Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where You Left Me (September, 2011)


Where You Left Me (September, 2011)  
Jennifer Gardner Trulson
During the week of the tenth anniversary of 9/11/2001, I became interested in the stories of two amazing women who were victims but ultimately survived the horrific tragedy of this day.
My first reading was a memoir, Where You Left Me, eloquently and candidly written by Jennifer Gardner Trulson, who was the wife of Douglas B. Gardner, an executive director at Cantor Fitzgerald. This company was located on the 101st-105th floors of One World Trade Center and lost 658 employees in the attacks. The book chronicles the remarkable love story of Jennifer and Doug Gardner who were living a charmed life on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  The Gardners were the loving parents of two adorable young children, Michael and Julia, enjoying wonderful friendships, and had just spent a tranquil summer in the Hamptons. It should also be noted that the Gardners were the best friends of Cantor Fitzgerald CEO, Howard Lutnick and his wife, Allison. This friendship provides an insight into the frenzy and despair in the days after September 11th for the close-knit Cantor families. After the horrific events of this day, Jennifer cherished the time she had with her husband and the immense love they shared. She vowed to be resilient and raise her children properly but acknowledged that this was her one love and that part of her life would be over.
Gardner, a lawyer by training, writes in an intelligent and pragmatic manner. The twist in the book comes about a year later in the form of Mr. Derek Trulson, a handsome native of Seattle who has recently moved to New York City. A complicated but beautiful new romance develops between the Jewish widow, Mrs. Gardner and the WASPy, Trulson. Mrs. Gardner describes their differences and similarities in key scenes such as a visit she and her children embark on for their first Christmas in Seattle.  I will not divulge the entire plot which is the strength of the memoir but it is enlightening to see the author put the pieces of her life back together and flourish.
Finally, Gardner’s descriptive narrative and dialogue create a real intimacy with the reader. It seemed to recreate the desperate events of this time and will serve as a vivid record for her children and others who will not remember the experience. In honor of all the victims who lost their lives on that tragic day, I hope you take some time to read this memoir and remember them. I must leave you with one last comment, I read this book in one day and it is a story you will not regret reading.