Remembering Peter Christian Fry on 9-11

PeterPeter & his daughter

 

On the anniversary of 9-11, with all the memorial services, only one name from that tragic day rings in my head. He had been one of my students at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, in the mid-1980s. His name was Peter Fry.

Peter died in 2 World Trade Center. He worked for a global securities company—and always took his early morning coffee at Windows on the World. We presume that’s where he was when the plane hit the Tower.

No one wants to dwell on the horrible few hours on that day.

Instead, I always recall the tall student who took the seat near the door in the front row of all my First-Year writing classes. He took three with me: Language Skills and the two Writing Workshop basics. He was likely the best student in the class, the most dedicated, never missed one of my classes.

He held the distinct honor of being the first student to come to one of my classes barefoot. In exchange, I went to his lacrosse games. During Parents Weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting his lovely parents—straight out of central casting, it seemed to me.

Since I also was coordinator of the skills center, he often came to my office and served as a tutor. My connections to him seemed odd—like the time I ran into him at the local mall. Peter Christian Fry stood out from hundreds for me.

So, the terrible day that the Dean said to me that Curry had lost a student at the Twin Towers—someone who pre-dated his tenure at the College, I was in shock at the name:  Peter. How could it be optimistic, charming Peter.

He was part of the Program for Advancement for Learning at the College and his mentor over there was a priest fondly called Father Joe Arsenault who later married Peter. We later commiserated over the loss, and Joe told me that Peter recalled me as one of his favorite professors at his wedding to fellow alums. It was chilling to hear years later.

There is a flat stone memorial to him on Cape Cod at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. It was put there by his wife because it was one of their favorite spots for him and his two little daughters. Some who go there actually feel his spirit or presence in that place of peace and beauty. It does not surprise me.

A few years ago I would have scoffed at spirits remaining among us, but in recent years I have written two books on the spirit who lives at my home. He died on the Titanic and his family owned my property. It seems terrible tragedy releases good people.

There was a plaque in the classroom commemorating the Titanic victim where Peter sat, near the door. How strange it now seems to me that these two young men died under infamous circumstance and were both there in that room at one time. Peter always sat near the plaque to the lost young college student named Richard Frazar White.

Spirits are good people who have the freedom to go wherever they want in the years after their lives.

Richard White and Peter Fry died too young, full of promise, and for the rest of my life, I shall be touched by them. I remember.

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