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


Make Love Not War


Occupy Boston dur­ing arrests, freeze frame taken from my video.

After 45 years and hun­dreds of police con­fronta­tions I saw the slo­gan born in the 60s when the anti Viet­nam War protests came to life, only reversed. It was Sat­ur­day morn­ing at 5am when Boston Police moved in on the Occupy Boston pro­tes­tors and the city took back the Dewey Square encampment.

I had got­ten cred­i­ble infor­ma­tion Fri­day, that the police would be mov­ing in and, along with the infor­ma­tion the office received, the sta­tion cov­ered what we thought was going to hap­pen all night, Fri­day into Sat­ur­day morning.

Thurs­day the Judge’s order came down telling Mayor Menino and the City of Boston they could do what they wanted as far as remov­ing the pro­tes­tors from their camp. I stayed at the site till 2am Fri­day but noth­ing hap­pened that morning.

I left my house at 2am Sat­ur­day morn­ing to posi­tion myself at what was to be and spent the next cou­ple of hours try­ing to stay awake. Some­times I did but there were those five-minute dozes so I kept set­ting my alarm for 10 min­utes away so I would not sleep through the action.

There was radio silence on the scan­ners except for two unusual calls around 4:30am. I had an addi­tional advan­tage when a friend of mine chirped me around the same time to say he saw a group of cops form­ing at one of their loca­tions. I was stand­ing on the cor­ner of Sum­mer Street and Atlantic Avenue look­ing up Sum­mer Street towards South Boston, I saw a Boston Cop down the next block appear­ing to be ready to direct traffic.

Then the lights started to come over the hori­zon, hun­dreds of lights and I did see one blue light, which was prob­a­bly the error of who­ever turned it on. There were more head­lights and even more as the parade of vehi­cles just kept extend­ing. I got on the phone with the office and spoke to Lawrence Crook on the assign­ment desk to tell him the police were com­ing. I heard Gerry Ward­well in the back­ground telling whomever to launch the heli­copter. It was excit­ing and of course, nerve wrack­ing since the group was still a block or so away. I hoped I was correct.

When they arrived they were mostly in econo van type vehi­cles, scores of them. Noth­ing like I was used to from the 60s and 70s when the TPF (Tac­ti­cal Police Force) would roll in with their blue lights blaz­ing, sirens scream­ing, horses clip­perty clop­ping and motor­cy­cles roar­ing, plus they had a con­verted school bus painted BPD col­ors with a small sign in the win­dow call­ing it the “War Wagon”.

This was well orga­nized, cops get­ting out of their vehi­cles encir­cling the camp and the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions team wear­ing their black fatigues. The only armor they had on them was mul­ti­ple plas­tic ties, which would be used as handcuffs.

The Occupy pro­tes­tors who were awake sounded the alarm, run­ning through the encamp­ment scream­ing “Get up, get up, they are fuck­ing here, wake the fuck up!” It was the mod­ern day ver­sion of Paul Revere and William Dawes’ ride to warn the Patri­ots the British were com­ing. I recorded it all and got myself in a posi­tion where I could escape the cor­ralling of the media as most were kept in one place, which gave every­one some access and but also kept us out of the way of the operation.

The con­tain­ing of the media was not to hide any­thing. They needed to able to keep us from roam­ing freely or we could have com­pro­mised the oper­a­tion. I was able to escape the stock­yard cor­ral and wan­dered freely for the first few min­utes. I fol­lowed the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions group as they tipped over tents and sliced some of them up. Before each search and destroy mis­sion the offi­cers made sure there was no one in the tents, yelling and look­ing in to make sure they were empty before com­plet­ing their final mission.

At the begin­ning of the oper­a­tion I was inside the encamp­ment as Cap­tain Bernie O’Rourke, Super­in­ten­dent William Evans and Super­in­ten­dent Dan Linskey used bull­horns to tell all the pro­tes­tors what was going to hap­pen, giv­ing them all time to leave. The pro­tes­tors could pick up some of their belong­ings and not be arrested.  The police were almost beg­ging them to leave and being polite beyond belief. Dur­ing the 60s, if you were in the way it did not mat­ter if you were a pro­tes­tor or a cam­era car­ry­ing media per­son, if you were in the way you had to go. Many times back then you either left within the first few min­utes on your own or you left in the wagon, and the arrest process was any­thing but gentle.

When the police finally started mak­ing arrests we were all pushed back. The paddy wag­ons were used to trans­port the arrested and when they backed in we lost our view. I spoke to Jamie Keneally, one of the BPD spokes­men work­ing with us, and asked about a pool pho­tog­ra­pher for the arrests. He spoke to Super­in­ten­dent Linskey and the next thing I knew I was in amongst the cops and Occupy Peo­ple as they were hand­cuffed and placed in the wagon.

