In Loving Memory of Rosa Jasmina Oyola Born in Jersey City, NJ. passed away on May 29, 2004 in Newburgh, New York. She was 24 years old. Rosa died tragically in a horrible car accident on Route 52 near Adams Road in Newburgh New York. I can see that you're visiting, leave a message in the tribute or light a candle, and if you dont know Rosa, thats fine, You can leave a message as well...You can dowload music or pictures. You see, I want to share my love, my life...my Rosa, to you all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qltQ9CbPnzo Thank you so very much, Rosa's mom, L.Oyola
Obituary ROSA JASMINA OYOLA-SANCHEZ Walden, N.Y., Rosa Jasmina Oyola-Sanchez employee for FleetBankMoneyCenter, Newburgh, NY, passed away Saturday, May 29, 2004. She was 24. Rosa Jasmina was born on January 1980 to Orlando Sanchez and Luz Oyola in NJ. She graduated from Central ValleyHigh School in 1998. She then went to Suny Orange in NY and received an associate's degree in Criminal Justice. A family statement reads: "My precious princess you're on your throne gleaming radiantly all on your own. My strong little princess so incredibly bright makes me feel proud all day and night. My precious princess, my sweet little girl, you have me and the whole entire world."-- Mom She is survived by her mother Luz M. Oyola of NY; father, Orlando Sanchez of Milwaukee, WI; four brothers: Orlando T. Sanchez of NY; Orlando Sanchez of Milwaukee, WI, Matthew M. C. Bobbitt of NY and Andre M. Rivera of NY; grandparents: Carmen and Raul Martinez, Ada Luz and Angel Sanchez,great grandmother: Jovita Oyola; eight aunts Diana, Lucy, Iris, and Jeannette Sanchez. Carmen, Rosa, Sonia and Virginia Oyola. three uncles: Angel Sanchez, Benigno Oyola and Raul Martinez Jr.; several great aunts and uncles: Lino Oyola, Luis & Rosita Rivera, Marcolina Rodriguez and Luis Morales, Angel Luis Perez, Julio, Benjamin, Edwin, Americo, Felicita, Virginia, Nirma, Isabel, Lourdes and Virgilio Sanchez; many cousins: Lily, Katherine, Rosita, Kelsys, Lusito,Gigi,Tasha, Tiffany, Jessica, Cindy, Gordi, Jay Jay, Serafin, Vanessa, Franqui, Victor jr.and Alexander, Ashely,Dylan. boyfriend Matthew Cohen and her best friends: Erin, Lindsay, Meghan, Rebecca, Sarah, Anthony, Lusito and Melissa, Leo, Framichael (Frankie Fadez), Glenn, Oscar,Yowi, Uly, Jasmine, Sam, Joe, Missy,Chris, Matt, Joel, Ricky, Jason, Richard Devon (Tool Box), Leonard, Brian Cohen, Nerissa, Jamal, Melissa Owap, Dylan and Diane Stillwood, Rocky Garcia, David Vazquez,Suzanne, Jahmell, Monty, Johnathan, Ruffus and Armondo. She was predeceased by her aunt Cordelia Oyola and grandfather Benigno Oyola. There will be private calling hours on Wednesday, June 2, 2004 from to The family will be present to receive friends and relatives on Thursday, June 3, 2004 from 2 to 4 and at Coloni Funeral Home. There will be a funeral service at on Friday, June 4, 2004 at Coloni Funeral Home, 3001 Rt. 9W, New Windsor, NY 12553. Burial will follow in CedarHillCemetery, Newburgh, NY. For guest book or directions please go to www.colonifuneralhome.com.
Rosa's favorite Uncle Luis Armando Morales recently passed away on April 15, 2007 Please visit his website and leave a message and light a candle. Uncle Armando was a very big part of Rosa's life and now they are together watching over us. http://luis-morales.memory-of.com
Special thanks to all for your love and support during the most difficult time of my life...L.Oyola
A 24-year-old woman was killed yesterday after being thrown from her car in a head-on accident on Route 52 in the Town of Newburgh, police said. Rosa Oyola, 24, was traveling east on the highway near Adams Avenue when she lost control of the car she was driving and slid across the roadway and into the westbound lane. Oyola's car was struck head-on by a vehicle driven by Ernest Kastelic of Naples, Fla. Police said the force of the impact threw Oyola from the car. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Kastelic and a passenger in his car were taken by Mobile Life to a local hospital for treatment and released. Police did not say if Oyola was wearing a *seat belt. An investigation is under way. Christian M. Wade * It was confirmed that she was wearing her seat belt.... I've personally saw the indentation on her chest and abdomen. ...L. oyola
I can still remember when I had to wait 2 hours to see her at St. Lukes Hospital. They told me it will take a long time because they had to carefully lift the car off her body. When I heard this...I'd turned numb and cold...my mind...blank. All I can do was wait... and I felt a severe shock and distraught that I have never felt anything so horrible in all my life. Finally, I was escorted by a nurse, downstairs. Where I saw her body on a gurney, all I can do was touch her and talk to her. I'd told her that its okay, that I will miss her terribly and that I loved her. I've also told her if she wants to stay spiritually with me... she could. But, if she needs to go somewhere with the Lord,.. Please go. I wouldn't be mad or hold her back; and that I would understand... But I will never forget...L. Oyola She left behind so many loving family members and so many friends.Visit her @ http://www.legacy.com/GuestBook.asp?Page=GuestBook&PersonID=2280258 read all the beautiful thoughts from all her family and friends.
