StoryCorps
10:05 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Boy Grows Close To Grandmother, Through Memories

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 10:23 am

Graham Haggett was just 10 weeks old when his grandmother Sandra Lee Wright was killed in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But he knows a lot about her, mainly from the stories his mother, Shelli Wright, has told him.

"Somebody described her to me once," Shelli says, "as the kind of person that when she walks in the room, the temperature goes up by 10 degrees."

Sandra Lee Wright worked for Aon Corp., a risk management and insurance company with offices close to the top of the World Trade Center's south tower. She was 57 when she died.

"I basically never met my grandmother," says Graham, 11. "But somebody told me that the last picture she saw was one of me."

"Yeah," his mother says. "Sept. 10th, I sent my mom an email with a picture of you; it was one of your first real smiles. And then that morning, 9/11, she emailed back something like, 'So cute! I'm going to steal that baby.'

"So that was what she saw when she first got to the office that morning — your face," she tells Graham.

After the first plane hit the north tower, Shelli got a call from her mother. " 'Don't worry,' " Shelli says she said. " 'You are going to see stuff on the news. But it is not my building.' "

They were on the phone when the second plane hit the south tower.

Graham knows the story. "She said, 'I need to go. I'll call you back when I get out,' " he says. "But, she never called you back."

"I don't know a whole lot about what actually happened from that moment on," Shelli says. "But one of her jobs was to manage the mailroom, and so she had a staff of employees. And one of them was named Donnie."

"When he got outside of the building and saw that she wasn't there, he ran back in the building to save her," Graham says. "But he never walked out again."

"Everybody was willing to do anything for her," Shelli says.

"Everything I know about her, it makes me glad that I had her as a grandma, even though she was only there for 10 weeks after my birth," Graham says. "And I feel like every once in a while, I can still feel her warmth."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Yasmina Guerda.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And it's time now for StoryCorps, recording conversations between loved ones. StoryCorps and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum continue their effort to record one story for each life lost on 9/11, and today we hear from 11-year-old Graham Hagget. He lost his grandmother, Sandra Lee Wright, who worked in the South Tower of the Trade Center, and he came to StoryCorps with his mom Shelli to remember her.

SHELLI HAGGET: Somebody described her to me once as the kind of person that when she walks in room, the temperature goes up by 10 degrees.

GRAHAM HAGGET: I basically never met my grandmother, but somebody told me that the last picture she saw was one of me.

HAGGET: Yeah. September 10th, I sent my mom an email with a picture of you, and it was one of your first real smiles. And then that morning, 9/11, she emailed back something like, so cute, I'm going to steal that baby. So that was what she saw when she first got to the office that morning - your face.

HAGGET: I know that the last you heard of her, you were on the phone.

SHELLI HAGGET: Mm-hmm. We were getting ready to get you up and leave for the city when she called and said, don't worry, you're going to see stuff on the news but it's not my building, because hers was the second tower to be hit. So we were on the phone with her when her tower was hit.

HAGGET: She said, I need to go. I'll call you back when I get out. But she never called you back.

HAGGET: Right. I don't know a whole lot about what actually happened from that moment on. But one of her jobs was to manage the mailroom, and so she had a staff of employees. And one of them was named Donnie.

HAGGET: When he got outside of the building and saw that she wasn't there, he ran back in the building to save her, but he never walked out again.

HAGGET: Everybody was willing to do anything for her.

HAGGET: Everything I know about her, it makes me glad that I had her as a grandma, even though she was only there for 10 weeks after my birth. And I feel like every once in a while I can still feel her warmth.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Eleven-year-old Graham Hagget remembering his grandmother Sandra Lee Wright, killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Graham recorded this interview with his mom Shelli Wright, and their conversation will be archived at the Library of Congress and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The StoryCorps podcast is at NPR.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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