When we think of the term “survivor’s guilt”, we typically picture those who somehow escaped a tragic car accident that claimed others’ lives, or who lived to rebuild their lives after natural disasters like the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Over the last two and a half years, however, a new and growing breed of American survivors has emerged, with guilt firmly intact: those who have kept their jobs despite endless rounds of layoffs, closures, and foreclosures.
Fort Dix, N.J.: The residents who traverse the blue cinderblock wall hallways, decorated only by stenciled warnings not to loiter and to "keep your hands out of pockets," are focused on two things: getting through each day and the date they will be released.
But on a recent Monday afternoon, two dozen men in dun-colored uniforms are bent over worksheets on their desks in a pair of windowless rooms at the Midstate Correctional Facility here focusing on something larger than themselves: the heroes in their lives.
Audrey and Bruce Carlson of Newington, Conn., traveled to Chile at the end of 2003 to watch some basketball. Their daughter, Leslie, was a member of the U.S. open women's basketball team in the 10th Pan American Maccabi Games.
Leslie's parents also went as scouts.
"They came to Chile to find me a Jewish husband," she said.
Leslie didn't need their help.
A resident of the Upper East Side and a graduate of George Washington University, which she attended on a basketball scholarship, Leslie is returning to Maccabi competition next week.