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


A Thanksgiving To Remember

Boston Fire­fighter George Gir­van rushes Tammi to safety after her res­cue from her home on West Sixth Street, South Boston in 1977.

For 44 years this past week I have been cov­er­ing the news of the day around New Eng­land, mostly in Boston. I have tried to cap­ture the moment of many news events and most of them were not happy stories.

Per­son­ally, when I pho­to­graph a story I always try not to por­tray a vic­tim as “a vic­tim”. I don’t per­form brain surgery or save lives directly, but I hope that some of my images might have changed a life for the pos­i­tive, or made some­one feel bet­ter about what is hap­pen­ing or has hap­pened with­out hurt­ing those directly involved in the story along the way.

This past July, Tammi Brown­lee (full story on web­site) con­tacted me about an image I took in Jan­u­ary, 1977.  It was a long time ago but for­tu­nately I had the neg­a­tives and was able to help Tammi and do a cou­ple of great news sto­ries along the way.

I received an email this morn­ing which I want to share. For me, it sort of makes the pho­tos I have taken that have caused peo­ple pain when look­ing at them worth­while.  Tammi has given me per­mis­sion to share but first I will tell you about my great day, Thursday.

Steve Lacy, a WCVB-TV reporter, and I trav­eled to Tammi’s home to inter­view her and her brother David Gladu whom she has spent more than half her life search­ing for to do a Thanks­giv­ing story for the 6 o’clock news.  We were both very excited about the story but of course who knew how good it would look on air?

We arrived to a happy home where Tammi and her two chil­dren Chris and Ash­ley along with her boyfriend Chad were get­ting ready for Thanks­giv­ing and her brother David along with his wife Tina would be join­ing in the dinner.

Tammi and David

The day was both fun and sad but more impor­tantly it was a remem­brance of how bad life can be and then how good it can become. We learned a lot from the con­ver­sa­tions.  I knew Tammi had been search­ing for a half brother and sis­ter since her teenage years but I did not know that her brother David had no idea that Tammi existed.

He told us he had been given up for adop­tion when he was two along with his sis­ter Eleanor who was one at the time.  He spent a few years in fos­ter care and was adopted when he was six.  He had no idea that Eleanor existed until he was around fif­teen years old and then his search began.  He got nowhere and finally stopped the active search.

Tammi found out in her teens that her brother and sis­ter existed and she con­tin­ued the search for more than half her life.  David only learned about Tammi in the last cou­ple of months. Tammi found him on Octo­ber 7th this year after she had found Eleanor a few months before.

It was a really feel good story.  I don’t cover that many of those types of sto­ries and Steve did a won­der­ful job of putting it out for view­ers.  Here I have been think­ing what a won­der­ful thing this has been for me and today I got this email which makes it all worthwhile.

Tammi’s Email

I am so glad to be able to meet my brother and sis­ter this year!  I am pleased with the videos that were done for both my sis­ter and me and my brother and me as well!  I have been think­ing a lot about the book I have writ­ten and even though I have not come up with a proper name for it yet (it will come to me) I have thought about how I want the cover of the book to look.  The pic­ture that you took of the fire­fighter car­ry­ing me I think would be a per­fect one to use, one of the titles I have thought of is “Out of the Fire and Ashes”, this one stays with me.  What do you think?

Thank you so much for help­ing me, your excite­ment kept me going, where years past I would give up and wait till I had the strength to search again, but you gave me the per­se­ver­ance to stick with it longer and that is how I was able to find them.  I will always be grate­ful to you for that!  It has been hard to write my story, as I have buried almost all of my mem­o­ries to pro­tect myself, most of them are not good.  But my end­ing is per­fect!  David, Eleanor and I are plan­ning a time already of when we can all get together; I still need a pic­ture of all three of us!

I hope you have a great day!


Please visit my web­site for the links to the sto­ries about the Southie Fire 1977.

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  1. Good web­site! I actu­ally love how it is easy on my eyes as well as the details are well writ­ten. I am won­der­ing how I might be noti­fied when­ever a new post has been made. I have sub­scribed to your rss feed which really should work! Have a nice day!

  2. i reme­ber Tammi and the pic­ture you took that night. I lived across the street and would have been in the fire also had it not been for my mother call­ing me home. Tammi lost her mother, older brother and cousin Deb­bie that night.

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