When a few of the pro­tes­tors locked arms the cops very gen­tly pulled them apart. I watched Lt. Bob Merner (a cop who loves what he does) sep­a­rate them and make sure no one was hurt. To the end they were giv­ing a chance to leave and not be arrested. I heard both Linskey and Evans try­ing to con­vince some of them they could just walk away and not get cuffed and arrested. For the police it was like “mak­ing love not war.”

Wow, this whole oper­a­tion was so excit­ing, I got to do three phone inter­views dur­ing our morn­ing show. Ed Hard­ing, the anchor, asked me a cou­ple of ques­tions and let me talk about what I had seen. I have decided if there is ever an open­ing for “Nurs­ing Home News” I will be a can­di­date. I’d be per­fect; an older, over­weight, prac­ti­cally bald, shrink­ing anchor. All they will have to do is find some clothes for me to wear besides the jeans and sweat­shirts I own now.


I don’t go to Church but I know my Churches

Church of the Holy Cross Cathe­dral, Wash­ing­ton Street, Boston’s South End

After work­ing news for the last 45 years and cov­er­ing all too many funer­als at the beau­ti­ful Cathe­dral of The Holy Cross Church in Boston’s South End, I really got to see the full splen­dor of it recently attend­ing my nephew’s wedding.

I knew it was going to be fun when Aunt Kit said to me on the way into the cer­e­mony she will fol­low my lead as to when to stand-up and when to kneel. I looked at her and said I doubt that, you bet­ter watch what every­one else does like me as I am also not a Catholic.

The night even got bet­ter when we found metered park­ing spaces out­side one of the most beau­ti­ful wed­ding recep­tions I had ever been to at the Cop­ley Fair­mount, even if I had to wait till 6:pm for the meters to no longer be active.

Father William Rus­sell (no, not the bas­ket­ball player) deliv­ered the homily for the wed­ding cer­e­mony which brought smiles and laugh­ter to all of us. After we left the church I went up to him and told him what a great (I had to ask him what they called that part of the cer­e­mony and he even spelled it out for me) hom­i­lies he deliv­ered. When I told him I would be blog­ging about this event and asked for his email address so I could for­ward it to him his response was “I don’t even know how to turn a com­puter on,” lucky him.

His hom­i­lies had some great quotes regard­ing how the 29 year old bride had been able to stay sin­gle so long and said; “If I had been a younger man and in a dif­fer­ent line of work Laura would have been spo­ken for already but I think Christo­pher (the groom) was well worth the wait.”

Then he said mar­riage is about com­pro­mise not always 50/50, some­times 90/10 as he told sto­ries about his par­ents. His father loved to watch Sun­day foot­ball on TV. His mother, know­ing this, put a Cross on top of the TV to remind him to lift his eyes to God at least on the com­mer­cials and he left it there to appease her.

He then told us how after din­ner every night he and his five sib­ling broth­ers were sent out of the room and the doors would shut while his mother and father would dis­cuss their day. The boys would stand at the crack of the door try­ing to lis­ten to their con­ver­sa­tion. One that he always remem­bers was when his mother said to his father “why don’t you say you love me?” His father answered “I do.” She asked “do what” and he answered “what you just asked me.” This went back and forth sev­eral times till he said the words “I love you,” which made his mother very happy.  Every­thing Father Rus­sell said was warm, fuzzy and brought a warm feel­ing to the bride and groom along with the guests.

I have lis­tened to and cov­ered Car­di­nals giv­ing memo­r­ial masses, beau­ti­ful Christ­mas cer­e­monies and even Cardinal’s wakes. But the hom­i­lies I heard from Father Bill Rus­sell made the church seem all the more beautiful.

Richard Car­di­nal Cush­ing say­ing the memo­r­ial Mass after Bobby Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion at the Cathe­dral in 1968.

On our way to the church which I had not been in for many years, I repeat­edly told my girls how I had seen Richard Car­di­nal Cushing’s hat raised to the rafters for his funeral cel­e­bra­tion in 1970. The Cardinal’s dying was huge in Boston as he was loved by all. Well maybe not all as some of the vet­eran reporters who had to cover him were not too pleased some­times as when deal­ing with the Car­di­nal it was his way or the highway.

Sit­ting there look­ing at the three car­di­nals hats (I don’t know who the other two hats belong to which hang from the ceil­ing over the altar) made me think back to the many times I cov­ered Car­di­nal Cush­ing. I always believed he knew I was not a Catholic as I never knelt to kiss the ring on his hand but we did shake hands.

