Putting Up the Lights
Elizabeth, Rachel and Katie Miller miss their daddy. They miss sitting on Daddy's lap -- all three -- and watching the movie "Ghostbusters." They miss Daddy lying in bed to keep them warm. They miss Daddy hanging them outside of windows by ropes during the family "fire drills," making small baskets under their hips. They wonder who will put the lights on the chimney this year. Their daddy, Douglas C. Miller, 34, was a firefighter in Rescue Company 5 of Staten Island.
He and their mother, Laurie, met when he was 15, she 16. He visited relatives over the summer in Mill Rift, Pa., where Laurie grew up. When he returned home to Long Island, he sent her audio tapes of his voice, telling her he missed her. "We were young, and we were in love," said Laurie. They married seven years later. Now in the bedroom, she hangs a 20-by-15-inch picture of him, in uniform. "I am trying to be strong for the girls," she said.
A local council member has volunteered to climb their three-story house to put the lights on the chimney.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 6, 2001.