The Road Not Taken — or Found

Many of my blog readers are familiar with the poem by Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken“.

Now with GPS, it would seem all roads would be discovered AND traveled.    Not so when it comes to the road leading to a monument memorializing the victims of Sept 11, 2001.  

The location of the former World Trade Center was easy to locate.  All trains, subways have it as a destination.  It has been a point of interest since it was first built.    The new construction being erected in place of the destroyed/demolished Trade Center Towers is incredibly stunning — by day and night.  Security was located everywhere and barricades were placed on each street for most city blocks surrounding the WTC.

Why is the extraordinary monument constructed by the Russian government and its citizens not mentioned in a prominent flier or tour guide for NYC?   I was fortunate to be introduced to the artwork through a friend and an online video.


It took much determination and alternate directional skill to located the monument.  NO road matches the one listed online. There is NO sign or marker pointing the way to the monument.  The towering reminder is on a desolate space that looks across the water with a view of the Statue of Liberty AND the newly constructed WTC memorial tower. 



While snapping several photos of the Tear Drop, a young gentleman approached and asked if I wanted him to take a photo with the monument in the background.   He shared that his uncle was killed in the Towers. He travels from California each year to see the Russian monument. He added that there is a new item added on the grounds each year — the latest being a sample of the steel beam from the WTC.

I took the road less traveled and discovered a monumental display of art that expressed without words, the grief of loss to our country AND the world.


Tear Drop Monument
Former Military Ocean Terminal 
Bayonne, NJ

99 – sublime

Nothing can overshadow the joy of listening to someone who has survived decades of life. Too many times we hear of famed singers, actors, sports stars who have reached the age of 19 and feel compelled to write their memoirs.   How could someone barely in their 20s have anything as significant to say about their life as someone who has lived 8 or 9 decades.

This weekend, I had the honor of meeting with, and listening to, a family friend of my deceased grandfather. Johnny Bloise (Bloisi).  My grandfather, Frank, and Johnny worked together at the Corning glass factory decades earlier. On occassional weekends they were hunting buddies.  The absolute joy in this nearly centarian’s eyes, in his smile, in his gaite — were like a flash of light to my heart.   The hug, the kiss on the cheek, were the seal to the anticipation this elderly gentleman exhuded on the phone the day I called him.    He said, “I’ll be waiting for your call all afternoon!”

Johnny called all his children, most lived near him, to meet my mother and me for the evening.  All but 2 (twins) of his 7 children were there to greet us.  They were as thrilled to see us as we were to put the past in the present.  “I loved your parents,” Johnny exclaimed to my mother who had lost both her parents 20 + years earlier.   I remember hearing the stories of the adventures with Johnny during my childhood.   My grandfather would sit on the front porch at night — sometimes during a thunderstorm — and look across to the mountains in the distance that separated PA from NY.   “My hunting buddy, Johnny lives in NY,” grandpa informed me.

My grandfather introduced me to shooting a “22”.  I shot paper targets of crows, metal cans or ceramic pots placed on a brick wall.  Grandpa raised 3 girls in the 1930s and 40s, so he didn’t have any trouble letting his granddaughter experience some of his same joys.  We went fishing on a lake, but I mostly loved observing all his woodworking tools in the unfinished basement.   So here I am sitting in the living room with one of my grandparents favorite friends and Corning co-workers.    Johnny lived in Corning most of his life.  My grandparents traveled the 30 – 40 minute drive into NY to work at one of the finest glassmakers.

My mother remembered staying with her older sister, Barb at Johnny’s home when she was a child. Johnny even discovered photos of my mother with my sister (age 1).   The evening was wonderful. We agreed to meet the next morning for breakfast and then went back to Johnny’s home for a few more hours of history.  I was in my element — listening to the great stories of family trials and tribulations — and sitting in awe of a man who had so much fine quality character to be able to have faced diversity in his life and treasure the time he still has with remaining family and friends.

Johnny is already planning his 100th birthday party,”God willing” he notes, with the aide of all his children.   We’re invited.  I have the date on the calender.   Considering Johnny has siblings /aunts who are age 105 — let’s consider this party a sure thing.