and the sport is great fun and
exercise. While it is the greatest sport Ive ever experienced, one must never loose
respect for the tremendous power and potential danger of a raging river.
This year afforded me two opportunities to
travel to New Zealand (the whitewater capital of the world), thanks to work-related
activities in Australia. Needless to say, I had two wonderful experiences that generated
memories Ill cherish forever. For those who have the opportunity, I highly recommend
visiting this beautiful country. The weather is similar to San Diegos, and the
landscape is riddled with waterfalls, hot springs, caves, volcanoes, and mountains. For
those of you that have seen Lord of the Rings or Vertical, youve seen some of this
south island's landscape. It is an unspoiled and amazing country and, with our current
exchange rate of $0.45US=$1.00NZ, its a bargain vacation. New Zealand caters to
adrenaline junkies. The tourist industry revolves around whitewater kayaking, rafting,
jet-boating, bungie jumping, rock climbing, caving, sky diving, mountain climbing, and
many other extreme activities. If you love those activities, youve got to go! If you
want information on a NZ vacation, e-mail
me, and Ill try to help.
My first trip was in February 2001. I share
with you my adventure.
Day 1: Rangitaiki River
The day started with Andy picking me up at
the Rainbow Lodge. He greeted me like a long lost high school friend and took me to his
house to get the gear for the trip. After a cup of tea and a few minutes gathering all the
necessities, we were off to the river. He told me what to expect on the trip, and while I
was the only "customer", we would be joined by four of his friends. We proceeded
to pick up three of them and met the fourth at the river. Again, I was surprised by the
manner in which his friends interacted with me. We were all like the best of friends after
just minutes. The drive to the put-in was about 2 hours, but the time flew. We exchanged
stories of past kayaking adventures, talked about my previous week in Melbourne, life in
the States, etc.
When we got to the river, two of us stayed
there, while the others ran shuttle. In no time, we were in our boats and ready to tackle
the entrance staircase. It was a solid grade 3 with multiple rocks to dodge above the
third and fourth ledges. Andy demonstrated the best line, and I followed (though not as
cleanly). After pinballing off the last two rocks, I (accidentally) performed a beautiful
splat on the canyon wall immediately after the last drop. Everybody cheered, even knowing
that it wasnt on purpose. Andy reassured me that those accidental, but spectacular
moves, should be cherished and used as confidence builders and incentives for being able
to one day perform it at will.
With the first drop finished, we were off
to the second -- the 7 meter falls with a glancing kiss off a ledge half way down. Andy
assured me that a competent class 3 paddler could handle it, so I trusted him.
Nevertheless, we got out and scouted. The other four went first, and I videotaped them.
Then, it was Andys turn. He went over the drop doing a rail grab. I gave him my
video camera and got in my boat. The layout of the approach to the falls was perfect. A
20-meter long channel with just enough curves to obscure the view of the drop and just
wide enough for a kayak to go through, lest one has any thoughts of turning back. I
didnt hesitate and went right into the channel and off the drop. The kiss was a
little harder than expected, but the landing was perfect, and the video even better. We
were 6 for 6. All clean runs without a single roll. After that, I was ready for anything.
The rest of the run was grade 2 to 3-, but the scenery was spectacular. After an hour on
the last play wave, we called it a day.
Before the trip, I figured, with all the
extra challenges (strange river, strange boat, unfamiliar paddling partner), I should
stick to a level of difficulty that I knew I could handle, but the scenery should be
great. Andy delivered exactly what I wanted.
Day 2: Mohaka River
Once again, the day started with Andy
picking me up at the Rainbow Lodge. This time, he was all packed and ready to roll. Today,
it would be just Andy and me, with his girlfriend running shuttle. The drive to the put-in
was about 2 hours, and we picked up where we left off with stories of good times, home
This river was different from the other. It
starts as grade 2 and gets harder as you go further down the river. The first hour was
filled with amazing views and easy grade 2 wave trains. The first significant drop was a
four foot sluice with a strong cross current at the bottom that drives toward a large and
slightly undercut rock. Andy ran it perfectly, of course, and I followed his line.
Unfortunately, I underestimated the cross current and landed with a brace (when I needed a
sweep). The current spun my boat and squirted me at the rock, resulting in my second
(accidental) beautiful splat, at least until I went over and was wedged under the rock. I
took a few seconds to get my bearings and did an underwater sweep to try to get around the
rock (the current wasnt very strong there), but the rock prevented me from rolling.