Birthday Ad, January 25, 2006
Rosa and brother Orlando,Senior Prom 1998 It all started when her date stood her up.The super stretch limo, waiting outside and Rosa was in tears, uncontrollably. Secretly, Orlando ran to the tuxedo place and told the owner if he could rent a tux right away. The owner, John, told him he had to reserve one a month ago, but Orlando told the owner the whole story. The owner was so kind and lent the suit to him. Orlando then ran home (dressed in the tux), rang the door bell and asked Rosa to her Senior Prom. She was laughing and crying; she yelled out "Yes!". Later that night, she told me she had the best time of her life....They were so very close. Orlando and Rosa were inseparable. ...L.Oyola
Bereaved Parents Wish List I wish my child hadn't died. I wish I had her back. I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my child's name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that she was important to you also.
Rosa was always a fun loving girl. She loved to dance and go out with her friends and went to many clubs. She was very strong; mentally and physically. She loved children, and had such a good time with them. She loved life, movies, DVDs , especially MUSIC in her car. You could hear her coming at least a block away. She loved to laugh and smile all the time. It could be a bad day; but you wouldn't know it when she's around. She loved all her friends and worried about them; She would be there for them all the time. Rosa was blessed with such an enormous great loving heart. Everyone that knew her can tell you...she always left a good impression...L.Oyola
My Day With YOU (ROSA) By Rebecca Benzant Being with you in my dreams puts a smile to my face from ear to ear, As I wake I try going back to sleep to have you near. Unfortunately that doesn't go according to plan, God! I just don't understand! Why my bestfriend and sister had to leave from her loved ones hands I sometimes put myself in a place if I were with you that day and say, "Rosa lets just chill, it's too early on this beautiful Saturday morning to go out anyway". "How about we both make breakfast and later decide what to do today". "We can chill in your house, or go to ma's house and talk and laugh all day". So I continue to imagine what would have been if it went that way. The day would just go by and turn into night and now Rosa and I can go out dance, laugh, joke on each other and everything would be all right. That would be my day with Rosa and we would still been talking today. But knowing it didn't go the way I planned, seems as if what really happened is not reality. So I will continue to imagine my day with Rosa the way I do because to me that would have been my reality. Until Rosa and I meet again I promise and I say, My Rosa and I will have that day, I promise...one day!
I said, God I hurt And God said, I know I said, I cry a lot And God said, That's why I gave you tears I said, Life is so hard And God said, That's why I gave you loved ones I said, But my loved one died!! And God said, So did mine!! I said, It's such a great loss!! And God said, I saw mine nailed to a cross!! I said, But your loved one lives!! And God said, So does yours!! I said, Where is she now?? And God said, My Son is by my side and Your Daughter is in my arms!! author-unknown
"Please, remember to take the time to acknowledge all your love ones that are very important in your life. My boys and I are very fortunate to have our lives touched by Rosa. The best part was that she knew we did, and always will " L.Oyola
I want all to know that Rosa's very good friend Meghan Welsh passed away in September 2005, in a horrible car accident. It is so very painful knowing two wonderful girls are gone. I pray everyday for her family. I feel as if another of my own has passed away. ...L. Oyola Meghan's guestbook @ http://www.legacy.com/Link.asp?ID=GB15157657 "God..please keep them safe in your arms."
Rosa, my days are not the same, you know me, if my day doesn't go crazy it's not normal. Well, I have been missing you . It is not the same without you. I miss hanging with you in clubs, Car shows and just hanging out in general. I miss talking to you girl! You know you will always be my best friend, my twin, my sister and my soul. I need your guiding spirit more than ever.
Your Brother, Orlando That misses and loves you so much!
Rosa, I just want to let you know that I miss and love you .I will always remember you. I love you! Love always, Your brother Andre Rivera Rosa, I will always love and miss you. You will be forever in my heart. Your Brother, Matthew
Her passing has left me feeling like a hole was made in my heart that can never be filled. She was one of the few people in this world that I could truly call special. It always meant a lot to me when she came over to the house and asked me for an advice on a subject she wasn't too sure about and I wished I could have told her, but I thought I had all the time in the world to tell her.That is the regret that I have to live with... ' till this day. She was a bright young woman with the world ahead of her, But this world seems a little darker without her here. While I'll continue to have memories of her she will stay alive in my heart and mind. Rosa's Uncle, that loves Rosa so deep.. Raul Martinez
Rosa was so very proud of her race. Every year she would attend the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. She proudly hanged her flag on the hood of her car. She would honk her horn and her Music would be on... so very loud... I missed that about you, Rosa, so very much... L. Oyola
I saw this beautiful poem and it made me smile. It made me think of Rosa and Nuna. I wanted to share it with all of you because I can almost hear Rosa's sweet voice speaking these very words... Do not stand at my grave and forever weep. I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn’s rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and forever cry. I am not there. I did not die.
