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


Esp, Coincidence Or Just Life?

Over the last few months I have had three inci­dents of ESP or at least what I think is ESP. It started when I was sit­ting in the North End lis­ten­ing to the scan­ners and all of a sud­den I thought of Jef­fery Curley.

He was a young boy mur­dered by two male pedophiles in Cam­bridge in the 90s. Through the ordeal I became friends with his father Bob Cur­ley. Bob was the mechanic for the Cam­bridge Fire Department.

Shortly after the thought I was called to come to the office in Need­ham, Mass­a­chu­setts to pick up a reporter. As I left the North End I made a con­scious deci­sion to go to the office via Stor­row Drive instead of hop­ping on the Pike. From where I was parked it was a coin toss for which way to Need­ham was fastest.

I would be get­ting off at the “Coke Plant” ramp which is now Guest Quar­ters Hotel. As I was get­ting off the ramp to get on the Pike, I saw a man jog­ging and it caught my atten­tion, it was Bob Cur­ley just tak­ing the turn from Memo­r­ial Drive onto the Esplanade of Stor­row Drive going east. I rolled down my win­dow and yelled out “Hi Mr. Cur­ley” he acknowl­edged me and I just kept dri­ving shak­ing my head of what a coincidence.

A few weeks later while walk­ing my dogs I got to think­ing about the movie “The Thorn Birds” with Richard Cham­ber­lain and the scene where Bar­bara Stan­wyck orders him to shoot one of the dogs when it was too aggres­sive get­ting its din­ner. Then I started to think, what­ever hap­pened to Dr. Kil­dare (Richard Cham­ber­lain) from a show that was on in the 60s or 70s? I won­dered if he was still alive.

Two days later Deb­bie (my wife) and I were watch­ing “Broth­ers and Sis­ters” and who makes a guest appear­ance but Richard Cham­ber­lain. Another case of ESP?

Ear­lier this month, I was search­ing for a Logan Air­port photo which I am writ­ing about and came across a photo from 1977. It was of a Chelsea lad­der res­cue where Lt. Joe Von­Han­dorf res­cued a 16 year old girl, made July 9th, the day before my 32nd birth­day. I had not seen or thought of this photo for almost 30 years. I took the photo while work­ing the mid­night shift. I was dri­ving to the fire on Broad­way in Chelsea and I could see a lad­der res­cue on Cary Avenue in progress and got there in time to get some images.

Two days after see­ing this photo, I was sent to Sher­born, Mass­a­chu­setts to get real estate footage of the scene of an ear­lier acci­dent. I could not fig­ure out exactly where the tree was that was struck and on the road­way there was a Sher­born Police Cruiser. I pulled up next to it, rolled my win­dow down as did the cop inside and asked which tree got hit.

He asked me who I was and I said “Stan­ley from Chan­nel Five.” He then asks “Stan­ley For­man?” I said “yes.” He then said he has a story to tell me.

We both get out of our cars and when he said his name, Chris Van­Hand­off the bells started ring­ing in my head. Then he starts to tell me I pho­tographed his father who was a Chelsea Fire­fighter. I inter­rupted him and told him about the photo and I had just looked at it the day before. He gave some details about his father and we both were amazed at the coincidence.

July 9, 1977, Chelsea MA, Broad­way at Cary Avenue

From the Chelsea Fire Depart­ment Union Book that year: On the back it says “Pulitzer prize win­ning pho­tog­ra­pher Stan­ley For­man caught this dra­matic moment on July 9, 1977, at 59 Cary Ave, Fire LT. Joe Von­Han­dorf res­cues Miss Estelle Scott, 16, over the aer­ial of Lad­der 1, over heavy smoke in her third floor apart­ment. (Box 34, 2 alarms, 3:30am)”.

I was also told he was five years old when the photo and res­cue took place. At his father’s wake in 2005 a fam­ily friend came up to him, intro­duces her­self and told him that his father had res­cued her almost 30 years before. This was the young woman in the photo.

I am hop­ing to catch up with her and even­tu­ally do a story. What you think ESP, Coin­ci­dence Or Just Life?

Jan­u­ary 6, 2011

The saga con­tin­ues as this past week­end while dub­bing VHS videos to DVDs from my children’s younger years I came across a Chan­nel Five’s news broad­cast of a fire in Chelsea from the mid 90s. As I am watch­ing some of the videos as they are being dubbed there was an inter­view and inter­vie­wee was Lt. Joe VonHandorf.

I made a copy of the video for his son Chris and sent it off. This is the heart warm­ing response I received today via email.

Between my Mom, sis­ter, and I we’ve got­ten so much pos­i­tive feed­back from your story. We can’t be any more appre­cia­tive. Also, I received your video.…it was pretty emo­tional for me. It was the first time my young sons had ever heard my Dad’s voice and had seen him in any­thing other than pho­tos. It’s a gift I’ll pass along to them someday.…thank you. To kinda go hand and hand with your story, my dad’s six year anniver­sary is Tues­day the 11th. Coin­ci­dence or hap­pened for a rea­son. –Chris

From my Facebook:

Chris Von My own per­sonal opin­ion, from a cop’s perspective.…there is no such thing as a coin­ci­dence, things hap­pen for a rea­son. I have always believed that and always will. Thanks for the story Stan, my Dad is smil­ing down.

The cer­tifi­cate from the City of  Chelsea pro­vided to me by Chris Van­Hand­off.

Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. If you keep writ­ing these arti­cles (which I like by the way) and have to read them, I will not be able to fin­ish your web­site. Are you wear­ing plaid today?

  2. Hey Stan, Another great story. I love the way these “coin­ci­dences ” hap­pen in your day. How­ever, I do believe they are meant to hap­pen, your sto­ries are heartwarming.

  3. A great photo and greater story. I was lucky enough to have worked for Deputy Von before he passed away, and his rep­u­ta­tion as a tough-as-nails Jake will live long after him. Mak­ing the story even more mov­ing was to see my Uncle John’s name in the citation.

    Thanks and Best Wishes,
    Mark Chiaradonna
    Chelsea Fire

  4. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly infor­ma­tive. I’m gonna watch out for that. I will appre­ci­ate if you con­tinue this in future. A lot of peo­ple will be ben­e­fited from your writ­ing. Cheers!

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