State Rep - The Starting Point

“I now pronounce you man and wife.” With those seven years, the priest closed difficult chapters in two individuals’ lives and a new chapter started for both of them. The date is November 4th 2000. Days before, they had cast absentee ballots in the presidential elections. Weeks earlier, Aldon had negotiated the terms of his departure from S.A.C. Capital. For Aldon, the closing chapter was one of a failed marriage and a stressful work environment. It had been a painful chapter, a chapter of disappointment, as Aldon failed to find the familial and career happiness that had eluded him all his life.

For Kim, it was a more painful chapter that was ending. Fifty seven years early, on November 4th, two children of immigrants celebrated the birth of their first child, Janice Elaine Palazzi, born during the waning years of the Second World War. Janice grew up in Connecticut and married her high school sweetheart. On September 3rd, 1966, she gave birth to her first child, Kimberly Ann Fallon.

Thirty three years later, Aldon met Kim’s father, brother and sister-in-law for the first time at a dinner in an Italian restaurant not far from Kim’s father’s house. Kim and Aldon had been dating for about six weeks at the time. They had compared notes on their divorces. Aldon’s was complicated by thirteen years of marriage and two kids. Kim’s was complicated by an ex that cheated on her while she tended to her mother during a fierce fight with cancer.

It was clear that the end was near. Hospice had been called and plans were being made for Janice’s last days. Yet it was Friday night and Kim’s birthday. The sadness could wait until the morning. Dinner was eaten, presents were exchanged. Somehow, from her sick bed, Kim’s mother had managed to order a special present for Kim.

As they left the restaurant that evening, Kim’s father’s beeper went off. It was Janice’s oncologist. Janice Fallon died on the evening of her daughter’s thirty third birthday. Aldon never did get to meet Janice. He did spend the next week helping with the funeral arrangements and comforting the family during its grief.

Now, fourteen months later turnabout was fair play, and Aldon and Kim got married on Janice’s birthday. With Aldon’s future employment in limbo, the couple decided to just spend a few days off by themselves instead of having a full honeymoon.

They went up to Bar Harbor, Maine and stayed in a nice little Inn. Kim had a knack for finding great places to stay, and this was no exception. In November, the tourist trade had mostly closed down. Many of the shops were closed. The streets were empty. Kim and Aldon spent quite time together on the beaches and rocks around Mt Desert Island.

Tuesday night, they went and had dinner with Kim’s old friends Ann and Rob. Rob was a psychologist from Hamden, Connecticut. He had had a heart attack and moved up to a quieter life in Maine. Ann worked with Kim at Bayer Pharmaceutical. Ann stayed a couple nights during the week at Kim’s house and then would drive up to Maine for the long weekends. Recently, Ann pulled up the last of her stakes in Connecticut and moved up to Maine full time.

They spent the evening watch election returns. They cheered as states turned blue and jeered at the red states, as the night dragged on and it became clear that a winner would not be announced, Kim and Aldon drove back to Bar Harbor.

The following months went about the way you would expect for the Kim and Aldon. They spent time trying to establish the framework for their new family. Aldon had two daughters from his previous marriage and the newly blended family worked on the rules and relationships that would sustain them moving forward. Kim had no children from her previous marriage. She had been pregnant once, and it had ended in a miscarriage. Kim wanted very badly to become a mother, but they decided it would be best to wait until Aldon’s financial situation became a little clearer.

Mairead, the eldest, skated with a synchronized skating team. In January 2001 there was a competition in Lowell, Mass. Kim and Aldon stayed with friends in Redding, Mass. Their birth control failed that evening and 2001 became about preparing for the birth of their first child together.

Kim was due in early October. On Tuesday, September 11th, Kim went to an obstetrician’s appointment early in the morning. As she stood at the reception desk, she looked up at the TV in waiting room. It was tuned to CNN and there was special breaking news. A plan had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. Smoke was pouring out of the building. Kim called Aldon and told him to turn on the TV. At that point, it was unclear what had happened or why. Was it a small plane, a large plane? Was it pilot error? Some sort of mechanical failure? The staff came out to watch and listen in disbelief. As they watched and talked on the phone, they saw the second plane approach and crash into the second building.

Aldon talked with friends online, and Kim rushed home. The kids were at school. The school didn’t tell the children what had happened. It was left to the parents to discuss with the kids as they saw fit. Aldon called up his ex-wife and suggested that they all talk with the kids about what had happened together. They sat down with the kids and described what had happened. Aldon talked about how there are pivotal times in history that everyone looks back to. Do you remember where you were when JFK was shot? When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon? When four students were killed at Kent State? When Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. or John Lennon were shot? This was one of those days.

Kim and Aldon never watched much television. Aldon watched a little of the TV coverage of the event. The kids never saw much of it. Miranda was in third grade and for the following weeks referred to it as the ‘accident’. It was felt best not to try and correct her on that.

Kim wanted to have as natural a child birth as possible. They seriously studied relaxation techniques and made plans for the coming birth. Then, on Friday, October 5th, 2001, as Kim was preparing to pick up her step-daughter from school, the water broke. Unfortunately, there was Maconium in the fluid which meant there would need to be a higher level of medical intervention than Kim had hoped.

The following morning, Fiona Elaine Hynes was born. As Kim recuperated after the birth, the watched on television as the invasion of Afghanistan began. Later, Aldon recounted the event in his online journal this way:

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