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

13Feb/121

Two Buildings, Tons of Memories

5 Winthrop Square, Down­town Boston, Feb­ru­ary 2012.

Novem­ber 22, 1966, first day on the job, my job for life.

Reported at 7 am for an 8 o’clock shift, Mor­ris Ostroff, the man in charge of the lab, comes in at 8 smok­ing a cigar as long as he is tall.

Mor­ris hands me an apron, sponge and states, “fol­low me.” It is my job to keep the 5 wet dark­rooms clean, make sure the chem­i­cals are fresh and bring Mor­ris’ daily play of num­bers to his bookie. I learned how to play the num­bers in more ways than I already played it.

It is three years after the assas­si­na­tion of JFK and I hear the story of how the paper put out a extra edi­tion of the shoot­ing and when the paper hit the streets the head­line was okay but the first edi­tions did not have the story inside the paper. It was cor­rected quickly.

Less than a month on the job I had my first big story, 8 dead after a gaso­line tanker and a com­muter rail train col­lide on the Everett/Chelsea line. I owned the paper and resent­ment for my 24/7 work habits irked my fel­low pho­tog­ra­phers. Noth­ing has changed 45 plus years later. Won my first con­test with the page one photo.

Dur­ing the tur­bu­lent 60s there was always some­thing to cover. We had hur­ri­canes, bliz­zards, nor’easters, flood­ing and any other havoc weather could play.

There was draft card burn­ings, the Pen­ta­gon Papers with Daniel Ells­berg at the Boston fed­eral build­ing along with many anti Viet­nam War demon­stra­tions which many times led to riots.

Mar­tin Luther King’s assas­si­na­tion and the reac­tions of the Boston peo­ple. Bobby Kennedy’s mur­der with cov­er­age locally and nationally.

William Ran­dolph Hearst, Jr., drop­ping in to use the phones while on a visit to one of his chil­dren attend­ing a Boston school. He told the city desk he was not there if any­one was look­ing for him, espe­cially his wife. Long before cell phones were even thought of.

Work­ing with Sam Cohen the sports edi­tor who in his report­ing days walked out of a Jack Dempsey press con­fer­ence at the old Boston Gar­den after Dempsey made an anti-Semitic remark. Cohen also held out the great Ray Lussier photo of Bobby Orr scor­ing the win­ning goal to win the Stan­ley Cup to get an extra day of news­pa­per pur­chas­ing for souvenirs.

Red Sox “Impos­si­ble Dream” 1967, got them to the World Series!

Lis­ten­ing to overnight city edi­tor John Bishop talk about the exe­cu­tions he cov­ered at Cherry Hill Prison in Charlestown.

Mor­ris Ostroff telling how he stood out­side the prison with his 4/5 graphic cam­era and flash pow­der wait­ing for the hearse with the bod­ies of Saco and Vanzetti.

Watch­ing copy edi­tor, Eddy Gray read­ing and past­ing the wire copy of the Sharon Tate mur­der in August of 1969. Tate was mar­ried to Roman Polan­ski whose saga is still being played out and her mur­derer Charles Man­son is still in a Cal­i­for­nia Prison.

Hip­pies in the Boston Com­mon with the mar­i­juana smok­ers blow­ing the weed smoke in everybody’s face includ­ing the cops.

BPD used to send in their TPF squads with riot sticks and canines and thank­fully the dog that was run­ning behind me just missed as I could hear the growl­ing and man­aged to keep him inches away from los­ing part of my butt.

I had the same thing hap­pen in Methuen, MA cov­er­ing the floods along the Mer­ri­mack River. I walked into a back­yard and saw the dog­house and a chain laced inside it. I knew to start run­ning and the only thing that saved me was the chain was shorter than my foot­steps were long. Just think, twice I beat the nick­name half ass instead of ass—-. I cov­ered all types of crime when crime ruled the pages of the local news­pa­pers and I didn’t get beat often.

While cov­er­ing Ted Kennedy and the Chap­paquid­dick fatal car crash in 1969 I stayed at the Har­bor­side Hotel on Martha’s Vine­yard ate steak and eggs for break­fast and lob­ster and steak for din­ner and I only had to sign for it.

I was sent down there for 1 day and ended up stay­ing for ten. I learned how to wash my clothes in a sink till my par­ents put some clothes for me on an airplane.

