“Always have a good time and enjoy life to the fullest.” These were the words she wrote into a high school yearbook of a friend, and these are the words she lived by with grace and beauty.
Her life began on June 25, 1972. She must have been the best birthday gift her father, Robert Ewart, could have ever gotten, for they shared the date. It was an event they would celebrate together, famously now with two cakes. Hers was the chocolate cake, and her father had orange cake. What a woman her mother, Catherine, must have been.
Meredith grew up in Otterburn Park, a forested town nestled under the protection of a mountain on the south bank of Richelieu River, east of Montreal. It is easy to imagine the kind of idyllic childhood she had there. The daughter of a teacher, her life would have been filled with books and a love of learning. Beauty surrounded her, and she reflected it.
She seems to have made friends easily. She is remembered fondly as someone with an ‘infectious personality’, a genuine smile that opened up possibilities wherever she went.Â Though quickly made, such friendships were not so quickly lost. Her best friend, Kim Manion, moved away in the seventh grade. In an age where the internet did not soften the long distances between loved ones, Meredith kept up her connection with Kim through letters for more years than they’d known each other in person.
Meredith was even known people she never met, for Robert would “often talk about her with a glitter in [his] eyes” to his students.
When she graduated from high school, there was no rush to leave this place she’d grown up in. She attended Champlain College, and then graduated from Concordia University in 1995 with a Bachelors of Arts degree.
It was shortly after this that she met the love of her life, Peter Feidelberg, at work. They would have discovered things they had in common. They had both grown up near Montreal and both had gotten their degrees from Concordia.Â Peter was adventurous and outgoing, very much like Meredith.
In the black and white photo of them, we see that Meredith’s smile is quieter than Peter’s huge grin. But there is a sparkle to it as she bends over him. It looks almost as if, should they be able to leap out of this pose we’ll forever see them in, they would begin to tickle or tease each other. Or perhaps they already had shared a joke.
Now, from the security of her family she moved into the security of Peter’s love. Together they went to New York in 1997. For a short time she worked for the United Nations, but she soon took a position with Aon Corporation, the same company that Peter worked for.
In March of 2000, she and Peter got married, and shortly after that they bought a house together in Hoboken, New Jersey. For that year, they lived together in anticipation of a lifetime of happiness.
Of them, her father said, “They really loved each other. I never heard them fight, never heard them bicker.”Â Like it is for all parents, it must have been hard to let her go, but reassuring that their daughter had found such aÂ “prince of aÂ fellow”Â to spend the rest of her life with. It was a good life they were beginning. They were remembered not only individually for their kindness, but together. One neighbor describes them postponing an outing they had planned in order to help her family move, and then goes on:
” I offered them some of the baby things that I had, a crib and the like and Meredith told me that they weren’t ready for that — they just wanted to enjoy each other. They were beautiful people and I remember them often, just as they were then — so happy and so in love.”
Now, with their life firmly in grip, they turned back to family and friends to celebrate. Many of their loved ones hadn’t been able to be at the original wedding, so Meredith and Peter renewed their vows a year later in a country inn near Meredith’s hometown. They had a good time, a beautiful sunny day filled with dancing and laughing, filled with “enjoying life to the fullest.” ‘I love you, Mer,’ her father said to her at the end of the day. ‘I love you, Dad.’ She replied.
It was August 11th, 2001, the capstone of what Meredith and Peter thought was the beginning of their life together.
They worked on the 104th floor of WTC 2, the south tower. The last we know of Meredith on September 11, she and Peter took the stairwell.
WithÂ Meredith and her husband, we discover the succulent bloom of young love’s triumph at the threshold of the future. Though it is now so unfairly stilled, we are left behind in awe of the whispered possibilities, of love never parted. For them, we find the will to celebrate love and life and all things good.
Author’s Note: It has been a joy to get to know Meredith. I can only hope that I have gotten things correctly. I was not sure how to contact the family, but there was a surprising amount of information in the signing of guestbook tributes. If there are any corrections to be made, please email me at ami (at) geekatplayÂ (dot) com. I won’t be posting here for at least a week to keep this on top.
A wonderful tribute was written for Peter Feidelberg at Patrick O’Hannigan’s blog, The Paragraph Farmer. Tributes for the otherÂ victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks can be found at 2,996Â or here.
The original was written in 2006.