Just as I cleared the rock and began my roll, Andy grabbed my boat and helped me upright
it. He wanted to "make sure" there wouldn't be any problems. We discussed my run
and the deceptive currents and moved on to the next run.
After a few grade 2 to 3- runs, we entered
a magnificent canyon. There were spots where water spouted from the canyon walls into deep
blue pools. It was the most fantastic place I ever paddled.
Finally, we got to the toughest run of the
day, the Tahowi drop. The run starts river left and works right, going over a couple of 3-
drops and catching a couple of eddies to avoid a hydraulic similar to little falls at
2.9. Finally, you get to a river-wide, 3-foot ledge that needs to be run on river
left. I ran it perfectly (well, maybe not perfectly), throwing a combat roll in for good
So ended the second perfect day. Once
again, Andy delivered exactly what I wanted.
Day 3: Tandem Sky Dive and Full
The third day was the height of adrenaline
rushes. It began with a 12,000 foot tandem sky dive with TTS (Taupo Tandem Skydiving). I
jumped with 2 girls from Singapore. I was the second jumper. The ride to 12,000 feet was
nerve racking. The airplane seemed to pant as we crept to jump altitude. All the way, we
were packed in the back like sardines: the three of us, three jump masters, and two jump
photographers. Just before the jump, I sat on my jumpmasters lap, and he locked our
harnesses together, then cinched them tight. The door opened, and the rush of the air
added additional tension. The first girl approached the door in a smiling panic. She tried
to feign thrill, but the nervousness was obvious. She and her instructor climbed to the
edge, turned for a photo, arched backwards, and went out. Then, it was my turn. We wasted
no time as we hurried in a crab-crawl to the door. The photographer sat in the doorway,
and we positioned ourselves next to him. I, too, turned and faked a thrilled smile as best
I could. They took the exit photo, and I proceeded to tip my head back and right as
instructed. I grabbed my harness and thought, "theres no turning back
even if I wanted to turn back." I closed my eyes and screamed "OH
S#*&" as we fell downward. The first couple hundred feet felt like a big drop on
a rollercoaster. After that, the acceleration ended and fall was spectacular. Patrick, my
jumpmaster, added a few spins for excitement, and then stabilized our position. I
couldnt get over the view of Lake Taupo and the surrounding mountains. After about
15 seconds, the camera man shot into position just out of arms reach to take some close-up
pictures. When we hit the 45 second mark, Patrick tapped my helmet to let me know that he
was going to open the chute. I braced as the parachute opened and the harness dug into my
thighs. There was a tremendous sense of relief in knowing that we were going to land
safely. Patrick guided us down the last 5,000 feet skillfully, adding pauses, drops, and
spins. Finally, we landed in the center of the designated pit. I was the only one of the
three of us to take a knee on landing, which resulting in some verbal abuse from the other
skydivers that were videotaping from the ground. Fortunately, they put a soundtrack over
those comments in my version of the video.
My jump was finished by noon, so I decided
to run off to Full James to check out Andy, Garreth, and Takeshi paddling the now famous
wave that hosted the 2000 Rodeo Championships. They were all tearing it up on the wave,
throwing cartwheels and linking spins before washing off the back. Takeshi ended up
swimming on one after exhausting himself on the wave and getting caught in the boiling
eddies downstream. Andy asked me if I wanted to take a shot at it. It was clearly out of
my class, but it was the Full James, so I had to try. I climbed in the RPM and paddled
around the eddy until Andy was ready. He led the way across the 10-foot wide, surging eddy
line and effortlessly ferried across the current and the equally challenging eddy line on
river left. I paused for a moment then darted out on the same line, but with different
results. I was immediately rejected by the daunting current and sent back onto the surging
eddy line. I regrouped and tried again with the same result. On my third try, I was sure I
would make it. I crossed the eddy line and was spun again, but this time hit a hard left
rudder to regain my angle long enough to get into the thick of the wave train. Then, I
turned downstream and angled my way through waves and into the river left eddy where I
breathed a momentary sigh of relief. Andy congratulated me and proceeded to show me how to
get into the upper eddy. Timing was critical, since there was a rock that blocked the path
when the surges receded. I followed his lead, but got beached on the rock. I waited for
the next surge and paddled freely into the staging eddy. The eddy pulses and drives you
into the rocks as you try to set an exit line. I hit a momentary angle and shot across the
eddy, hitting a left rudder to keep from being rejected. To my amazement, I glided right
onto the V of the wave pile and raced down the face. A couple of times, the wave tips me,
but I braced and recovered. Finally, I got rejected, tipped, and rolled back up
immediately. That wasnt so bad, I thought
.then, I hit that 10-foot wide eddy
line with no lateral speed and got dumped a second time. Three roll attempts later, I took
my first New Zealand swim. No shame in it for me, though. I just surfed the Full James.
