From The Arts Community
PAINTER WENDY COOK RESCUES 17 PETS FROM WTC DISASTER AREA
NEW YORK CITY, NY -- On The morning of September 11, 2001, Painter Wendy Cook fled her apartment building which was located in the shadow of the World Trade Center.
She left her two cats -- Sid and Elvis behind because she felt they would be safer inside as long as the building was sound. But, as she took refuge at shelters and the houses of friends in the ensuing days, she was not allowed back into the area.
Finally, on Friday, Wendy Cook was able, with much help, to rescue not only her to cats but also 15 other pets in the building.
Following are a brief excerpts from Wendy Cook's extensive journal of her experiences:
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
"....some police boats pulled in right where we were standing and they yelled for us to get in. We jumped aboard and were taken to a pier across the Hudson in NJ. There I saw 3 workers from my building and we cried and hugged...."
"....Some food was brought in, but I could only eat a few bites. I was distraught over my cats and frantic because I wasn't in a place where I could see my building. We were told we were being moved to a naval base, but then told we would remain. I found a blanket and pulled it over my dirty clothes. I tried to sleep on the floor of the gym, [Bayonne High School] but heard explosions, planes, sirens, and screams all night. I wasn't sure if I was really hearing them or not. Others were hearing them too....."
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER, 12, 2001 (FROM A SHELTER)
"....The plan was to get in scrubs with my hospital i.d. and try to get past the barricades. [on Thursday] I drew a map of the lobby so I could memorize the quickest route as it would be hard to navigate with merely a flash light. There was no power and the hallways and staircases would be blacker than night....."
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2001
"....We got to my door and it was locked. I cried again. I prayed my cats would be safe another day. When I got back to the van the ASPCA boxes were soggy and useless. I had a hard time throwing them away because I wrote my cats names on them and it felt like I was throwing away my cats, throwing away hope. With all the strength I had, I reminded myself that these were just boxes, and my cats were still safe inside. I would try again tomorrow....."
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2001
"....We climbed 9 flights in total darkness with a small flash light and counted the steps 7- turn, 7 -floor. I entered my apartment and saw the most beautiful sight...Elvis sitting on the couch. I picked him up and placed him in the box. Called for Sid and did the same....."
"....Juan and Jose returned with more pets. Anthony had a dog named Poncho. We had a dog and a cat in a hamper. By the time we descended the darkness to the lobby we had all the animals left in the building. The problem was how to carry them out. I ran behind the desk and found a cart. Juan said it wouldn't make it over the debris and fire hoses so I tossed it aside. Someone found a mail cart and began loading pets. I found a wheel chair and put my cat carrier on that. Juan grabbed some tape and started taping it to the seat. I yanked the belt of the extra cat bag and made a seat belt to secure the front of the carrier to the wheel chair and put the rabbits on top. We almost made it to the corner when Juan remembered another cat. I yelled and pointed to the extra cat bag near the entrance. Juan got the cat. We now had 17 animals. We moved cautiously over fire hoses, curbs, steps and debris....."
"....It took all 5 of us to lift, push and hold our bundle of animals to get them past each obstacle. Workers in the area stopped and watched us as we rescued these little souls. I made eye contact with one man and his lip quivered and he began to cry as he saw the animals loaded onto to the wheel chair I was pushing...."
".....Several people working on a nearby building were smiling and waving. They understood what we already knew.....the importance of life of ANY kind...."
"....Jack said, 'I'm not a cat lover, but hearing your cat's mewing is the most beautiful sound right now'....".
Wendy gives thanks to Juan- for protecting and feeding and finally rescuing the animals; Jos- the same; Anthony - the same; Jack Linn- the ANGEL in disguise without whose determination and bravery we would have never been able to pass the blockades; Tara Rosenbaum; The Parks escorts; The ASPCA; Lisa Berganty- for trying; Cathy Zweisler- for trying; Nancy McDonald- for trying; Lisa Phillips- for connecting me to the right people and your prayers; Fawn & Dylan for clothes, a roof, food, and support; Dino Geangelo- for helping to protect me in the blizzard of ash; MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!! ;Rob- for getting us swiftly back to LI and helping me recover; Bill Longman- for informing everyone via email; My homeless neighbors; Everyone at The Center For Health & Healing especially Dr. Stephen Quentzel; Barbara Glickstein; Aurora; Chris Cathy
"MY LOVE AND DEEPEST GRATITUDE TO YOU ALL!!!!! I am both awestruck and thankful to be alive with Sid and Elvis." - Wendy Cook ------
Wendy Cook's art supplies and all her paintings were left behind.
About her work, she writes: "My earliest influences are Thiebaud, Warhol and Katz. For the past several years I have been working and producing a body of work that consists of my favorite childhood 'pop-icons'. These works are 25" x 25" paintings encased in a hollow lucite frame containing materials pertaining to the image held within. They are audience participation pieces evoking memories associated with the image whereby pressing a button, one will hear a recording which will produce a loop of time and memory associated with image, sound and childhood memories."
Visit http://community.webtv.net/WLCook/WendyCook to find out more.
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