I miss and love them dearly, Tee
Rosa's favorite cartoon character..TAZ She owned so many TAZ toys...
When I heard her speech, I was so very proud of her...
Brother Orlando, Dad (Big Orlando) Rosa and 'lil brother, Orlando (on the bottom)
It's almost 2 years since you left to Heaven. Yet my heart still feels this tremendous pain. I can still remember when the emergency room called me here in California. They handed the telephone over to your mom. She told me Rosa is dead. I couldn't believe it. All she wanted was -for me to be there as soon as possible. She asked me to pick out your outfit. She said make sure she looks like a Princess. I hung up and just fell to my knees. My beautiful niece taken away from us. Oh God!! Why?? I had my girlfriends pack my bags- as we looked for the first flight out to N.Y. I then went into a zombie mode - making sure everything was perfect for your trip to Heaven. Your mom - always so strong !!!! We looked for white gloves and a beautiful crown to place upon your head. I visited you the first day- OH THE PAIN!!! You were just beautiful. There wasn't anything we needed to do. I remember preparing your good-bye notes from your friends and family on special pink paper on the computer. When Orlando and I saw a document that you had written so long ago for a school essay. It was about me... here in California and the path that I had travelled. I cried. I had never read this. I know you made it a point for me to read it and keep it. I'll treasure it forever. Thank you. I continue to cherish you in my heart everyday- as I read all the candles on your beautiful website- with your pictures surrounding my computer. I'm writing this today because I know you made it a point for me to see - all your Angel friends in Heaven who left this earth the same way. I visited their websites and viewed their pictures. I also lit candles too. I know your watching over me and all your loved ones here. Doing your best to remind us that you are in a better place. I truly wished you had the chance when you were here on Earth to visit California. Now I know you have. I feel your love- and you continue to give me peace. I love you and miss you dearly. Love you always, your Titi Jeannie
Oh, How I wish that you had a child. How selfish It may be; all I want is a beautiful being just like you. You have gave yourself so selflessly to each of us. Being there for your brothers, like a mom and sister. Being there for me, with no question asked. How you gave yourself to your friends. You are truly an Angel, dearest one. You earned your wings way before you died. I miss and love you so very much. How are we going to live without you? ...My Angel, My friend... My love... L.Oyola (Mami)
Mom, Rosa and Sarah, together at the Poconos... Hey Girl, I just want to tell you how much I really am missing you and wishing that you were still here. Rosa, you were the only true and real friend I had. You were there for me through thick and thin. I miss all the good times we had together. There is so much that I wish I could have told you if I knew you were going to leave us that day. It saddens me that the only way I can reach you is in my dreams, I will always welcome your visits but it hurts so much when I awake and reality hits. I know 2 years is almost here.....I can't believe it. Two years without your laughter, jokes, and most of all company. I will continue to think of all the happy times because that's what keeps you close to me. I love and miss you so much girl. You were a real Best Friend and the only Sister I ever had.
Love Always, Sarah
Dear Rosa, I keep thinking about the fact that it will be 2 years since you left us next month. How did time go so fast? It still only feels like yesterday when we lost you. Almost everyday I re-live that day when we got the terrible news that you were gone. I didn't want to believe it so I remember telling Orlando " I know that she is fine, she probably is just unconcious right now and everyone is panicking. Your sister is strong Orlando she is going to pull through this" But I remember him asking me " is it going to rain this week?" I said "storms tues,weds,and thurs" he said " shes gone". Rosa, I didn't want to believe it, but when I got to the hospital I knew we had lost you. It is just a nightmare that never goes away. But I know you are around especially when suddenly it feels like my breath has been taken away and then I just think of you. It will be just a memory of you that pops in my head. I know it's you making me think of the good times :) I can tell you one thing, we all miss you terribly. Mami has been working so hard to keep your memory alive....and she has succeeded greatly. I know you are looking down and you are proud to have chosen such a wonderful mother...you knew she would do this for you when you made your plan in Heaven. Girl, we all love and miss you terribly I just wish that this wasn't the only way to talk to you. I wish you were sitting in this room next to me, talking and laughing like we always did. Until we meet again you will always be in my thoughts everyday and in my heart you will always stay. I love you Girl! Love,Sarah
Please, do not tell me to go on with my life..you will never know this pain that I am feeling...If you knew this pain, believe me, you wouldn't say it....L. Oyola
I know one day we will meet Rosa until then we must continue our journey here on Earth. Even though, the Earth is filled with negative. We must endure, learn and live. The Earth is meant to be negative and will always remain negative until GOD disposes it. It's the school for your soul--to learn from and experience negativity. It may be hard for some of you to accept the fact that the Earth will always be negative. You try to foster goodness in the world. You try to end suffering. You try to stop the killings of other human beings. Certainly, you do all of this. You'd be remiss of your duty to GOD if you didnt. You must remember, however, its done out of necessity. If negative didnt exist, what would you fight against? You learn about yourself when you fight against injustice. You view it, attack it, try to suppress it, and experience it so that you know all of its facets, all of its ways, and all of its effects. In fighting negativity, you must be careful not to create more of it. You cant rid the Earth of the negative-- Its meant to be here--but you can make your island of Light and find others who profess the same belief. If you become too zealous in your fight against negative, you can ultimately perpetuate it.