I was at the press con­fer­ence in the late 60s at his res­i­dence on Com­mon­wealth Avenue near Boston Col­lege, (who now owns the prop­erty) when he announced he had can­cer. We all thought there was some kind of ill­ness he was suf­fer­ing from but until he told us it was a mys­tery. I was with reporter Ollie Bren­nan who had him­self a Page One story that day. Ollie went on from us to join the Globe as their TV critic.

Think­ing about Car­di­nal Cush­ing brings back a cou­ple of funny mem­o­ries. Jack Whar­ton, a vet­eran reporter (and one the most won­der­ful reporters I ever worked with), was told to call “The Cush” and see how he was. He had missed a cou­ple of masses and there was con­cern about his health. The Car­di­nal answered the phone and when Jack asked him how he was as many of the paper’s read­ers had inquired the Car­di­nal very gruffly said “if my parish­ioners want to know how I feel tell them to call me them­selves!” Next day the Record Amer­i­can printed his phone num­ber with his message.

When Cush­ing died I spent a lot of time at the Cathe­dral and watched the nuns sewing the mate­r­ial on to his hat so it could be raised to the rafters. I watched it being put in place (haven’t located the neg­a­tives yet). The wake lasted a cou­ple of days and pho­tog­ra­pher Gene Dixon had the day shift of sit­ting in a pew wait­ing for photo opportunities.

He came back with two great sto­ries. The Car­di­nal had a huge ring or two on his fin­gers and some of the peo­ple kept touch­ing and pulling them. Gene thought some of these peo­ple wanted to steal the ring off his fin­gers. Offi­cials ended up sewing his arm sleeve to his jacket so his hand could not be raised. The other story was Gene had his two-way radio on and it started to squawk loudly, so loudly Gene said “I thought he was going to jump out if the box!” Who knows how true these sto­ries are but they cer­tainly bring a smile to my face.

At his bur­ial in Hanover, Mass­a­chu­setts at St. Collette’s School col­league Mike Ander­sen squeezed him­self right next to the gravesite and had a very mov­ing photo of the cas­ket being low­ered into the ground.

The Car­di­nals replace­ment was Arch­bishop Hum­berto Medeiros, who arrived from Brownsville Texas to Logan Air­port. He was escorted through the throngs of media by Boston police and lead cop was the same cop who led the Boston Bru­ins onto the ice at Boston Gar­den for every game back in that era. He was a big friendly guy but this day he had in his hands a large rec­tan­gu­lar object like a 16/20 print to keep us back. It worked as we only got just so close but with a great view for our photos.

Medeiros became Car­di­nal Medeiros dur­ing his time in Boston and on a Sat­ur­day in Sep­tem­ber of 1983 I cov­ered his death. On that Sat­ur­day, Jack Harper and I went to Saint Columbkille’s Church which was near Saint Elizabeth’s hos­pi­tal to cover the goings on.

We all cov­ered his funeral and I was sent to Fall River his home­town for the bur­ial. He was loved in Fall River and through it all his fam­ily was as gra­cious as he was.

Then came Arch­bishop Bernard Fran­cis Law who knew how to play to the media. He arrived shortly after St. Ambrose Church burned down on Adams Street in Dorch­ester, Jan­u­ary 1983. He went to the Church with a lot of fan­fare to help the peo­ple grieve over their loss promis­ing to help with the rebuild­ing of the struc­ture. He played soft­ball with other arch­dio­cese priests against Boston Police. It was called “The Law vs. The Police.”  It became an annual event at Town Field in Dorch­ester. The police usu­ally won.

In 1985 he became a Car­di­nal. When the Church sex scan­dal broke in Boston around 2002 he was at the cen­ter of it under great crit­i­cism of how he han­dled it or maybe how he did not han­dle it. I took video of him as he arrived at the court house for his depo­si­tion. He was none to happy to see us, and protested our pres­ence. He came up through garage ele­va­tors to avoid the media. Advan­tage us!

That was the last time I saw him in per­son and then his res­ig­na­tion from the Boston Arch­dio­cese in ‘02. I was told dur­ing his St. Ambrose Church visit years ear­lier he told my good friend and great pho­tog­ra­pher Stan Gross­feld of the Boston Globe he was going to win a Pulitzer and he was cor­rect as Stan has won two. I did not mind he said that as I already had won a couple.

The Rest of The Story:

My friend and for­mer col­league Mike Ander­sen updates me on his role with Card­ni­nal Cushing.