Martha’s Vine­yard was the last place I drank vodka as on a Sat­ur­day after­noon start­ing around 4 pm I started drink­ing Bloody Mary’s with the best cel­ery stalks ever, laid down at six and was for the most part par­a­lyzed for 24 hours. Of course, at six the paper was look­ing for my pho­tos which I did not have till I dragged myself down to the ferry dock and cap­tured the page one image.

One of the fun­nier inci­dents in the build­ing was when I set up a very nosy pho­tog­ra­pher. We all knew he was read­ing our mail and or notes in our lit­tle cubby mail­boxes in the photo depart­ment. I put a note on my mail­box addressed to me and taped it to the open­ing. I left enough of an open­ing so he could read it. My note was to him and I wrote things about his snoop­ing call­ing him, well, I can­not repeat it. Best part was he could not say anything.

I did the same thing at Chan­nel Five when another pho­tog­ra­pher I worked with liked check­ing all our mail­boxes. We have a senior­ity shift pick at the sta­tion thus I worked evenings for many years. To get him I put a note in my mail­box directed to the news direc­tor Emily Rooney, thank­ing her for putting me in a bet­ter shift. I said, “I am sure this will be upset­ting to this pho­tog­ra­pher, but I appre­ci­ated it. Within a day the pho­tog­ra­pher went in com­plain­ing and of course Emily did not know what he was talk­ing about. In this case the pho­tog­ra­pher came up to me and admit­ted, “You got me!”

On Sat­ur­day nights we used to set up a wood plank between two chairs and have a feast of Chi­nese food from the House of Roy in Chinatown.

The Christ­mas Eve that pho­tog­ra­pher Car­roll Myett lite him­self on fire using rub­bery cement to seal his falling apart shoes.

Then of course there was the great pho­tog­ra­pher Gene Dixon who had got­ten from the joke store these lit­tle plas­tic shaped molds, which looked like dog poop. Usu­ally on Sat­ur­days when the bosses left he would plant them around the build­ing for the cus­to­dian Frank to find. Then one Sat­ur­day night Frank saw what he thought was one of Gene’s toys, reach down to scoop it with his hands and you know the rest, Gene had brought his dog to work that night.

From the Herald.

When we moved to 300 Har­ri­son Avenue in Boston’s South End I don’t think any­one regret­ted the move.  A newer build­ing, park­ing, air con­di­tion­ing and a chance to com­pete with a big­ger staff.

At our new build­ing we had a much larger news­room, more offices for dif­fer­ent depart­ments and more enlarg­ers to print our pictures.

We were now a broad­sheet news­pa­per for almost 10 years and the big­ger the paper the more copy we needed, very exciting.

For me, this build­ing is packed with mem­o­ries also, but with an esca­la­tor instead of a shaky ele­va­tor. Wow when I think of the old ele­va­tor at 5 Winthrop Square, scary.

There was the day I was pulling out from the front of the build­ing and struck a young kid on a bike. He was not injured but his bike suf­fered fatal injuries. I gave him $100.00 and took him and the bike home to his parents.

At the old build­ing, I also had a com­muter end up on my hood after the sun’s glare blinded me. He was also not injured and would not even let me buy him a cup of cof­fee. He must have been jay walking.

Tom Sul­li­van, our Sat­ur­day city edi­tor, run­ning down to the photo depart­ment yelling place crash at Logan “every­body go!” It was a cargo plane, which crashed, and six dead.

The same Tom Sul­li­van stand­ing there in his paja­mas after the edi­tor of the paper had called look­ing for him before his shift ended and he had to come in from home to answer the phone the next time Sam Born­stein, the edi­tor called.

Eddie Gray the copy edi­tor, light­ing the waste­bas­ket on fire as he flipped his cigar ashes as he edited copy.

Edi­tor Sam Born­stein, yelling at a copy per­son because he did not get the cream cheese spread on his bagel.

How many times did I run out of the news­room, down the steps to jump in my car rac­ing to a story, includ­ing the fire escape col­lapse? Prob­a­bly always look­ing fool­ish but it worked for me.

I worked with the best news peo­ple there was in Boston start­ing with the old rewrite sys­tem when reporters called in their sto­ries and some­one was there to rewrite it for our many edi­tions. As the years went on there were more reporters writ­ing their own copy.

I could list so many great news peo­ple but I know I would leave some out so I will take a pass.

Ed. Note: I was moti­vated to write this after Joe Fitzger­ald, long time writer, both sports and news of the Her­ald did a remem­brance of 300 Har­ri­son Avenue after they moved to that office build­ing I men­tion. A lot of the peo­ple and inci­dents I men­tion have a more in-depth story in my other blogs.