If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn't because you have hurt me. My child's death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me. I need you now more than ever. I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you, but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child; my favorite topic of the day I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my child's death pains you too. I wish you would let me know these things through a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over. These first years are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die. I am working hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child and I will always grieve that she is dead. I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or "be happy". Neither will happen for a very long time, so don't frustrate yourself. I don't want to have a "Pity party", but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I'm feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you. When I say, "I'm doing okay", I wish you could understand that I don't "feel" okay and that I struggle daily. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky. Your advice to "take it one day at a time" is excellent advice. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time. Please excuse me if I seem rude, certainly not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.
I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before my child died and I will never be that person again. I wish very much that you could understand; understand my loss and my grief. But, I pray daily that you will never " fully " understand....L. Oyola
'Dead Man's Curve' mystery 3 fatal crashes within one year defy explanation
By Michael Randall Times Herald-Record
Newburgh – Just west of the Thruway, Route 52 goes into a curve. From behind the wheel, it seems like an ordinary two-lane highway. But in less than a year, death has visited this site three times. Three crashes. Three lives ending within about 1,000 feet of each other. Simple roadside memorials mark the locations: - Rosa Oyola, 24, of Walden, was killed May 29 when her Chevy slid sideways on the turn, crossed into the oncoming lane and hit a westbound Mitsubishi. - Christian Benben, 27, of Newburgh, died Nov. 15 after a westbound Chevy veered into his lane and hit his hatchback. - Jane VanVoorhis, 68, of the hamlet of Wallkill, died March 11 in a head-on collision between her Mercury and a Toyota SUV that drifted into her lane. "It's like a haunted area," said Camille Cudak, whose beauty salon is just west of the crash sites. What is happening here? Has a "Dead Man's Curve" been born in the Town of Newburgh? Or is it just a horrible series of coincidences, three cases of driver carelessness? Town cops said speed might have played a role in Oyola's crash.* It hasn't been determined, its under investigation..L. Oyola. Driver inattention was blamed for the SUV veering into VanVoorhis' path. They never determined a cause for the other crash. Christopher Lynn said he and his buddies at the Orange Lake Fire Department have seen too many crash calls on the mile-long stretch of Route 52 from Monarch Drive east to Adams Road near the Thruway overpass – and especially the 1,000-foot "Dead Man's Curve" section. Lynn's mom was badly hurt in a crash right around the same spot where Oyola was killed. "Now she's scared to go down that road," he said. In January, a 3-year-old girl suffered a serious facial injury when an oncoming minivan forced her family's pickup off the road and into a tree – on almost the exact spot where VanVoorhis died. "People have been getting hit left and right," Lynn said. "It's scary. I drive a small car. … Almost every time I go down that road, someone's in my lane." So Lynn's asking transportation officials, elected officials, and anyone else who will listen to help. State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Colleen McKenna said the agency doesn't have any projects planned on that part of Route 52 in the near future but will "take another look at the situation." "We do everything we can to keep the roads safe," she said. But can the DOT, or anyone else, do anything to help? Before last year, there was no history of fatal crashes on that highway section, but it has seen its share of carnage. According to DOT statistics, there were 55 crashes on Route 52 between Monarch Drive and Adams Road from May of 1997 to May of 2002, the most recent period for which complete statistics are available. Of those, 18 involved one or more injuries, but there were no fatalities. Lt. Michael Clancy said town police records show no fatalities there from 2002 until Oyola's crash last year. And in the entire Town of Newburgh – which includes more than 200 miles of roads – there have been only two other fatal crashes since January 2004: one on Route 17K in July and one on Mill Street in August. Three fatalities in one year at one spot is at least reason enough to get a traffic engineer to look at the site, said Robert Sinclair Jr., spokesman for Automobile Club of New York. "It sounds like something's wrong there," Sinclair said. "Without seeing (the road), I can't say what it is. But generally, when there is a recurrence of bad crashes, there's some sort of flaw or defect." If there is a flaw or defect on Route 52, police and other local officials haven't been able to pinpoint it. There have been no physical changes to the road. The speed limit, in fact, was lowered to 45 mph from 55 mph a year or two ago. The only thing new in the last few years is the continuing construction of the 490-unit Meadow Winds housing development. All three fatals happened between its two entrances, but none involved anyone entering or leaving that development. That prompts some to speculate the problem is the people behind the wheels of the vehicles causing the crashes. "I think it's carelessness," said Carmen Olivo, who lives on Little Lane Road just off that stretch of Route 52. "They're just used to the road and they get careless." Councilman George Woolsey says the town will press the DOT to find an explanation and a solution – if there is one. "It can't keep going on," Woolsey said. "Something's wrong. If it's human error, let's find out."
