To understand me and the mysteries that surround my life, you must understand my very first experience with an unanswered question and life’s mysteries and why I share them with you.
Let me take you back to a small window of time when I was only four months old and living in Flushing, Queens, an area of the world made famous by Fran Dresher and the TV sitcom “The Nanny”. You may remember the big hair and the funny accent. However, long before the actress made this community famous, there was another woman who put Queens on the map.
Her name was Alice Crimmins, and on July 14, 1965, her two young children were abducted in the dark of night out of the bedroom window of their ground floor apartment. They were later found strangled to death and Alice Crimmins was put on trial for the murder of her two children. She was as famous then as Casey Anthony or OJ Simpson is to us now.
There were numerous books written about her, and Hollywood had a field day with movies about her life. The case dragged on for years before she was convicted of murder. She served three years in jail and was released on parole, an extremely short period of time for someone convicted of murdering their two children. Truth be told, many people believed in her innocence. Remember, it was 1965 and times were different.
Alice Crimmins was recently divorced and had admittedly had extra marital affairs with wealthy men, something that did not go over well with the middle class neighborhood of Queens, where around the corner from her apartment lived Art Garfunkel of the famed duo, Simon and Garfunkel and where young families raised their children.
One of those young families was ours. We lived next door to Alice Crimmins. That is correct. My parents, along with me, their infant daughter, were her next door neighbors. I was too young to actually remember any of this, but, I grew up with the knowledge of the case through stories from my parents and I have read about it in the books where my parents are mentioned. They were witnesses for Alice Crimmins and kept the police filled with coffee as they investigated the crime scene.
As a child, one of the things that made a huge impact on me was the fact that my window and the Crimmins’ children’s window were right next to one another. Sometimes I would lay awake at night thinking of how different things would have been if the abductors entered my window instead of theirs. It was a thought that haunted my childhood.
Then, at the age of nine, I was appearing in an elementary school play. While backstage, I had an epiphany. My teacher looked me in the eye and said, ‘This is your window of opportunity to go out there and shine.’ The words she spoke ignited a desire in me to do well, but, also stirred in me thoughts about the Crimmins children.
This was my window of time, but, many years earlier and one window away, a whole different story unfolded. Two children living right next to me were abducted and died and were never given the chance to do well.
The world may never really know who killed those children or why they had to pay the ultimate price. All I know is,their lives had an impact on me and standing backstage in my elementary school, I made a decision to do well. I gave that performance my all. I did it for them. It was my window of opportunity.
Through the years, whenever I hear someone say the expressions “window of time” or “window of opportunity”, I think of the two young children who lived a window away.
They were four and five years old when they died, but, 50 years later, their lives still matter to me and help influence the decisions I make today.
Remember- whether we live a day, or we live to be a hundred, we only have a small window of time. Two windows side by side but only one gave life saving shelter. In that moment I was reborn and awoken to all of life’s mysteries.