To clar­ify my role in Car­di­nal Cushing’s funeral: The Car­di­nal had arranged for a mau­soleum to be built on the grounds of St. Coletta’s in Hanover long before his death.  The day before the funeral, Chief Pho­tog­ra­pher Myer Ostroff sent me to Hanover just to see what I could see.  I found some work­men putting the fin­ish­ing touches on the sar­coph­a­gus in which his cas­ket would be entombed.  I made a pic­ture of them and we used it.  The next day the entire staff was assigned to the funeral.  Angela’s only job was to shoot Jackie Kennedy.  Mine was to get inside the mau­soleum and get a pic­ture of the VIPs who would be per­mit­ted inside for a pri­vate farewell.  There were two doors, one in front and one on the side near the back..  The back door was locked and there was a nun guard­ing the front.  I think she had played line­backer at Notre Dame.  Every time I made a move for the door, there she was.  I brought along prints of the sar­coph­a­gus masons and given them each a print.  One of them saw my plight and said he’d get me in.  So he unlocked the back door and I went in.  The only other per­son inside at that time was the Pilot pho­tog­ra­pher Phil Stack.  He kept wav­ing for me to get out.  I just waved back and tucked myself into a cor­ner in front where I hoped I wouldn’t be seen from the door.  For­tu­nately the out­side ser­vice ended about then and the VIPs, other Car­di­nals, the Kennedy fam­ily and prob­a­bly oth­ers I didn’t know came troop­ing in.  They filled this small build­ing.  I had a 20mm lens on a tri­pod and a long cable release so I could hold the cam­era way over my head and cover the entire room.  Some­body at the office was able to iden­tify most of the peo­ple and they ran two of my pic­tures full-page in the Record.  I was the only sec­u­lar pho­tog­ra­pher there, so we beat the Globe and Herald-Traveler six ways from Sun­day, excuse the pun.

I had had an ear­lier inci­dent with Car­di­nal Cush­ing.  I came to Boston in 1969, the year of the Apollo 11 moon land­ing.  Michael Collins, the third astro­naut no-one remem­bers, was from Boston, so Car­di­nal Cush­ing was going to con­duct a pri­vate Mass bless­ing Collins at Holy Cross Cathe­dral.  I was assigned to cover it.  I’m also not Catholic and had never even been in a Catholic Church before.  I had also never seen a pho­tog­ra­pher in my Pres­by­ter­ian Church.  I don’t know if the Pres­by­te­ri­ans are too dig­ni­fied to per­mit pho­tog­ra­phy or just so bor­ing (we’re known, with good rea­son, as the “Frozen Cho­sen”) that no-one wants to take our pic­ture.  But other pho­tog­ra­phers were there, all tak­ing pic­tures, so I started tak­ing pic­tures too.  I was so wrapped up in what I was doing that I didn’t notice when the oth­ers set their cam­eras down.  I was look­ing through the viewfinder with a tele­photo lens and a tight shot of the Car­di­nal when he glared at me and said, “Stop tak­ing pic­tures now!  This is the HOLY part.”

I was at Fen­way Park when the Eagle landed.  The PA announcer came on the air between innings to announce that Amer­i­cans were now safely on the sur­face of the moon.  There was a moment of stunned silence. then loud applause, then some­one began to sing.  The next thing you knew 30,000 peo­ple were singing, spon­ta­neously and a cap­pella, “God Bless Amer­ica”.  It was the most mov­ing moment I’ve ever witnessed.

More of The Rest Of The Story:

I received a com­ment which fills in a lot of infor­ma­tion on some of my infor­ma­tion or lack of it from Attor­ney James C. Reilly. Mr. Reilly grew up in New­ton, went to the Uni­ver­sity of Rochester and Duke Law. Mr. Reilly prac­tices law in Birm­ing­ham, Alabama. 

The three galleros hung from the rafters are for Car­di­nals O’Connell, Cush­ing and Medieros.  William Henry Car­di­nal O’Connell’s and Richard James Car­di­nal Cushing’s galleros were pre­sented to them by the Pope, Pius X and John XXIII respec­tively, as the “red hat” of a car­di­nal.  The gallero was dis­con­tin­ued by Pope Paul VI and the “red hat” now given is the red biretta. Accord­ingly, Hum­berto Sousa Car­di­nal Medieros never received a gallero from the Pope.  How­ever, Car­di­nal O’Malley had a gallero made for Car­di­nal Medieros so that the tra­di­tion of hang­ing it in the cathe­dral could con­tinue.  The red gallero with 30 tas­sels is the heraldic device of a car­di­nal.  A green gallero with 20 tas­sels is the sym­bol of an Arch­bishop and a green gallero with 12 tas­sels is the sym­bol for a bishop.  Other col­ors and tas­sel num­bers are also used as the heraldic device for priests (Black and 2), Mon­signors (vari­a­tions of black/amaranth, ama­ranth usu­ally 6) etc.