The Coldenham Generation The tornado that never ends
By Ben Montgomery and Michael Kruse Times Herald-Record firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com They talk about it a lot, not all the time, but it's there, always, just below the surface, and sometimes – when another one dies or on a birthday or an anniversary – the kids start to talk, again. "I was only 8 years old, and I was surrounded with death," Erin Weddell says. She's 23 now, here, with five friends, at Chili's in the Town of Wallkill on a Tuesday. Erin, who's pretty with long blond hair, a few faded freckles and a smile that took five surgeries to fix, hands a binky to her baby boy, Brody. "I'm like a mother hen," she says, "because I know how quickly" – she snaps her fingers – "how quickly bizarre, crazy things can happen. "Maybe that's why we're all so close. The ones who are left, we have to stick together." So here they are, a month from the anniversary of the death of their friend Michael Miller, not two weeks removed from the funeral of their friend Suresh Sinanan, and six young people are talking about death. "You think you cheat fate," says Shannon McLoughlin, who's 23, "but it comes back to haunt you. I'm always worried about dying young." "She's not the only one," Darin Jellema says from the other end of the table. "I worry about that every day." And Cherie Bissinger, from her seat next to Erin, says, "I'm deathly afraid of the wind." On Nov. 16, 1989, a tornado jumped out of a storm cloud and knocked a wall onto 120 kids eating lunch in the cafeteria at East Coldenham Elementary School. A nearby insurance agent described what would become New York's deadliest tornado as a "black, black twisty thing" cutting across Route 17K. Cherie and Erin were sitting by each other in that cafeteria, too. Seven kids were killed that day – the day, in the words of one woman, "the sun went away." Two more died later in hospitals. Some 1,700 kids were in Valley Central's five elementary schools that day back in 1989. Thirty of them are now dead. Car wrecks. Suicides. Cancer. Cystic fibrosis. A heart attack on a treadmill, a sudden death during a Wiffle ball game, a murder in some woods near a Little League field. Then, earlier this year, Suresh Sinanan ( Rosa knew at school) was killed in a '94 Ford Explorer, having survived, as a U.S. Marine in two tours of duty in Iraq, only to die as a Class of 2001 VC Viking, on a snowy stretch of Route 17K. Stats from the Centers for Disease Control say that number should be nine – not 30. Even minus the nine who died because of the tornado, the figure is "more than three times" the normal death rate, says Jack Bragg, an Atlanta actuarial consultant who specializes in life expectancy. Back at Chili's, these kids don't know those specifics. They just wonder. "We'll be at the bar and we'll be like, 'What the f--- is going on?'" says Dennyanne Dugan, Class of '01. "It's just a span of bad luck that won't seem to end." "Why do all these people that I know – why are all their lives ending?" says Scott Tompkins, Class of '04. "It boggles my mind." The conversation at Chili's could be – should be? – about Cherie's birthday or Chris Flood's new landscaping business or the group's upcoming Caribbean cruise. But it's not. "It's funny we're all still hanging out," Flood says. "We're all still here." "Not all," Cherie says. Why? Why them? Why so many? "Maybe" says Brian Busam, the '99 Homecoming King, "our class is cursed." Erin doesn't buy that, but she does have the dreams she can't explain.
ON THAT THURSDAY, Indian summer came head to head with Arctic winter, with Pacific, eastward air smacking into a Canadian, southbound front, creating violent weather throughout the Northeast. On the Goethals Bridge, between Staten Island and Elizabeth, N.J., it overturned two tractor-trailers. In Clifton, N.J., it shattered the windshields of 54 new Toyotas. Up here, it made the midday sky turn green, then black, as if somebody had flipped a switch. A member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Coldenham Fire Department was painting her dining room walls when she looked out the window at Berea Elementary. The flag was starch-stiff with wind. Meanwhile, in a small home at the corner of 17K and Drury Lane, Bill Pomarico Sr. got up from lunch and started driving toward the school, where his son Billy was in the second grade, because his sister "felt something." And a few miles down the road, at Valley Central High School, Darryl Imperati was teaching a government class when he heard what he thought was a low-flying C5A military transport plane heading toward Stewart Airport. Folks would talk later about the sideways rain and the whistling wind, but there, in that elementary-school cafeteria, just before 12:30 p.m., third-grader Terry LoFrese was worried about the water coming through the window and the puddle at his feet. So, he got up and walked to the opposite side of the room to tell a teacher. When he looked back, he saw the 20-foot wall, made of glass bricks and concrete blocks, sway toward his friends, then snap back up … but only for a second. "Run!" the principal yelled. Not everybody did. Not everybody could. Cherie, with her leg broken, her lungs and kidneys bruised, her pelvis cracked in four places, was wearing her favorite hot-pink Minnie Mouse T-shirt. She was pinned under the metal and the bricks. So was Erin, who had been hit in the mouth by the end of an airborne table. Billy Pomarico was stuck, too, his right femur snapped at a 90-degree angle, and before he saw the glove of the firefighter, he reached out and touched the back of a boy named Mark Flanagan. No response. Outside the cafeteria, Brian Busam, the future Homecoming King, sat in the hallway and worried about his dog. And outside the school, Jane Porbek, Terry LoFrese's mother, got out of her car in the middle of traffic-jammed 17K, ran through a swamp, toward the school, then crawled through the legs of a pack of parents standing and screaming the names of their children. "It's been a terrible tragedy," a doctor in Westchester told a paper in the city. "But perhaps this is the end of it." Perhaps. "I hope," he said.