Not bad for a 1-year paddler. I regrouped and got back in my boat for another go. My next
three attempts were not as graceful. I was rejected all three times, so I packed up and
counted myself lucky to get one good surf.
For Part 2 of Paul's adventures in New
Zealand that make your adrenaline rush just reading them , tune into the June 2002 issue
of The Connector.
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The reunion committee had a good
turnout (9 people) at their August 2001 planning meeting and came up with some good ideas.
All of this is tentative -- nothing has been finalized.
The committee is looking into the
possibility of having a Casino Night at Fullerton Fire Co. (the same place as last time).
The date of the reunion will be November 29, 2003. The gambling portion of the night will
last 3 hours, and there will probably be some sort of buffet.
The company they are looking at to take
care of the Casino Night portion of the event is Entertainment Connection. If anyone is
aware of another company that provides this type of service, the committee would certainly
The committee has a list of e-mail
addresses for 20 or so classmates. They will be update them via e-mail as they make
decisions or need input. If there is anyone else who would like to be included on this
list, complete the contact information form on this site.
The committee welcomes any opinions related
to their current ideas for reunion #20 or suggestions resulting from prior reunions.
Diane Mapstone Cook
has been married since 1993 to Mike Cook. They have two children, Michael who's 7 and in
first grade, and Danielle who's 3 and wants to know what everything is (Note to Wayne Barz
from Diane: the only thing worse than "Why?" is "What's that?"). They
have a cat named Magellan, named after the explorer of course. Diane is teaching science
at a private school in Wilson, NC, to fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students. Diane and
Mike don't get up to Allentown much anymore, but the weather seems to get there (20 inches
of snow in January 2001). Since graduation, Diane has received her B.S. from Penn State
and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. She decided to
go into teaching because she really likes working with people much more than working with
Kathy Korpics - This past
year was a very challenging one for her! She changed jobs after 15 years with Prudential
HealthCare. The company was bought out by Aetna USHealthcare, and they wanted her to move
back up north. After living in Florida for almost 10 years now, the thought of having to
shovel snow again was horrible, so she took a very lucrative buy-out package and went on
the job hunt. After a couple months of consulting work, she was able to find a permanent
position with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. She is still in the systems security
field, just working for different company. She finds it frightening how similar both
She purchased a "new" old house
and has spent the last few months doing renovations. While it was frustrating at times,
she feels that there is something really charming about an old brick home in a city filled
with new construction.
In her spare time, she sings in a community
chorus that donates all of their concert proceeds to charity, plays guitar and bass with a
group of talented musicians who have completed recording and releasing their first CD,
plays with her very faithful 10-year-old dog, and takes long walks on the beach with her
soul mate. She says, "Life at 37 is pretty darn good!!!"
Update - Janice Zipf is
now a credentialed SANE, which stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. That means that
if she is on call in her county and a rape / sexual assault victim comes into the ER, she
can come in and do the forensic exam. In layman's terms, she does the rape kit. She has
yet to go to court, but many SANE's get called as expert witnesses. She is also the
president-elect (read that VP) of the newly organized Georgia Chapter of the International
Association of Forensic Nursing. Congratulations Janet! In other news, she says that her
son Nolan is three and a ball! They recently had photos taken with Santa, and he loved it!
Update - Jennifer (Sher)
Marshall is happy to report that their son Maxwell Paley turned one on November 29, 2001.
He was born 11/29/00. Jennifer and her husband Jeremy are doing
pretty well, considering they live and work 15 blocks away from the World Trade Center.
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These are the people who have
submitted their e-mail address for inclusion or changed their e-mail address on our
contact page, since the June 2001 issue of The Connector. Visit our contact page to find out how to submit your information and / or find your