Link to Joe Fitzger­ald column:

http://bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view/20220129family_tree_provided_boards_for_new_herald

 

 

 

 

20Dec/117

Firefighters Know How to Bury Their Own

Worces­ter Fire­fight­ers honor their fallen hero.

In the last 12 years I have cov­ered the funeral of six Worces­ter Fire­fight­ers. Five of the six died at the Cold Stor­age Ware­house fire on Decem­ber 6, 1999 and the sixth one was last week, just two days after the 12th anniver­sary of that awful fatal fire. Six fire­fight­ers died in the Cold Stor­age fire in 1999 and I would have cov­ered all of them except one of the funer­als was on Sat­ur­day.  I was the pool for most or all of them due to my con­nec­tions with the Boston Fire Depart­ment who helped set up their ser­vices in 1999. For this funeral they assisted and brought their ramp for plac­ing the cas­ket on top of a piece of appa­ra­tus and for the atten­dants to carry it into the church and the gravesite.

I am always reminded from a speech Boston Fire­fight­ers Local 718 Pres­i­dent Neal San­tan­gelo gave many years ago as he addressed the new fire­fight­ers at their swear­ing in. He said, “We will help you to be safe and in the end we will bury you.” I thought that day how scary for the new Jakes, who have not even been to a real fire and were already receiv­ing notice of the real­ity of the job.

Worces­ter Fire­fight­ers bring­ing the cas­ket with Fire­fighter Jon Davies into Church for the memo­r­ial service.

This funeral was no dif­fer­ent than the many I have cov­ered through the years, not just in Worces­ter but many of the cities and towns around our cov­er­age area. Many mem­o­ries of fire­fighter funer­als stick out in my mind. In 1972, when the Ven­dome Hotel Col­lapsed killing 8 Boston Fire­fight­ers, I can remem­ber cov­er­ing the funeral with all the cas­kets lined up at the Cathe­dral of the Holy Cross in Boston’s South End.  In Clin­ton, the wife of a fire­fighter killed in the line of duty, wear­ing her somber black dress, com­ing down the steps of the Church on that freez­ing cold day with her husband’s charred hel­met in her hands. In Stoughton, the same thing, another hel­met being clutched tightly in the hands of a firefighter.

Com­ing back to last week in Worces­ter, I watched the hel­met of fallen fire­fighter Jon Davies being car­ried by his part­ner on the Res­cue, Brain Car­roll, who was also caught in the col­lapse. He escaped seri­ous injury after being pulled from the rub­ble after being trapped for at least 45 min­utes. He spent less than 48 hours in the hos­pi­tal.  How pained he must have been as he fol­lowed the fire truck with the cas­ket of Davies being brought to his final rest­ing place. He might have been won­der­ing why Jon and not me and his eulogy cer­tainly expressed the emo­tions he was going through.

The day of the inci­dent reporter Kelly Tuthill and I set up at the Worces­ter Firefighter’s Memo­r­ial to watch and talk to peo­ple com­ing to pay their respects. We got a ter­rific inter­view from a high school friend of Davies who was in the area when he found out and stopped to say a prayer. The sad­dest one I saw was a woman who just hugged the memo­r­ial statue while cry­ing. I had assumed it was some­one from the fam­i­lies of the 1999 fire and her emo­tions had been stirred by the new death. I watched her for a few min­utes not bring­ing my cam­era over, as I knew I could not tape the scene with­out putting the light on and upset­ting her. I did go up and ask if I could help her and was told no thank you. Turns out she was the fiancée of the victim.

The wake itself was rou­tine as the media set up across the street from the funeral home, shoot­ing what­ever was going on as folks walked into to give their con­do­lences or maybe to say a prayer.  Then the mood changed, at least for me. Deputy Chief Frank Diliddo came over right before our five o’clock live shot to tell us about an eleven-year-old boy, Jared Flan­ders who rode his bike to the wake to pay his respects. He was seen sit­ting in the third row and peo­ple were won­der­ing who he was. He had come on his own, learned to put his tie on by read­ing instruc­tions from a book, and said he wanted to be there because he really liked firefighters.

Jared Flan­ders with the bag­pipe band on their way to the cemetery.

We inter­viewed the boy and strangely enough when reporters asked him if he wanted to be a fire­fighter he said it was third on his list, pick­ing a lawyer first. He came to be the Worces­ter Fire Department’s good­will per­son and the depart­ment treated him as well as would be expected. The police drove him home that night and next day he was a guest of the fire depart­ment, arriv­ing in the scuba team truck to attend the ser­vices. The boy then got to march with the bag­pipes band in the front row as the fire­fight­ers left the Church.  There was salut­ing as the boy marched the route with them. It was a very uplift­ing moment in an oth­er­wise very sad story.