THREE DAYS LATER, not 100 yards from the boarded-up hole in the side of the school, a gawking driver from Savannah, Ga., crossed the center line and crashed into a car, killing kindergartner Rosalie Sbordone. Then, in September of 1995, Michael Geissler, 13, was Rollerblading on the side of Route 52 when he was hit by a 1985 Camaro. The eighth-grader wearing gray Walden Little League pants was hit so hard he was knocked out of his Rollerblades and thrown into the opposite lane – where he was hit by two more cars. His mother, Pat Graziano, got to St. Luke's in Newburgh, prepared – ready, she kept telling herself – for broken bones, and tubes, and blinking machines, and doctors scurrying about, and frantic, awful noise. Pat Graziano pulled back the sheet and looked at the naked body of her first-born. "Damn," she thought. "You've got hair on your legs." It was just beginning. Danny Meyer came next, the following June, on a sunny Saturday morning in Maybrook, when seven kids on their way to a carnival found the 12-year-old Boy Scout in some woods near his home, face-down, his shirt pulled up to his neck. Anne Blanchard Mailloux, the mother of Marc Mailloux, one of Michael Geissler's friends, started to worry. First Michael. Then Danny Meyer? "Is there something in the air over here?" she wondered. She told her husband, a manager at Champs in the Galleria mall, that maybe he should get a job transfer back up to Chicopee, Mass., that maybe they should go back to where they'd come from. The next summer, on vacation in Chicopee, Marc and his younger siblings, Melissa and Matt, were taking turns running on a treadmill as fast as they could. Marc was up, again, and he ran and ran – a year and 12 days after Danny Meyer's murder – and then he sat down against a wall and tried to catch his breath. When Melissa, who was 11 and wanted her big brother to time her, went to check on him, she lifted his eyelids. Only white. Marc, a 14-year-old who played hockey and football, slid to the ground, dead of a heart attack. The family had taken a whole roll of pictures of him earlier that week. They came back black. Every single one of them. "The weird part is," Melissa would say later, "my mom says, 'We gotta get out of here.' She said that. And then it happened." And it didn't stop. Maybrook's Tony Lally, a Wallkill Valley Times paper boy, died in '98, alone, when a 9 mm bullet entered his right temple and exited out the back of his head. His older brother found him slouched on the couch. And this, in the Valley Central School District, was '99: Corinne Feller died in January. Ovarian cancer. Derek Velasquez (Rosa Knew at school) died in February on Route 6. Car crash. Then Lillian Plant from an illness in April. Giulio Pace died near the end of his senior year, right after the prom, when he drove his new Mustang into an E-ZPass tollbooth on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. Cops at the scene talked about "a very high rate of speed." Kids talked about him doing 112. Tony Alfalla shot himself in September. Three more in 2000: Bradley Davis, who had cystic fibrosis. Lonnie Mullins, from an overdose. Brian Pauselius, a drummer, a gardener, a part-time local radio DJ – the third Boy Scout from Jim Barnett's Maybrook Troop 236 – killed in his Toyota Camry on the way back from his girlfriend's house. Two more in 2002: Josh Davis was killed in March in Virginia Beach, Va., where he worked at a Days Inn, when he was hit by a drunken driver in a Honda Civic. In July, Patrick O'Malley – a suicide, a family member says. Then, in February 2004, Joe Rives and Michael Miller ( Rosa's friends, she went to their funerals ) crashed a Camaro in Goshen. Matt Varley, 24, VC Class of '97 and a graduate of Pace University, collapsed in March, while playing Wiffle ball with friends, dead from a rare heart condition called idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis. In May, Rosa Oyola, Class of '98, wrecked on Route 52. And this past July 3, with kids home from school and off of work, instant messages in bedrooms started binging and cell phones at parties started ringing. "It's Alfalla." "Alfalla's dead." Mike. The second Alfalla. Then, just last month, Suresh. At the visitation, on one side of the pews in the Goodwill Church, was David Kniffin, the preacher who had picked up the Marine's belongings at the state police barracks. "That's what it comes down to," he whispered. "A box. A box of the stuff you had on you at the time." On the other side, with the rest of the 21-, 22- and 23-year-olds, was George Marshall, one of the kids hurt bad back on that day at East Coldenham. "It makes me look at my life," he says. "Have I had a pretty good life? Am I doing what I want? Am I trying things? Do I owe that to myself? Do I owe it to them?"
