New York Times Portraits of Grief

 
Hello, Is Joe There?
Joseph Piskadlo

That old question: Should she call him? Rosemary was only 19. Joe was 21.

Here's how she decided:

Money? You're kidding. Joseph Piskadlo was an apprentice carpenter. But to a German-born Polish-Czech Brooklyn girl, no problem. He would develop. She was sure.

Values? Now you're talking. Mr. Piskadlo grew up in an immigrant family himself, in St. Stanislaus parish on East Seventh Street in Manhattan (where his mother, Maria, still lives). Born in Zagan, Poland. Roman Catholic and solid as an oak.

Future? Mr. Piskadlo was already loyal to the carpenters' union (later, he would work at ABM Industries , as a shop carpenter in the north tower). She figured this man could provide for — who knows, three kids? — through college. He could set down a new floor in her family's Poconos retreat.

He could build furniture (at their North Arlington, N.J., home, as fate had it). They'd go to Pulaski Day parades. And every Easter, she figured, they would keep to the tradition of blessing Easter baskets. She had a feeling.

They had been paired up at a wedding in September 1974, as usher and bridesmaid. A month later, she had her costume ready for a Halloween party: the krakowianka, a classic dancing outfit of white apron, black vest, sequins and ribbons of red, yellow and blue, everything set — but a date.

Call him and — who knows? — Rosemary Mlcoch might wind up as Mrs. Piskadlo. Might. Just might. That feeling. She called. "The rest," said Mrs. Piskadlo, "is history."