Louis Arena: Scent of a
Arena loved being a firefighter, and one of the ways he
showed it was this: He would return to his Staten Island
home from Ladder Company 5 and tell his wife, Wanda,
"Smell my head."
Mrs. Arena, 31, was crazy about the way her husband
smelled, especially after a fire. She would rub his hair
and breathe the smell of smoke and sweat from his
The two had been friends since grade school, and
married for the last six years, yet this was one of the
rare times she had her husband to herself. "I used to be
so jealous" of the other firefighters, she said. "I'd
tease him, 'You love them more than me.'"
The couple had two children, Nina, 4, and Joseph, 3.
They dreamed of retiring to Key West, sleeping on the
beach and listening to Jimmy Buffett. Over the summer,
she bought him tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert in
Now Mrs. Arena is left with the unused tickets, and
with the shirt he wore their last day together, on a trip
to a Long Island beach. She has not washed the shirt, she
said. She lost her husband, who was 32, but she cannot
part with the last traces of his scent.