On September 11, 2001, my cousin Ann was at work on the 104th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center, where she worked as a bond broker for Cantor Fitzgerald. You know the rest of the story. On Sunday, it will be 15 years since that dayI have to remind myself that many of you reading this were too young to remember the actual day, but I will never forget watching, waiting, and then finding out.

But this story is not about that day. Ann would hate being remembered as a “victim.” Ann was loving. Ann was kind. Ann was brave, fierce, funny, and so many other things. I want to share some of that with you. The best way I know to do that is by sharing her “Top 100” list. She did not make it to 100 before 9/11, but I think that tells a story of its own. For me, this is Ann’s legacy, and I think we can all learn from her. Be kind, be loving, be brave, be fierce, and funny. Take the time to appreciate those around you. Work hard, but don’t live for work. Enjoy life.

Ann’s Top 100

  1. Be healthy/ healthful.
  2. Be a good friend.
  3. Keep secrets.
  4. Keep in touch with people I love and that love me.
  5. Make a quilt.
  6. Nepal.
  7. Buy a home in North Dakota.
  8. Get a graduate degree.
  9. Learn a foreign language.
  10. Kilimanjaro.
  11. Never be ashamed of who I am.
  12. Be a person to be proud of.
  13. Always keep improving.
  14. Read every day.
  15. Be informed.
  16. Knit a sweater.
  17. Scuba-dive in the Barrier Reef.
  18. Volunteer for a charity.
  19. Learn to cook.
  20. Learn about art.
  21. Get my C.F.A.
  22. Grand Canyon.
  23. Helicopter-ski with my dad.
  24. Spend more time with my family.
  25. Remember birthdays!!!!
  26. Appreciate money, but don’t worship it.
  27. Learn how to use a computer.
  28. Visit the New York Public Library.
  29. Maine.
  30. Learn to write.
  31. Walk exercise but also see the world firsthand.
  32. Learn about other cultures.
  33. Be a good listener.
  34. Take time for friends.
  35. Kayak.
  36. Drink water.
  37. Learn about wine.

Mel Johnson has been a Professor of GIS, Remote Sensing, and Conservation Science at Paul Smith’s College since 2011. She enjoys canoeing and hiking in the Adirondacks with her dogs Osita and Mahkoli, and husband Erik.


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