My assign­ment was to cover the pro­ces­sion for Jack’s Harper’s pieces later in the show, as he was live dur­ing the church ser­vice.  As usual, he did a great job dur­ing the live show, as I went up and down the streets try­ing to get video for him and stills for our web­site. I did very well; tak­ing some good stills and get­ting some of the video, which was needed. Jack had a smor­gas­bord of video as our cov­er­age was every­where and he did a great job sum­ma­riz­ing the ser­vice in his later pieces that day.

Jack alerted me the fire­fighter car­ry­ing the hel­met was Fire­fighter Brian Car­roll. I spent the next 20 min­utes fol­low­ing the engine com­pany with the cas­ket on it look­ing for a clear shot of Car­roll.  I spot­ted the young boy march­ing, and then the appa­ra­tus and then Fire­fighter Car­roll came into view hold­ing the helmet.

Fire­fighter Brian Car­roll with his partner’s hel­met in hand fol­lows the appa­ra­tus with Fire­fighter Jon Davies’ cas­ket on their way to the memo­r­ial service.

At the end of fire­fighter ser­vices, a fire depart­ment mem­ber rings a very shiny bell. They ring 1–1, 1–1, then again 1–1, 1–1, the “all-out” sig­nal to an alarm of fire. Sadly, on this day the “all-out” call was not to sig­nify the end of a fire, but instead was a somber reminder that for Fire­fighter Jon Davies, the final “all-out” has been sounded.

Addi­tional Infor­ma­tion on the Worces­ter Six from Decem­ber 6, 1999 from Robert Win­ston, Boston Fire Dis­trict Chief, retired. A friend of mine from his BFD days. 

Cama­raderie Under Fire: A Remem­brance of the Worces­ter Tragedy

 

Worces­ter Fire­fighter Memo­r­ial day of fatal fire which killed FF Jon Davies.

It was Decem­ber 3, 1999 when an aban­doned cav­ernous ware­house was set afire by two home­less peo­ple who “lived” in the hulk­ing struc­ture. This was the Worces­ter Cold and Stor­age Ware­house that was located in the City of Worces­ter, Mass­a­chu­setts. The scene of this fire was to become one of fiery col­lapse, death, heartache, hero­ism, and cama­raderie under the most extreme fire­fight­ing conditions.

The home­less man made sex­ual advances to his girl friend and she had rebuffed his sug­ges­tions. He became angry and the two were argu­ing and throw­ing things. They were using can­dles for light and one of the lighted can­dles was knocked into a pile of debris that quickly ignited. The fire spread as the two squat­ters fled into the cold night air leav­ing the fire to grow into what would become one of the worst Line Of Duty (fire ser­vice) Deaths (LODD) in the his­tory of the Worces­ter Fire Department.

Fire­fight­ers in many fire engines responded to the grow­ing fire. More aid was called to the scene as it became obvi­ous to the chief in charge that this was no rou­tine fire-fight. Heavy smoke turned to vis­i­ble flames as the fire ate through the nearly win­dow­less ark of a struc­ture. Inside were many fire­fight­ers strain­ing to extin­guish the flames. The inte­rior was a maze of dark­ened rooms and cor­ri­dors. Six floors of them! Debris was scat­tered every­where adding to the dif­fi­cul­ties of search­ing blindly to find the seat of the fire and being able to exit the build­ing in a hurry if needed.

A num­ber of Fire­fight­ers became dis­ori­ented in the smoke, heat and dark­ness. They radioed for help. Brother fire­fight­ers entered the burn­ing build­ing to try and res­cue their now trapped com­rades. Time after time these rugged fire­fight­ing vet­er­ans made dan­ger­ous and heroic attempts to find their col­leagues. It was no use.

The fire had been eat­ing away at the strength of the brick and wood edi­fice. It started to col­lapse. The fire chief in com­mand ordered all fire­fight­ers to stop res­cue attempts and to vacate the fire build­ing. Six Worces­ter Fire­fight­ers would per­ish this night despite the Her­culean efforts of a small army of fire­fight­ers. Recov­ery of their bod­ies would last for an ardu­ous somber eight days and nights.

