Little Boy Lost

I started playing flute when I was 12, and almost immediately after starting lessons, I began collecting flute player figurines. My teacher gave me my first one and my collection has grown exponentially since then. It’s not terribly easy to find flute player figurines that aren’t angels, and even with angels, they tend to be seasonal, arriving on store shelves only at Christmas time. When you find one that’s unique, you have to get it when you see it. I have many unique figurines in my collection – a giraffe, Friar Tuck, and a dragon playing a flute  just to name a few. This little boy outdoes all my other flute players, combined as far as his meaning in my collection.

I got this figurine at the World Trade Center Mariott a couple of weeks before 9/11.  I was there for a convention with a friend of mine, and I had the same see-the-hill-take-the-hill mentality with this purchase as I had with the others.  I told my friend I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get back and he would be a great souvenir of the trip.

Little did I know the real truth. Shortly afterward, in the terrible aftermath of 9/11 I removed this little guy from my curio cabinet and looked at him for a few minutes, really looked at him. I could still see the crack where the end of his flute had broken when he was roughed up a little in my suitcase on the way home. I glued it back together, and except for the crack you could never tell anything had happened. If only it had been that easy to recover from 9/11. I held him and thought of the very kind people who had worked in the Hallmark store and helped me with my purchase. The store was on the ground floor, so I’m sure they all made it out ok, but I wonder if they still bear the cracks of what they saw that day. I remembered the Starbucks employee who made me my first (and last!) eggcream. I remembered standing on the street and looking up at the towers, unable to see the top of the towers. I thought to myself that anyone above the eighth floor would be screwed in a fire (I don’t look at high rises the same since my father-in-law, a former firefighter imparted this wisdom to me).  I remember thinking at the time how terrible a fire would be for anyone in the middle of the building. Who could have guessed how prophetic that thought would be?

I held this little boy in my hand and mourned the innocent look on his face. We were all that innocent before 9/11.  Tonight, as I took his photograph, I noticed some miniscule writing on the bottom. It says “find joy in all things” and I think that’s something important to carry with us. If 9/11 proved nothing else, it’s that we have no guarantees of tomorrow. We should strive to live life to the fullest every day. Sometimes I wonder what this little boy’s tune would be, and I can think of at least half a dozen pieces I have played, somber, touching music that weaves a moment from nothing but breath and metal. Ultimately, those who lost their lives on 9/11, both in New York and Virginia, were the breath that gave life to the metal that was the Pentagon and World Trade Center.  Like my little lost boy, their songs are eternal.  Their songs will endure.

9 thoughts on “Little Boy Lost

  1. I really enjoyed reading this, Jennie. I watched so many documentaries on 9/ll this weekend and felt the same emotions of ten years ago. It seems that each generation has a major event that defines it’s loss of innocence. The Kennedy assasination is something that I will never forget. I always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the news broke about it. This is another one of those moments. It was a day we will always remember. I can only hope that there will not be one in Andrew and Eliza’s generation but I am sure that there will be. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on September 11. May we never forget.

  2. Great post…I love that you collect little Flute players. It is so unusual and awesome. I really enjoyed this. Living in the Northern VA area I have a daily reminder so its always nice to see an ‘outsiders’ prospective. I am sure that little guy means so much more to you now than he did back when you first bought it.
    I know it is something you will cherish…and it is the good that rose out of those dark days. I know I will never forget it myself…

  3. “Find joy in all things!” How poignant! This was a great post. I really enjoyed reading it. You saved this little boy from becoming dust. And he gave you a message in return. Love you.

  4. Wow, Jennie, this was a very moving post! I’m glad you got that little boy figurine, and I do hope that everyone at Hallmark and Starbucks got out OK. I remember we were waiting for the convention to start because we were there a little early. I took the kids into the Trade Center and we considered taking a ride to the top. I realized, though, that I didn’t have enough to get us all up there and having enough spending money for the convention so I said to them, “We’ll go up next tiime.” And then there was no next time. There are memories that are engraved into my brain forever, like President Kennedy’s assassination and 9/11. I love the little saying on your figure. “Find joy in all things”–good comes even from the bad and even though it can’t be seen at the time.

    • Thanks Cassie. I remember standing on the corner and telling you I felt bad if there was ever a fire. Talk about getting chills on 9/11. When I thought about that, it really freaked me out. I remember the thought about the top of the Trade Center. I was willing to try it despite my fear of heights, but I didn’t have the money. That entire time, together with 9/11 will be something I won’t forget.

  5. Jennie, this is a most beautiful post. I watched the tributes on television for several hours and the tears would not stop coming. Whether we lost people we knew on a personal basis or not I don’t think we will ever forget this tragedy. And I love your little flute boy figurine.

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