NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman

21Apr/133

Marathon Memories

My Press Pass, 2013

Going to the Boston Marathon is like going to Dis­ney. Every­one is smil­ing and laugh­ing except maybe the run­ners till they cool down. I am not going to let the sad events sur­round­ing the 117th run­ning of the Boston Marathon take away from the won­der­ful mem­o­ries I have of cov­er­ing it since 1967.

At the Boston Record Amer­i­can it was huge. There were a lot of pho­tog­ra­phers assigned. In 1967 women were not allowed to run, nor was there a wheelchair-sanctioned race. The crowds and amount of run­ners paled to what it has become today.

We cov­ered the begin­ning, the Welles­ley Col­lege coeds at their water tables, Heart­break Hill in New­ton, the fin­ish line and the med­ical tent.  One pho­tog­ra­pher was assigned to the photographer’s truck, which was usu­ally a beat up flat bed truck. At least once the pho­tog­ra­phers had to get off the truck and push it out of the way. Many run­ners com­plained about the fumes from the truck. I never got that assignment.

Back then the Pru­den­tial Insur­ance was the spon­sor so the race ended on the strip in front of the Pru­den­tial Tower. As the race would come down Com­mon­wealth Avenue the run­ners would take the right on Glouces­ter Street and the truck would go straight down Com­mon­wealth Avenue.  At the fin­ish line there were sev­eral pho­tog­ra­phers. A Boston motor­cy­cle cop, Gene Lee, a great ath­lete him­self would be assigned to grab our film of the fin­ish and race it to our office in down­town Boston. Page One would be a photo of the win­ner. I worked the lab for my first Marathon.

The wire ser­vices set up a dark­room in a school right near the start of the race, which always began at noon. They would have a photo on the wires within ten min­utes for the after­noon papers.  I worked the lab for my first race. Kather­ine Switzer a col­lege stu­dent reg­is­tered for the race as K.V. Switzer and got a num­ber. When Jock Sem­ple a BAA race offi­cial saw K.V. was a woman he jumped into the start of the race and tried to wres­tle her out. Ms. Switzer had put her hair up to dis­guise her­self. Other run­ners blocked Sem­ple from throw­ing her out. Don Robin­son of UPI was the only pho­tog­ra­pher to get the shots. That caused quite a bit of grief for our pho­tog­ra­pher who was on the truck. Back then we did it our­selves. It was not a good thing to see a credit, which read AP or UPI photo. It would be five more years before woman were sanc­tioned.       

My first out­side cov­er­age was in 1968. I was assigned to the start­ing line. I was given a Polaroid Cam­era, a steplad­der, one of the wire ser­vices portable trans­mit­ters and instructed to find some­one who would let me use their home phone to trans­mit the start of the race. I would only have one chance to get the photo, as Polaroid’s were not fast. I did get it and it was Page One.

Late 60s, me help­ing one of the run­ners get set for a self por­trait. Note, I was
taller, thin­ner and had hair.

I also had to get some fea­ture pho­tos of run­ners and bring back some sto­ries to go with the pho­tos. It was a lot of fun. I helped peo­ple tak­ing pho­tos of each other some­times grab­bing their cam­eras to take the pho­tos so both the shooter and sub­ject could be together. One year I met this cou­ple, both UMass Amherst stu­dents who were going to run the race together. They told me they were insep­a­ra­ble. Within a year of the race they would be killed in a car crash. Although they were not mar­ried they were buried together. Because of my pho­tos we cov­ered the story.

Rac­ing down to the wire, slip­pery day in front of the Pru­den­tial Tower.

I cov­ered the fin­ish many times. There was no yel­low tape and I could roam wher­ever I wanted. I was at the fin­ish line when the first wheel­chair race was sanc­tioned. I had a shot of two run­ners rac­ing for the 3rd & 4th posi­tion with one of them falling before he crossed the line.

Patty Lyons Cata­lano with her sis­ters after the finish.

Patty Lyons Cata­lano, a local favorite who every­one thought would win the Boston Marathon in 1981 was beaten by Ali­son Roe. It was unex­pected. I was at the fin­ish line when Patty was greeted by her sis­ters and the dis­ap­point­ment of not win­ning the race.

