Every person has that one day in a year that he or she remembers most. The reason for remembering that day is as unique as the person that remembers it. It could be the first day of school, or the day that person fell in love. For me, I remember September 11th, or 9/11 as many call it, but not one specific year. That day has two years imprinted in my memory. In 2001 I lost a dear friend, Norma Lang Steuerle, in the terrorist attacks against my country and in 2010 I lost my grandmother, Dorothy Yovich Reams, to cancer. Not much is know to the people in this world about who they were or what they did. This is sad to me because they were both amazing people each in their own way. I hope this post will shed change this fact and the reader will know more about these two wonderful women.
Beginning with my friend Norma, she was a clinical psychologist who worked with children who had, among other things, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder). I first met her when I was in the third grade and was in the seventh when she was killed. By the time I was 11 she had become the best friend I had. She was exception to the stereotypical psychologist. Instead of just talking to me about problems she treated me on a human level. When I met with her she and I would play board games or she would teach me a new card game. She was a true friend. The week before 9/11 she told me she would be taking a trip to Japan and would be back in a few weeks. Her words where “I’m going on a trip.” I wish I had known they would be her last words. The day of 9/11 I was sick at home. I could not believe what I was seeing on the TV. The horrific videos and images still pass through my subconscious. I would never had thought that Norma was on the plane, but she was. She was on flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon building. There was nothing left of her after the smoke cleared. I found out all of this a week later when my parents pulled me aside and said 5 words, Norma was on the plane. I didn’t need anything more than those words to understand the situation. She was gone and was never coming back. It was one of the hardest loses I ever had.
Nine years after losing Norma, my grandmother, Dorothy Yovich Reams, died after an operation to treat stomach cancer. I know very little on how she died as I was away at college, but I know from her past that she had a good and rich life. She was born to parents who came from the former Yugoslavia, one being Serbian the other Croatian, but she grew up in the United States. During World War Two she worked as the secretary for Secretary of State James F. Byrnes. This job brought her to peace conferences that followed the war. She interacted with many historical figures at these conferences going beyond Secretary Byrnes. I was brought up on the stories of these conferences. Among my favorites was the time when she was addressed by President Truman as she locked up her hotel room one morning. After she met and married my grandfather, who was also at the conferences, she lived a foreign service life. She lived and traveled to many places, meeting people you find in the history books. Living in one of my grandfather’s stations she and my family ran into Mother Theresa when going to donate some clothes to a shelter. These days I am responsible for scanning and restoring the photos from her past. I still find myself astounded by the images I find.