The call went out across the New Eng­land region for assis­tance to respond to Worces­ter. Many emer­gency and non-emergency per­son­nel turned out to help. They came by the hun­dreds to stand with and work with their brother and sis­ter fire­fight­ers until the dif­fi­cult and hon­or­able task of recov­ery was completed.

The City of Boston Fire Depart­ment imme­di­ately sent per­son­nel and equip­ment to the tragic scene. I was one of the many that were sent. My role was one of the safety oper­a­tional sec­tor chiefs. Those of us that were assigned that task would check for safety issues, look for haz­ards and pre­vent any fur­ther injuries or deaths. Prior to our arrival at the ware­house fire tragedy, we were given a brief­ing that included spe­cific instruc­tions and alerted us that the Worces­ter Fire­fight­ers were under severe emo­tional stress. We were told that tem­pers may be short and to use tact and to be sen­si­tive to the raw emo­tions being expe­ri­enced by the Worces­ter Firefighters.

It was the sec­ond night of the eight nights of recov­ery oper­a­tions. The ware­house roof, floors and two exte­rior walls had fallen and were now huge piles of smol­der­ing debris. The dan­ger of addi­tional struc­tural col­lapse and of fire­fight­ers falling through burned out floors haunted us. The safety offi­cers were kept busy and were vig­i­lant. Injury or worse was at every step.

As I was sur­vey­ing a sec­tion of the build­ing I noticed that a Worces­ter Fire Lieu­tenant was stand­ing in a very dan­ger­ous loca­tion. Debris was loosely dan­gling above him. I approached the man to warn him of the sit­u­a­tion. He was a tall lean guy. Much taller than I. His face was black with soot and his eyes were red and swollen.  He looked very tired and tense. I tried to warn him, as del­i­cately as I could, that he was in a dan­ger­ous spot. What we were cau­tioned about prior to our arrival at this fire was about to hap­pen. The Lieu­tenant became angry with me and got in my face. He didn’t care what rank I was or that I was look­ing out for his safety. Angry emo­tion packed words were hurled at me. I tried to rea­son with him to no avail. A Worces­ter Chief Offi­cer was stand­ing nearby and saw and heard what was hap­pen­ing. He imme­di­ately posi­tioned him­self between the lieu­tenant and myself and defused what could have become an ugly sit­u­a­tion. I explained the rea­son why I had tried to talk to his lieu­tenant and then I pointed upwards to the hang­ing debris. The chief under­stood, apol­o­gized to me and assured me that he’d talk to his lieu­tenant. We both knew and under­stood how tem­pers can flare under the unprece­dented stress­ful cir­cum­stances that we were all caught up in.

Eight days had passed since the fire began. I had returned to the scene and was again assigned as a safety oper­a­tional sec­tor chief. The pile of smol­der­ing debris that was once this old ware­house had been reduced in size and fully extin­guished. Five of Worcester’s Bravest had been recov­ered. One was still buried some­where in the remain­ing mounds of twisted steel, burned wood and bricks. As I sur­veyed the scene I noticed the lieu­tenant that I had the ear­lier encounter with. He was search­ing some rub­ble. I inquired about him and was told that he had been at the scene from the fire’s start and had refused to go home for eight days and nights.

The cold day turned into a very cold and windy Decem­ber night as recov­ery oper­a­tions con­tin­ued for the last fire­fighter. Fire­fighter Paul Brotherton’s body was located under one of the many mounds of bricks and charred wood. His pre­cise and somber removal from the debris will be a pic­ture in my mind’s eye that I will never forget.

It was so cold and dark and quiet as Fire­fighter Brotherton’s body was taken away in an ambu­lance. The sad task of recov­ery was finally over that night. The heal­ing could begin.

There was a large crowd of peo­ple stand­ing qui­etly beyond the yel­low safety tape that sur­rounded the ruins. Hun­dreds of fire­fight­ers formed two par­al­lel lines lead­ing from the destroyed build­ing out to the crowd of onlook­ers. The Worces­ter Fire­fight­ers climbed down from the piles of debris and slowly walked between the two rows of fire­fight­ers who had come from other fire depart­ments. As the Worces­ter Fire­fight­ers passed by us we saluted them, applauded them, shook their hands and some gave hugs. One by one they filed through the rows. A walk of honor and consolation.