In 1982 I went into TV. The Boston Marathon was a huge event back then. We arrived in Hop­kin­ton around 6:am the Sun­day before the Mon­day race with thou­sands of feet of cable. It was at least a 12-hour day with many cam­eras being set up. We would be live through the early morn­ing show on Mon­day, then the start and through­out the race. The only time I got in front of the run­ners is when I rode shot­gun while John Premack ran the cam­era for live cov­er­age of the race from a small pickup truck.

There were some funny times. Bill Rodgers a local race favorite would win the race four times. I went to his Mel­rose home one race morn­ing then fol­lowed him to Hop­kin­ton. There was a crew from Japan doing the same thing. We were dri­ving west on the Mass Pike when the Japan­ese crew decided to pull up along side the Rodgers’ car to get shots, only prob­lem Rodger’s car got off the ramp at Route 495 and they ended up going fur­ther west miss­ing the exit. It was a very funny moment.

Johnny Kelly the elder who won the race twice and fin­ished sec­ond seven times ran his 61st and last race in 1992. I was almost home when the phone rang. Joe Roche on the assign­ment desk for Chan­nel Five real­ized at 630:pm we had no one at the fin­ish line for Johnny Kelly. I raced back and got Johnny fin­ish­ing the race and col­laps­ing into his wife’s arms.

Women and wheel­chairs all became part of the Boston Marathon. Photo from my still days.

After many years of cov­er­age I got some senior­ity and took the April school vaca­tion week off to spend time with my fam­ily. It meant not cov­er­ing the race but being able to watch it. We went to New­ton, at the begin­ning of Heart Break Hill where a very fes­tive group was watching.

Wheel­chair win­ner, late 70s.

Forty six years after my first Marathon, April 15, 2013 it all changed. I was sit­ting at the South Bay Mall at 2:50pm when I heard a Boston Police Offi­cer scream­ing for mul­ti­ple ambu­lances to Boyl­ston Street he had 40–50 peo­ple injured.

At first I thought he said 71 Boyl­ston Street which is down by the Boston Com­mon. I fig­ured a mov­ing vehi­cle hit the peo­ple. Then it changed to 671 Boyl­ston Street and I knew it was some­thing to do with the Marathon, but I still thought a vehi­cle had struck the people.

Then it hap­pened, some­one said on one of the chan­nels I was lis­ten­ing to it was an explo­sion, a bomb went off. I was yelling into the two-way radio to the sta­tion and try­ing to get around traf­fic through the South End of Boston to the explo­sion area. I got lucky and got behind some fire com­mand cars and police cruis­ers. I shut the radios off, as I only wanted to con­cen­trate on get­ting there safely. I knew we had crews at the med­ical tent. I fig­ured we would be all set where the explo­sion took place.

I tried to park where I could see the top of the Pru­den­tial Tower where one of our receive sites for microwave was anchored. I knew I might have to feed tape or go live with my vehi­cle. When I finally parked on the island in the mid­dle of Hunt­ing­ton Avenue I was very excited. I opened the trunk area to get my equip­ment out, had to change mic bat­ter­ies as I for­got to shut it off the last time I used it and con­tin­ued to shake. I knew my daugh­ter Han­nah was in Boston, but I also knew she should not be in this area.

Then my cell phone rang, it was Han­nah and I lost it. I screamed at her “get the fuck out of the City,” and I said it sev­eral times. I was so happy to hear her voice.

I got my shit together and started to shoot video. Many were cry­ing, scared and won­der­ing what to do as the police were urg­ing them to keep mov­ing and get out of the area. I talked to some eye­wit­nesses, got video of lots of peo­ple hug­ging and cry­ing. I got a shot of one injured runner.

I was never able to get into the explo­sion area. The police shut it down very quickly. I stayed on Hunt­ing­ton Avenue till 8:pm. I heard a call the police were going to a high-rise apart­ment build­ing two streets form Revere Beach. There were sev­eral police depart­ments there includ­ing, FBI, ATF, MSP, Home­land Secu­rity. They were there because at the Brigham & Woman’s Hos­pi­tal there was an injured man who became a per­son of inter­est. He lives in this build­ing. Finally after 11:pm the inves­ti­ga­tors left and I got to go home.  At 2:30am the phone rang and I was asked to go back to Revere. There were some Tweets the inves­ti­ga­tion was con­tin­u­ing. I drove back, looked around, noth­ing and went home. I got another hour of sleep and went back to work.

Part of the makeshift memo­r­ial in Cop­ley Square. This is where the med­ical tent was for the race. Most of the injured were treated within 100 feet of the memorial.