BTW the pic­ture of Car­di­nal Cush­ing does NOT show him “cel­e­brat­ing” Mass — most likely he is pre­sid­ing, i.e., in atten­dance in his offi­cial capac­ity, as he is in choir dress and not wear­ing the cha­suble of the priest say­ing Mass.


Finally A Commencement I Wanted To Go To!

Han­nah, Molly and Debbie

Wow, what a day, May 22, 2011 a day I will always remem­ber as our old­est daugh­ter Molly got her Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence degree at Boston University’s 138th com­mence­ment. Yes I do play that num­ber in the lot­tery as it was my first News Photographer’s license plate and my call “num­bers” for all the news groups I am a mem­ber of. Sev­eral years ago I hit it two nights in a row as the num­ber repeated itself.  No I did not win a ton of money!

I guess it started in 1979 when I met my wife Deb­bie in the Arnold Arbore­tum while we were both walk­ing our dogs. Hers was mutt named Abby and mine was a pedi­gree Golden Retriever called Glossy.  Talk about a role rever­sal. The dogs fell in love right away and a few min­utes later I guess we did also.

In 1989 we were blessed with two daugh­ters 10 months apart and today was the cul­mi­na­tion of what life is sup­posed to be if you are lucky and things go right.  Molly grad­u­ated with her BS in health stud­ies; She will con­tinue for two more years for her doc­tor­ate in phys­i­cal therapy.

Our other daugh­ter Han­nah will grad­u­ate next year with her nurs­ing degree and then the next year Molly will get her doc­tor­ate so we will have had three com­mence­ments in three years.

Not bad for a high school grad­u­ate who at that time was not sure if I grad­u­ated with my class or not. It was a hot June day in 1963 when I had my cap (I still have that cap some­where) and gown on at Harry Della Russo Sta­dium in Revere. In those days I had heard about kids who got blank diplo­mas as they did not pass their grades.  I remem­ber my name being called, walk­ing up, get­ting my diploma, going back to my seat and squeez­ing the folder open to see if I had a win­ning hand, yup I did it.

For the last 45 years in the news busi­ness I have cov­ered scores of grad­u­a­tions and com­mence­ments  but none meant as much to me as Molly’s day. It was a long day which began when we left home at 7:30 in the morn­ing for a 9am cer­e­mony at BU’s Sar­gent Col­lege. I was over­whelmed with joy as I watched Molly get her degree and real­ized Deb­bie and I had done well, very well. How did we ever pull this off? Deb­bie did a great job and I guess I sup­plied support.

Some of the com­mence­ments I cover in the past were mem­o­rable, like when Richard Car­di­nal Cush­ing walked down the cen­ter aisle of the Boston Col­lege com­mence­ment in all his splen­dor with his red robes flow­ing and the audi­ence at Boston Col­lege was mes­mer­ized by his presence.

Another year at BC there was a grad­u­ate wear­ing a Mickey Mouse tee shirt and the pic­ture I took ended up on Page One in the Record Amer­i­can. At MIT there was Lee Iacocca best known for the revival of the Chrysler Cor­po­ra­tion from near bank­ruptcy telling the stu­dents to “start your engines” as his clos­ing remark.

I think I have cov­ered most of the col­lege com­mence­ments in the area at least once but I have never cov­ered Harvard’s com­mence­ment. Don’t know why it worked out that way but maybe because they always grad­u­ate on Thurs­days and for many years at the news­pa­per I had Sun­day and Thurs­day off?  Maybe I will go my whole career with­out that one. Back in the 60s when there were great demon­stra­tions I had wished I was cov­er­ing it.

Katie Couric

Today we lis­tened to Katie Couric, a net­work stand­out give a great speech about the future for these grad­u­ates. Talk­ing about her rise to the top and how low she was on the totem pole when she began. Just try­ing to get in the door for her was tough.

I think her best story was when she first took the anchor desk for the CBS nightly news in “06” and how harsh the crit­ics were on her. From the clothes she was wear­ing to her hair style, makeup and finally they said she lacked “grav­i­tas.”  Not being sure what the word meant she decided the word grav­i­tas really meant she had no tes­ti­cles. What a roar went up from all of us on that one.

It was a won­der­ful day for Deb­bie and I and the more I think about it the more I real­ize we did do some­thing right, in our old age we will have some­one to help us get out of bed and another daugh­ter to give us our medication.



South Boston Fire Rescued Girl 33 Years Later

Tammi Brown­lee being inter­viewed 7/30/10.

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