NO ANSWERS. Only this: "When I come back to New York and get updates, it's who died," says Steve Mineo, an accountant in Boston, a member of Valley Central's hardest-hit Class of '99. "Not who's getting married. Not who's doing what or who's with who. "Who died." So they wonder. "My husband and I always talked about it," says Linda Davis, the mother of Josh, the boy who got hit by the drunken driver in Virginia. "I do believe when you're born you have a number, and when that number comes up it's over, but I don't know what to make of this. "There's just so many." Dianne Pauselius, Brian's mother, works as a nurse at the Elant home for senior citizens, so she can't go a week, she says, without knowing a name in the obituaries. People die. Other people. Older people. "I don't know if it's a conspiracy, or that God hates us, or anything like that," she says. "But every six months, you turn around and somebody else's child has died, and you say, 'What the heck is going on?'" "I don't know why it always comes back to Valley Central," says Scott Tompkins, Class of '04, "and I don't know why the numbers are so high. I don't know. The things you never expect to happen to you? They happen to us." All of which, over time, makes each individual tragedy, death by death by death, more and more a communal kick to the gut. Corinne Feller's brother was Michael Geissler's fifth-grade teacher. Michael Geissler was on the same Little League team as Marc Mailloux ( Rosa's friend ). Lonnie Mullins lived next door to Michael Geissler. The grandfather of Peter Orsino, who was killed at Coldenham, directed traffic at the funeral for Brian Pauselius, who is buried next to Danny Meyer, who was in Maybrook's Troop 236 with Tony Lally. The son of a firefighter who was on the scene at the school that day is friends with a current senior who was on the scene on 17K just after Suresh Sinanan was killed earlier this year. "And it doesn't matter if you knew the kids," says Debbie Schaaff, Class of '00. "It still affects you. It still makes you stop and think." Why? Why them? Why so many? "You have to call it a curse," says Rich Kurisko, Class of '01. "My dad's a pastor, and I'm not raised to believe in that type of stuff, but ever since East Coldenham it's been one thing after another, and you have to start to wonder sometimes, like, is it a curse? "What else could you call it?"
"CLEARLY, THE POPULATION most vulnerable to trauma is children," says James Halpern, a professor and disaster psychologist at SUNY New Paltz. And not just the children who were affected most directly by the trauma. "It impacts whole communities," he says. Dr. Kathleen Nader, a well-known disaster psychologist who worked with the Coldenham kids in the tornado's aftermath, says severe trauma can result in "loss of self-control" and "self-destructive behavior," which could explain some of it. Take the Alfalla boys. Tony killed himself in September of 1999. Not six months later, Mike, three years younger, hit a tree doing 60. He got a DUI a couple years after that. "I watched him over the next few years," Tony Sr. says, "and he became a little uncontrollable." Last year, on July 3, Mike Alfalla (Rosa's friend from school) crashed a friend's '97 Mitsubishi 3000 GT Turbo into a tree and a telephone pole. The car was split into three pieces. Was it related to Coldenham? His brother's suicide? Both? Giulio Pace (Rosa knew him from school) had crashed cars before the wreck that killed him. Kids knew that. In fact, the Friday night before his last accident, Chris Flood saw him at a party and even joked: "How many lives do you have?" And Linda Davis, whose son Joshua was killed by a drunken driver in Virginia, remembers thinking it was odd how quickly Joshua and his friends recovered after each death. "Those boys have seen so much death in their short lives," she says. "But they just went on. It was like they didn't think it was going to happen to them." In the Valley Central district, "We as a staff were acutely aware of that group of kids," says Darryl Imperati, the high school government teacher who was part of the post-Coldenham "crisis team" and is now the principal at the high school. But he doesn't know if a different approach to counseling the traumatized kids would have changed anything. The problem, says Halpern, is that there are few long-term studies of the effects of trauma on children. It can have a positive impact: Cherie Bissinger, for example, is a volunteer firefighter in Coldenham; Erin Weddell is the designated driver; Brian Busam works for State Farm Insurance and says he's "anal" behind the wheel. But when it comes to negative effects of Coldenham, Halpern has questions: "Were the suicides, were the car accidents, was the disease – were they related in some way to the stress of that disaster?" In other words, after the initial nine lost in the tornado and the nine more that could be considered statistically expected, could the remaining 12 somehow be linked to the others? "There are those who would not agree that these other deaths are related to the tornado," says Nader, who is studying the effects of the disaster. "We believe that it deserves more investigation." Dr. Vincent J. Felitti, of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in San Diego, conducted the largest long-term study of the effects of childhood trauma to date. He and his team surveyed 17,000 adult patients and found that those who suffered childhood trauma were more likely to develop serious illnesses, addiction and substance abuse problems as adults. Felitti explains the progression like this: adverse childhood experiences lead to social, emotional and cognitive impairment, then to the adoption of health-risk behaviors, then to disease, disability and social problems. Then, ultimately, to early death. "Traumatic experiences in childhood tend to be burned in and manifest themselves in a variety of ways," Felitti says. "Time does not heal. Time conceals." "The answer," he says, "is, very strongly, yes."