Two days after the blast, on Wednes­day,  Jack Harper and I inter­viewed one of the “heroes” of the blast Tracy Munroe. She tear­fully told us how she and her fam­ily left the area right after the blast. Then she knew she had to go back to help and ran back. She saw the Richards’ fam­ily. Mar­tin Richards an eight year old was dead at the scene. She picked up his six year old sis­ter, Jane and held her in her arms. She asked her name, said com­fort­ing words and held her until med­ical peo­ple came to help her.  Jane lost one of her legs and her mother has a severe brain injury from the blast.

As Jack and I lis­tened we both became teary eyed. After the inter­view I told her she reminded me of the teacher from New­town, Kaitlin Roid who told her stu­dents as she hid them and lis­tened to the gun­shots, “I need you to know that I love you all very much, I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear. I thought we were all going to die.”  She said she did not want the last sounds they heard to be gunfire.

Thurs­day after the explo­sion was calm until after ten that night. I received a call say­ing a police offi­cer had been shot near MIT. I called it in and tried to go back to sleep. Just after 1:am, Nancy Bent on the desk called to get me going yelling cops are being shot at, bombs are being thrown and one of the sus­pects was dead.

I raced to Water­town where I would spend the next 16 hours. There were thou­sands of cops rac­ing around from one lead to the next. The area was pretty much shut down and with all the vehi­cles rac­ing around I decided to pull over so I would not get hit by one of them.

Around 4:pm my eyes were start­ing to close and I went home. My wife Deb­bie woke me up when the announce­ment came the sec­ond sus­pect was trapped in a boat in someone’s back­yard. We watched until the press con­fer­ence and the offi­cial announce­ment he had been cap­tured and trans­ferred to the hospital.

Med­ford City Hall is draped with a 45/90 foot flag as the City pays their respects to Marathon Blast vic­tim Krystie Camp­bell, whose funeral was held on April, 22, 2013.

As a pro­fes­sional newsper­son I am dis­ap­pointed I did not get any com­pelling video but happy to have been a part of the cov­er­age. I sat out New­town and the Bliz­zard of 2013, due to an injury. I am glad I got to cover this awful event.

Memento from the April 24, 2013, very mov­ing memo­r­ial at MIT for their police offi­cer Sean Collier.

I am proud to say I work for the best local tele­vi­sion sta­tion in the Coun­try, WCVB-TV. We have a great team who worked many days and long hours together dur­ing this tragic event. We shared our grief and anx­i­ety. Only WBZ-TV con­tin­ues to cover the Boston Marathon locally. Sev­eral years ago it was decided not to cover the race live. From a busi­ness stand point it did not work any­more. It will be inter­est­ing to see what the sta­tions and net­works do next year.

Here is a link to com­pelling audio of the first 20 min­utes after the explo­sion. The com­mand­ing office Yan­kee C2 is Dan Lin­sky of the Boston Police Depart­ment. Notice how calm and orga­nized he is.

http://www.lawofficer.com/video/news/police-audio-boston-marathon-e

Here is the link to Diane Sawyer’s inter­view with Kaitlin Roig a cou­ple of months after New­town.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/newtown-teacher-mission/story?id=18864583#.UXXQXL-IIip

 

 

 

 

11Mar/125

For All The Dogs And Cats And Birds And Rats I Used To Know

Abby, Glossy, Hobo around 1982. Arnold Arboretum.

Each morn­ing as I watch my 13-year-old dog Lily fad­ing into the next phase of life I can only hope she will make it easy on me in the end. She is suf­fer­ing from demen­tia. Yea, you think only humans have demen­tia, well you are incor­rect. She is eat­ing well and tak­ing her busi­ness out­side. It is her fogged, con­fused look, which is very painful to see.

 I have always had a dog. Grow­ing up we had our first fam­ily dog, Peachy, (imag­ine giv­ing a pet that name now) a Fox Ter­rier. We bought her at Puppy Haven, a dog mill on Route One in Saugus. Funny thing, it was located about fifty feet from where Hooter’s now stands.

She was a great dog, only bit me once, then my father bit her. She never bit any­one again. She was also my best friend who died when I was about 13. One day we were all sit­ting on the front porch and I saw a rodent walk­ing across the street.  Peachy was off and run­ning. Lit­tle did I know it was a rat? Peachy knew and prac­ti­cally jumped over a four-foot chain link fence to grab it, snap it up and down, till my father was able to cor­ral our dog and take her home. I was always told that ter­ri­ers were tough and she proved it.

