Lived the American Dream
Tatyana Bakalinskaya did not love her job. But she loved where she worked.
She was a hostess at the offices of Marsh & McLennan, tending the kitchen and making sure that there was always a pot of hot coffee available. But she worked at the World Trade Center, on the 93rd floor. "For her, every day was like a vacation," said her daughter Natalie. "You could look out the window and see all of New York City. It was too good to be true."
Mrs. Bakalinskaya, 43, came to New York from Ukraine with her family in 1994 and started working at the trade center about three years ago.
The move to America was exciting for the whole family, but Ms. Bakalinskaya took to it the most. She worked out daily at the gym, went to school to become a hairdresser and when she turned 40, told everyone that her life had just begun.
Natalie Bakalinskaya, 24, a graduate of Brooklyn College who has inherited her mother's tough work ethic, said that everyone in the family — her father, sister and grandfather — has dealt with the loss in different ways.
The holidays were difficult, but the family tradition of celebrating New Year's Eve together at home was a powerful reminder of their strength. "We prepared dinner together and gave each other gifts," Natalie said. "It was hard, but because we were all together it made it a little easier."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on April 14, 2002.