Sandra Truman Is Allergic To Marriage

News Narrative Design III Senior Profile Assignment.

By Shea Carmen Swan

In 1965, Sandra Truman moved into a fourth-floor apartment on 8th avenue between Jane and Horatio Street. Sandra and I agree that our apartment building is by far the best location on the entire island of Manhattan. This was the first apartment Sandra saw and she told the broker she’d take it. “He said eh, you’ll probably be married in two years, and I said ha! I’m allergic to marriage!” Sandra said while laughing. Fifty years later Sandra is still in the same apartment and happily single.

Sandra was in her apartment the morning of September 11, 2001. She was waiting for FedEx to deliver material she needed to bring with her on a business trip to a mill in Rhode Island. Sandra watched the first plane collide into the trade center on the news. She walked outside to see if she could see what was happening from the street when she ran into our neighbor, Nat, returning to the building from walking his dog. Nat and Sandra went up to the roof where they could clearly see the Twin Towers. “I saw this other big plane and it was going so close, and I got so mad at the plane, and I said, what’s it going to do, they can’t rescue people with the plane like that,” said Sandra. “I was just looking like what’s going on and then, BOOM, it went into the next building and I just screamed.” Sandra recalled with her voice trembling. In 2001, the two young men living in the apartment directly above mine on the third floor worked in the trade center. “The two men worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and I heard them leave for work that morning,” Sandra said solemnly. Sadly, they never came home.

Sandra remembers the JFK assassination more lightheartedly though. Sandra was working at her first job when JFK was assassinated during her lunch hour and she was sent home for the rest of the day. Her voice is quieted when she tells me this part of the story, as if whispering to me made her story less scandalous. “I went over to my boyfriend’s and we broke the leg off the bed!” Sandra laughed the last few words out. The repair man gave Sandra and her boyfriend a look and shook his head when he came to reattach the leg of the bed. Sandra just giggled and covered her mouth in an attempt to stifle her laughter, although she couldn’t stop blushing.

Sandra and her brother Ken were born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sandra attended the prestigious Moore College of Art & Design in Philly and majored in textiles. After college Sandra made her living in textiles, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Sandra was also a passionate drawer and painter.

A New York based textile company in the garment district hired Sandra to design dress patterns and create color combinations. The company interviewed Sandra at her college and she started working for them after graduation. “I rarely went for a job interview,” said Sandra. “It just sort of happened.”

Sandra took time to travel across Europe after making some money working in textiles. “I went all around Europe, France, and Germany, England, Spain, Italy, Greece,” Sandra said. She loved each new country for their unique differences, frequenting famous museums and indulging in delicious cuisines. “Walking around the hills in the south of France, seeing the Matisse Museum, listening to the different types of music there, and eating cheese and tomatoes, I really enjoyed that,” Sandra said with sparkles in her light sky-blue eyes.

Sandra returned to New York and started working for the same company that hired her out of college in a different division and started doing millwork, which required her to travel to the mills. “I would do the design and go down and see that they printed it the way I wanted it,” Sandra explained. Over the next few years Sandra grew tired of traveling to the mills and decided to work for a small studio making linens and interior design. Sandra continued to work for various small studios and some larger companies such as Home Bedding, Burlington, America Pacific Quilt Company, Waverly, and free-lanced in between throughout her entire career.

A customer she freelanced for hired her upon hearing she might have to leave New York as a result of tough times and gave her financial stability. “It was the nicest place I ever worked,” Sandra said. “At the time I had two little Yorkies, Apple and Saucy, I could even take them to work with me because they wound up building me my own studio office.” Sandra’s office window overlooked 5th avenue towards New Jersey on the twenty-fifth floor. “All I had to do was sit there and paint,” said Sandra, “I was treated like a queen.” Sandra was able to pay off all of her bills and credit card debt while working there. She continued to work there until her boss’s son committed suicide by jumping out of one of the office’s window. Her boss sold the company to a woman who downsized it to 1/3 of the original size of the company. Her boss fought for his employees positions but Sandra told him that he’d already done so much for her that it wasn’t necessary to keep fighting for her to keep her job. She was thankful for the time she spent with the company but she felt it was time to move on. Sandra decided to return to freelancing and has been enjoying her free time ever since.

Sandra’s littlest yorkie, Saucie, passed away from liver cancer at 13. Apple lived with Sandra for a few more years until she passed the ripe old age of 18. Sandra mourned her children and waited a few more years until she even entertained the thought of adopting a new pup. When Sandra realized she kept taking walks on the same route she used to walk her yorkies she thought it might be time to get a new dog, after all it would be nice to have someone to walk with, Sandra thought.

In November 2009, Sandra wasn’t planning on getting a dog just yet, she wanted to wait until after the holidays so she could travel and visit her brother. But on her way home from walking on the Highline Sandra saw a North Shore stand next to the Apple store on 14th street. Sandra walked up to the man sitting at the North Shore stand and saw something furry wrapped up in a pink blanket with black paw prints on it. She spoke to the North Shore representative for a few minutes explaining her situation when he said to her, well would you be interested in this one? A nose and two big eyes popped out of the blanket and locked eyes with Sandra. Wrapped up tight in the blanket was a little six month old chihuahua-pinch mix. Sandra said she’d take the dog if that meant saving it from having to go to a shelter. “Luckily for that man I didn’t know anything about chihuahuas at the time, they’re not easy dogs, she’s got a lot of attitude, but she’s good, I love her, she is such a brat, and she has the strength of a mini pin” said Sandra. Sandra vouched that cookie is sweeter in the summer and becomes quite grouchy in the winter. Sandra’s friend was teasing her about naming her past dogs after food so Sandra retorted, “whatever I name her, she’s a smart cookie.” Cookie stuck after that, although she does have a few nicknames, including “Cookie Monster.”

Throughout Sandra’s life small actions out of her control have dictated her future. For instance, the luck she had with finding employment before she even graduated college, her client that hired her in her time of need and passing a North Shore stand and adopting Cookie by chance. Sandra accepted her fate and continued to swim through life without anxiety of what her next step would be. Sandra’s attitude allowed her to enjoy life in the moment and live it to the fullest. She’s currently writing the next chapter, which I’m sure will be filled with love, laughter and even more incredible adventures. Perhaps even a wedding if she takes some Benadryl.