Local Pens Memoir Of Life In Rockaway And Beyond
A life changing experience near The World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 inspired V. Thomas Hoban, a Belle Harbor native, to write a letter to his family that became the basis for “The Letter,” his newly published memoir about traveling the world, taking big risks, making your own luck and cherishing what truly matters most – family. The book‘s timely and inspiring premise boasts universal appeal with elements of romance, adventure, tragedy and healing, and features a specific call to action for its readers.
On September 11, 2001, Hoban was standing on the corner of John Street and Broadway, just 200 feet from the World Trade Center when the second hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 175, slammed into the South Tower. Exactly two months later, on Veteran’s Day, November 11 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 from JFK to the Dominican Republic mysteriously crashed on takeoff into the residential neighborhood of Belle Harbor. The suspicious plane crash, just on the heels of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, hit way too close to home for Hoban – he, as well as his sister and parents, resided at the time, in Belle Harbor. For the second time in as many months, he found himself in the middle of an aviation disaster, alive but traumatized.
Cognizant of the fact that life is fleeting and truly finite, Hoban penned a letter to his wife, Adrienne, and his two children, Connor and Chloe, and instructed a trusted friend to deliver it to his family in the event that he suffers the same fate as the victims of 9/11 and is taken from this world without the chance to say goodbye. That letter, with Hoban’s deeply moving message of love and gratitude for his family and his life’s lessons for his children to follow, remained tucked away until it became the subject of discussion at a reunion dinner in late 2008 and inspired his memoir. The letter is actually published in the book.
“The Letter,” with its light blue cover and scenic photo of the beach that closely resembles the Rockaway Beach shoreline, is written with complete candor and irrepressible humor and takes readers on a thrilling ride of Hoban’s colorful life. The book begins with the author’s days as a red-haired, freckle-faced child actor and highlights his boyhood adventures growing up in Rockaway where he was an avid baseball player and lifeguard with the 106 Street Shack and details the many shenanigans he pulled growing up as a teenager in Belle Harbor.
The book then takes you along his travels throughout Europe as a student studying abroad up through his adrenaline filled days in what was one of the most exciting times in the stock market on Wall Street, during the go-go 1990s. Readers will be in awe of his amazing ascent into the world of gambling in the casinos of Atlantic City and Las Vegas until he is stopped dead in his tracks by his experience on 9/11.
Never dull or slow moving, “The Letter” is peppered with moments of absolute hilarity that will have onlookers wondering what’s so funny, as well as several eyebrow raising anecdotes that may cause a reader’s jaw to drop frequently. These include Hoban’s “Mrs. Robinson” affair in Paris as a 15-yearold boy and later, losing his entire net worth on two separate occasions, making a huge score in the stock market and some unbelievably risky and logic defying casino wins. Tales from Hoban’s youth serve as a sharp contrast to where he is today, a humbled and devoted “work at home” dad living a simpler life, who is now inspiring others with his first work of non-fiction. A compelling and poignant memoir, “The Letter” beckons us to embrace life, each and every day, and to be grateful for our greatest treasure – our families.
“I love life, love my family and love my kids, and I’m extremely grateful for everything I have. As you get older, you learn that your family is everything,” Hoban explained.
“The Letter,” with appeal for men and women alike, is unique in that it has a specific call to action for its readers. Hoban aims to inspire others to take stock of their lives in these times of uncertainty, with a change of perspective to a place of gratitude for their families. He urges others to pay it forward by writing an “emotional insurance” policy with letters of their own to their loved ones.
“Unlike the 3,000 souls who perished on 9/11 and didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones, we all have the unique opportunity to prepare a letter of love for our families that will offer personal closure in the unfortunate event of our demise,” states Hoban, a financial services professional of twenty years. “It is my sincere hope that people realize legacy is greater than currency and that their riches and wealth in life come from their investments in love and family, not possessions and net worth.”
V. Thomas Hoban will be sharing the inspiration for his memoir “The Letter” during a book signing at The Blue Bungalow, located on Beach 116 Street, on Thursday, July 22 at 7 p.m.