Our rat project!

When my daugh­ter Molly was in ele­men­tary school we ended up with two white rats from her school project. Our pets only got to drool over them as they watched them in our rat aquar­ium. It was lots of fun hold­ing them to clean their cage, ugh.

After that we had a Cocker Spaniel we called Sparky. He was crazy and kept tak­ing off or should we say run­ning away. Sparky had an ID on him so we would always go and retrieve him. He always ended up with fam­i­lies with kids. The last time he ran away my father saw how happy he was with a house full of kids.  He went home, got Sparky’s bowl and dog food and said good-bye.

My next dog as a kid was Tammy, a Wire­hair Ter­rier. What a great dog she was. She lived till I was in my late 20s. Once again my father had to take our dog to our vet Dr. Barry to take her out of her misery.

In 1975 I got my first dog as an adult. I had seen an old friend, Michael Weis­berg walk­ing a lit­ter of Golden Retriev­ers on Revere Beach. I asked him about them and three months later I picked her up dur­ing the long Thanks­giv­ing week­end. What fun! When I went to bed that night I looked down at her lying next to my bed and told her when she is ten, I will be 40.

I named her Glossy (like in pic­tures) and with­out her I would never have met my won­der­ful wife Deb­bie. I used to take Glossy to the Arnold Arbore­tum in Jamaica Plain every morn­ing. Glossy was a very smart dog and fell in love with a puppy named Abby. Lucky for me at the other end of the leash was Deb­bie. Now I am at the other end of her leash. What a find Glossy made.

Glossy and Abby around 1983, Arnold Arboretum.

We had to put up a kid’s gate to keep these two large dogs from sleep­ing in the bed with us. The day we took Glossy to the vet for her last visit we were so sad we went out and bought a new car. What the heck, we were sad, no kids and two jobs, why not soften the pain?

32 years and many pets later we still have too many pets. At one time we had four dogs, Abby, Glossy, Hobo and Candy. Hobo arrived at my door one fall after­noon and I could not shoo him away. About 4:30 that after­noon I got a call from some­one at the Her­ald where I was work­ing, telling me I had hit the bookie for $4730.00 on the daily number.

I went out­side to see if that dog was still there, picked him up in my arms and gave him a big hug. Next day we went to the vet, found out he had heart­worm. I gave the Vet a bunch of 50-dollar bills and asked Dr. Duka to try and cure him. He would and the won­der­ful dog we named Hobo was with us for many years.

The only prob­lem with Hobo is when we had babies and they moved too fast he would attack, not bite but grab their pant legs or what­ever they had on, it was like a dog chas­ing a car. He hated the baby walker as Molly used to buzz around the house with Hobo chas­ing after her.

When were able to keep the kids in a playpen Molly would share her bot­tle of milk with him. She hung the bot­tle out for him and he would grab onto the nip­ple, the same one she was drink­ing from. If we ever told any­one about that we prob­a­bly would have been charged with child endangerment.

Molly’s first bot­tle at home with Candy not let­ting go of her prime position.

Then there was Candy, a Toy Poo­dle, who we got from my sis­ter Renee after she moved into a com­plex that did not allow pets. Candy was 8 years old but lived till she was almost 17. Before kids Candy was Debbie’s baby. She would bark till Deb­bie car­ried her around in her arms. We owned a two fam­ily house at that time; both of us worked and one day our ten­ant said, “what are you going to do to keep that dog quiet?” I said, “noth­ing, we own the house,” and sug­gested they bring her to their apart­ment dur­ing the day.

Even­tu­ally I had put all four of them to “sleep,” in a 15-year span. My good friend Nat Whit­te­more once told me to bury your dog in your heart and get another one. We never have to rush to get another one, as we always seem to have mul­ti­ple dogs.

Vanilla, Molly and Lewis, Han­nah and Lily around 2000.

Another day my mother in-law Bar­bara told us about a beau­ti­ful Stan­dard Poo­dle named Vanilla, who needed a new home. What a hand­some, smart dog. He loved the kids and us but devel­oped a bad skin infec­tion. So there I was bathing him in the bath­tub at least twice a week.

