One question that people having been asking since the occupation of Zuccotti Park lasted longer than a weekend is, how long? How much longer, ballpark, will the Wall Street protesters stay camped out? Will the December chill drive them out? Will a January filled with sleet and snow that a certain someone will conveniently forget to remove do it? According to Stacey Hessler, not on her watch. The Florida resident, mother of four, and wife of a financial services employee named Curtis says she’s gotten comfortable.
“I’m not planning on going home,” an unapologetic Stacey Hessler, 38, told The Post yesterday. “I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m here indefinitely. Forever,” said Hessler, whose home in DeLand sits 911 miles from the tarp she’s been sleeping under.
And sorry, she’s not sorry. For those giving Stacey shit (her mom, husband, children, strangers), if you think she can just walk away, think again. Her place is here, in New York, with her new roommate, at the empathy table.
Hessler arrived 12 days ago and planned to stay for a week, but changed her plans after cozying up to some like-minded radicals, including Rami Shamir, 30, a waiter at a French bistro in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. She swears she’s not romantically involved with her new friend. Yesterday was a typical day for the pair, who woke up at 8 a.m. on their little patch of paving stone near the communal kitchen and dashed off to Trinity Church to wash up. Hessler emerged an hour later, her brown hair in dreadlocks, wearing a T-shirt depicting Han Solo and Princess Leia kissing, and bearing the slogan “Make Love Not War.” She got coffee and a granola bar from the protest kitchen before sorting laundry for two hours. At around 11 a.m. yesterday, Hessler moved from laundry duty to park cleanup — a four-hour detail from which she broke just once to give a troubled protester a hug at the “empathy table.”
Hessler has spoken with her family — husband Curtiss, 42; son Peyton, 17; and daughters Kennedy 15, Sullivan, 13, and Veda, 7 — just three times since leaving them. “Friends are taking care of them,” she said. Not everyone has supported her decision. “My mother told me I was being very selfish,” she admitted. And her husband, a former Bank of America financial adviser who now works at a local Florida bank, is perplexed. “He says he’s working for ‘the Man,’ and I’m fighting against him,” she said.
To which Stacey says she tells him: “Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad? I’m fighting for a better world.”