Son's Cake and Candles
Robert T. Lane was a man whose size might have been intimidating were it not for his magnetic smile. Name a sport, and this towering firefighter played it, but his favorite hobby was cooking.
"He'd go to restaurants and try to duplicate their food back at the firehouse," said his mother, Janet Lane.
Mr. Lane started work at Engine Company 55 three years ago this month. That was fitting, because November was the month his parents married and the month he and his sister were born.
This November, on their anniversary, the Lanes dined at Trattoria Romana, a restaurant near their Staten Island home. They ordered shrimp fra diavolo over linguine ‹ their son's favorite dish. They paid the check with a gift certificate he had given them.
Mr. Lane would have turned 29 on Nov. 29, and until last week his family planned to take a cake, lighted with candles, to the site of the World Trade Center on that day. But they learned last week that their son's body might have been among a group retrieved from the rubble, something that will still take weeks to confirm. So now they will have their cake at home, his mother said, "and hope he isn't down under there anymore."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 24, 2001.
ROBERT T. LANE, 28, of New York, was a firefighter and self-taught mechanic who hoped to take a souped-up 1983 Pontiac Grand Prix through its paces at a New Jersey race track in the spring. "It's a piece of junk as far as I'm concerned," said his mother, Janet Lane, "but he loved that car." Her son is among the firefighters missing at the World Trade Center site. Lane had always aspired to be a fireman. He was sworn in to the New York department in 1998, just days before his 26th birthday. Before that he had had a variety of jobs, from school bus driver to chef to bartender. "He did every odd job you could think of," his mother said. "He would just take these jobs and knew it wasn't going to be forever, because he was getting into the fire department and that was it."
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press