THERE'S THE DREAM, Erin Weddell tells her friends back in the Chili's, in which she's in the bathroom and she looks behind her and Suresh is there, standing still in silence, with a blanket draped over his shoulders. And there's the one with Michael Miller (Rosa's friend; she went to his funeral), her good friend, when he looks at her from across the room, then runs toward her, fast, then faster, and when he's inside her he whispers: "I love you." Then there's the stuff that's not even dreams. Like the wave: A year after Michael's death, Erin and Chris Flood were sitting on the sand on Long Beach Island, and when they started to talk about Michael the water came up, way up, further than it had the whole day, and touched their feet. "I think," Erin says now, "those are the little things that people you've lost and loved do for you." Part of them, the part that was buried with their friends, sons and sisters, reminds the people here that it's important to buckle up, to look both ways, to hug, to take the keys, to mark the Nov. 16 box on every new calendar. Death has touched them. They are different. Erin keeps in her purse her prom picture with Michael. In Maybrook, Dianne Pauselius and Mary Lally still get together and talk about their sons in the present tense. In Walden, Michael Geissler's mother drives past the spot where they found his Rollerblades and says, always out loud, "I love you, Michael." And the Boy Scouts in Troop 236, no matter where they are, still lead every parade they do with "Danny Boy." Maybrook has the Danny Meyer Memorial Playground. Montgomery has the Corinne Feller Memorial 8K. Walden has a plaque for Michael Geissler on the basketball courts behind Most Precious Blood. Here at Chili's, though, Erin is talking about a fortune cookie she got a week after Michael's death. "All your pain will soon turn to joy and happiness." Next to Erin, then, sitting on Cherie's lap, is Brody Michael, 19 months old, bouncing up and down in little white Nikes and a mite-sized Derek Jeter jersey. He gets a kiss from Cherie, then runs over to Darin Jellema, at the other end of the table, and starts pulling at the blinds, wide-eyed and unaware, looking back at his mother. Then, antsy, Brody starts running around the tables and the booths in the corner of this Chili's. Darin tries to keep up. "Hold him tight," Erin calls out. "Don't let go." ............................................................................................................................................................ March 24, 2005
Letters to the editor for March 24, 2005 Story preposterous I am writing because I was deeply disturbed by the article featured on the front page of Sunday's paper, "The Coldenham Generation." I attended WaldenElementary School and graduated from Valley Central in '98. I suppose that would make me part of this "generation." First of all, I believe that this connection that your reporters were trying to make between the Coldenham disaster and the deaths of many dear friends since that time is completely preposterous. The article does not make any sense. Half of the deceased discussed in the article did not attend Coldenham or have any connection to Coldenham whatsoever. The pessimistic idea that everyone mentioned in the article and the rest of us who are still living are "cursed" is appalling and should never have been printed. I am not sure if it was just a slow news day at the office, but the only thing your article accomplished was to make me relive old, horrifying memories. For instance, the day I had to take a five-hour bus ride home from college to attend Corrine Feller's funeral. Or the day my mother had to come to my room to tell me Patrick O'Malley (one of my best friends since seventh grade) had committed suicide. Please do not exploit the memory of those that were dear to many people for the sake of a sensational front-page story. April Perrello Walden I have put these articles in here, because alot of people have different perspectives. If you have any feedback that can help, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A life well remembered. / Debi Brady (Friend to her mother )
Dear Rosa and Lucy, I have just spent a great deal of time reading all about you, all that words can express. And yet, I get the feeling of so very much more. As if, words alone could never really capture the true essence of you. But how could t...
Thinking Of Rosa / Cathy
I will forever think of your Precious Beautiful Angel Rosa...Keeping a candle lit in her memory right next to my son Kennys candle...I'm sure they are both in Heaven watching over us and sending us messages ... I believe Our Angels Bring Us Together ...
My precious Niece Rosa Jasmina / Titi Jeannie And Tio Jeffrey (Aunt & Uncle )
Hello my beautiful niece. May you always know I think of you often. Everyday in fact. It's amazing how our lives continue......................yet without you............this pain.......will never leave me. People say......in time. Hmmmmm. I wonder.....
My tribute / Jeanelle S. (Friend)
Mei you rest in peace your such an remarkable person and your story has touched our lives. Your give but never forgotten we know your in heaven looking down and watching over you mother. Please keep her safe.
Sorry / Berlinda Reyes Smith (friend)
Sadden to hear of her sudden death in 04 I remember her when her mom would walk with her on william street when she was little that is the last time i saw Rosa. She was so Beautiful like her mom she look like a little indian girl...
Rosa had such a love for her family and friends. She had such admirations for her parents and grandparents. She also cared for everyones' needs. Rosa had a love for all, She carried a tremendous big heart, She loved her brothers. I remember how Rosa would tell everyone that her baby brother Andre was her son. Just so he, Andre, wouldn't miss out on any community events when parents were demanded to be present. Because I had to work long hours and couldn't participate. How she would do mostly everything when it came to family. Never feeling pressured, just wanting to do it out of love. Feeling proud that she was the oldest and the most responsible mature sibling. I remember when Rosa went to college and received her associate Degree in Criminal Justice, all she wanted to be was a New york State trooper and to proceed to become a Forensic Specialist. She was going for her test in the fall 2004, but unfortunately she passed away in May 2004. Oh, she would of been a helluva Police Officer ! I guess, God needed her more...
Another life has gone.
I want all to know that Rosa's very good friend Meghan Welsh passed away in September 2005. It is so very painful knowing two wonderful girls are gone. I pray everyday for her family. I feel as another of my own has passed away. "God..please keep them safe in your arms."