A Daughter, Sister, and True Brooklynite Remembered
Anita LaFond-Korsonsky and her mother, Dina LaFond, recently visited our Lower Manhattan StoryBooth to remember her sister, Jeanette LaFond-Menichino, who worked in tower one on the 94th floor of the World Trade Center.
Anita described her sister as someone who could do whatever she set her mind to. With little higher education, Jeanette managed to work her way up to Senior Account Analyst at Guy Carpenter, a subsidiary of Marsh McLennan. “I don’t know how she did it. It was just an amazing, wonderful little piece of life that she made for herself,” Anita remarked.
Reflecting on her sister’s connection to New York and the Twin Towers, Anita said, “New York is an amazing place, and she loved it so much. Her world was Brooklyn, it was New York everything she had was here. Working in the World Trade Center was like the ultimate New York experience for her.”
As a mother, Dina was not as enthusiastic. “I hated those Twin Towers. Oh, I hated them! I kept telling her, ‘Jeanette, please get another job.’ But she says, ‘Okay, maybe next year.’ But it never happened,'” she told Anita.
The view from the 94th floor was so extraordinary that Jeanette always kept a camera at her desk. The pictures she snapped were inspiration for her landscape paintings, a favorite pastime of hers. Dina recalled, “Being up so high, sometimes the clouds would come right up to her window, and sometimes there would be rain clouds. And you could actually see the rain falling, and if you looked above the clouds there was no rain there at all.”
“She would say that getting up to the 94th floor took as long as commuting on the subway,” added Anita. “But we always used to laugh, ‘What would be the point of working on the 40th floor of the World Trade Center? You might as well work on the 40th floor of any other building.’ I guess you don’t think about the place you work in being the place you’re going to die in.”
As their conversation came to a close, mother and daughter shared thoughts of what losing Jeanette has meant for them.
“She was four years younger than I was. I never expected to lose her at this point in our lives. I kind of feel like an only child all of a sudden she’s not there,” Anita said.
Dina explained that the loss of her daughter is something she feels everyday.
“Sometimes, I get that lonely feeling that I want to hug her. And I tell myself, ‘My God, I’ll never be able to do that!’ And you get that motherly feeling that you want to hug her just one more time. It’s a continuous heartache. It never really leaves your body. She is always with me.”
Dina leads tours for visitors to Ground Zero and says that the experience has helped in her grieving process. Anita has never revisited the site of the Twin Towers, but instead prefers to look out towards Manhattan from across the water at Eagle Rock Reservation’s 9/11 memorial, where she brings cards and flowers for her sister.
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