Before that we adopted Cindy, a Grey­hound, who could not catch the rab­bit at the race­track so instead she caught us at a weak moment. Sort of a nice dog, very fast, not exactly a lap dog. She also had ter­ri­ble breath and we had to remove some of her rot­ted teeth. So Vanilla had a smelly body and Cindy had bad breath, no won­der other dogs did not want to play with us.

Lewis try­ing to get to Twinkie.

Some­where in between cats and dogs my father got a para­keet. My father was sickly and wanted to make sure my mother had com­pany after he passed on. His favorite desert was Twinkies (they are about to be gone also) thus she was named Twinkie. After my father died my mother gave us Twinkie. What­ever cats we had at that time lusted after Twinkie as did the dogs.

One day on my way to work Deb­bie called me to tell me Twinkie was gone, lying on the bot­tom of the cage. I raced home, grabbed her, a shovel and went out to the back­yard. It took at least two weeks before either of the girls asked where Twinkie was.

Sable, Molly and Han­nah around 1990, in Marblehead.

I had seen a Shar Pei on the TV pro­gram NYPD Blue and fell in love with their wrin­kles. I had hit the num­ber again; actu­ally I hit it three times that week, no not for a lot of money about $600.00 so the search was on. Many calls later I ended up at the south­ern tip of Rhode Island to bring home Sable. I brought her home and we put up a gate to keep her away from our babies. First night over the gate she goes to get to the kids. No prob­lem she was just another baby girl in our house.

When Molly was six she con­vinced us to get a cat. The deal was if she would stop suck­ing her thumb for a month we would bring a cat into the house. His name was Jessie, (now called Lewis). Great first cat, had very lit­tle to do with us till we brought our sec­ond cat Pump­kin home.

Pump­kin knew about affec­tion and Lewis learned from her. But of course Pump­kin never came out of our bed­rooms as Vanilla cor­nered her one-day while try­ing to play and scared the heck out of her. When­ever she would hear the dogs bark she would hide under a bed. She usu­ally slept with us, nuz­zled against Debbie’s neck.

Some­time after Sable and Cindy were gone we all made our way back to Rhode Island to get another Shar Pei, our Lily. Lily liked to chase cats although now she doesn’t chase much of any­thing any­more. But it was con­stant effort to get her to leave them alone. Now that she has slowed down the cats like her

In another weak moment after Vanilla was gone we got Jack. Jack is a Golden Doo­dle, who loves every­one. Plays with the cats, used to wres­tle with Lily every morn­ing after break­fast and walks with me everyday.

Last year we lost Pump­kin. We woke up one morn­ing and she could not get her head out of the water bowl, almost drown­ing. She had some kind of major body fail­ure and once again I had to stand there and hold a pet while she was put to sleep.

Our dom­i­nant cat Sophie or as I like to call her Mean Sophie!

Don’t worry we replaced her with two kit­tens who were not used to dogs or other cats. They were res­cued from two dif­fer­ent loca­tions and ended up together at the shel­ter and had to be adopted together. We could not resist. We kept them in the fam­ily room with the doors closed to keep the other ani­mals from them for almost four months. Another rea­son was to keep our dom­i­nant mean cat Sophie from tor­tur­ing them. Oh yea, we got Sophie dur­ing another weak moment.

Chloe wait­ing for breakfast.

The good thing about Zoe and Chloe is our daugh­ter Han­nah is going to take them once she gets an apart­ment where she can have pets. Of course she will have to ask the cats if they want to go. Zoe and Chloe are still very shy although Zoe fol­lows me every­where and Chloe runs when­ever she sees me. Lately she is let­ting me pat her but that is when I am going to feed her.

If there were a nurs­ing home for dogs Lily would be in it. She already lives in assisted liv­ing. Every morn­ing when I get up Jack and the cats greet me. I have to wake Lily up, shake her, and then make sure she watches me so she knows she is going out. She is stone deaf, I am only hard of hear­ing so I sort of know what she is going through. Then she for­gets which way the door opens and is always in the way.

It doesn’t look like a good year for a cou­ple of my pets. Most days I have to mas­sage our 17-year-old cat Lewis’ hips as he drags him­self around the house with his hindquar­ters drag­ging. Then Lilly is a state of con­fu­sion but con­tin­ues to eat and play once she fig­ures out where she is, but the con­fu­sion grows.

Painful to look at our aging pets then look in the mir­ror and real­ize I am aging along with them. No one ever said life was easy!