I barely rec­og­nized the lieu­tenant whom I encoun­tered days before. It was his height that caused me to look harder at him than at his broth­ers. His face was now gaunt, black­ened and the eyes were red and sunken. We looked at each other. He rec­og­nized me and stopped walk­ing. It was more like a slow shuf­fle. I shook his hand first. Then the lieu­tenant lit­er­ally col­lapsed into my arms. We embraced each other as only fire­fight­ers can do at a time like this and he began to sob. Even through our heavy wet pro­tec­tive firefighter’s gear he felt frail and unsteady. Tears stained our faces as we looked at each other. Unbe­liev­ably this exhausted weary fire lieu­tenant apol­o­gized to me. I was sort of…stunned. I told him that it was okay, gave him my con­do­lences for his losses and hugged the man again. I watched him as he walked away shoul­der to shoul­der with his comrades.

I never saw the man again. I have thought of him from time to time when the mem­ory of the Worces­ter Tragedy comes back to me or when I see the word “camaraderie.”

Robert M. Winston

Boston Dis­trict Fire Chief-Retired

 

 

14Dec/110

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.

17Oct/113

The Best Aftermath Wins

Vehi­cle which was struck and then burst into flames, Lynn, MA

After 45 years of chas­ing news pro­fes­sion­ally  I real­ize I can­not be the first on the scene with a cam­era unless I am the first one on the scene. Every­one is ready to cap­ture the moment hap­pen­ing in front of them.It started about mid­night last night when in the back­ground as I was sort of sleep­ing I heard some­one on my scan­ners say, “fully involved.” I had not a clue who it was and as quickly as I turned over to see the scan­ner dis­play, the chan­nel changed and with­out my read­ing glasses on I could not have seen it anyway.

Sec­onds later my Nex­tel chirped from a scan­ner buffs call to tell me about a seri­ous acci­dent in Lynn MA. I was up get­ting dressed when I got my 2nd call this time on the home phone. There was also a voice mail from a friend who on sighted the acci­dent. When I got to the scene of the hor­rific acci­dent I noticed there was plenty of access visu­ally to the two car acci­dent with one car totaled includ­ing hav­ing been fully involved in fire and the other which had 5 peo­ple in it pretty much crushed from the impact. It was the car with the five peo­ple in it, which struck the first car. The car, which was struck, burst into flames, the dri­ver got out of the car aglow with the fire engulf­ing him.

First thing I noticed was all the peo­ple with their cell phones work­ing the scene. I knew right away to get what I could of the after­math then start the search for some­one who had some good visu­als. I was across the street from the dam­aged cars when this young fel­low found me and told me about his video, the car fully involved in flame and the dri­ver run­ning around on fire. I looked at the  video and said my sta­tion would like to pur­chase it. He was all excited and the arrange­ments were made for him to email in the video. Usu­ally the video or stills I find are “good enough” for use on web­sites and even to be broad­cast on a news report.

The prob­lem was and is as a long time news pho­tog­ra­pher I can­not beat the com­pe­ti­tion any­more. The com­pe­ti­tion is any­one who has a cell phone, smart phone or any other portable device, which takes stills or video. The other prob­lem being prac­ti­cally every­one has the tech­nol­ogy and knows what to do with it. Of course there is my brother in-law and uncle who have not a clue of how to work their phones other than to say hello. The cur­rent news per­son not only has to get to a scene, sum up what is needed to cover the story then search for the per­son with the best images they can get for their news orga­ni­za­tion or social media network.

This is the link to the images and video cap­tured at the scene and aired by WCVB-TV by  smart phone user Stephen Socci. 

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/29502356/detail.html

 http://www.thebostonchannel.com/slideshow/news/29500137/detail.html

I do well on the search for the best stuff avail­able as my sta­tion sort of allows me to make offers to the owner of these images with a finan­cial reward. Not only do I try to get there first I have to be first in gath­er­ing other people’s stuff. The most impor­tant words in what we do with instant media is “right now” and I plan to be all over it.

Many years ago dur­ing a hol­i­day din­ner with a fam­ily friend the host, David Estes kept talk­ing to me about how won­der­ful it was to be pub­lished. I had never given it any thought. I was pub­lished every­day and took it for granted. So the bot­tom line here is every­one is a news pho­tog­ra­pher whether they really are a news pho­tog­ra­pher. So if you are a “real” news pho­tog­ra­pher get to the inci­dent, size it up and make sure you shoot the best after­math, as that is all that is going to be left most times.

Back in the late 70s I cov­ered an MIT Com­mence­ment where Lee Iacocca spoke and his last words were “grad­u­ates, start your engines.”

As the great news pho­tog­ra­pher Nat Whit­te­more once told me when I switched to TV, “daz­zle them with your footwork.”

In the new world of news I say, “good enough video gets pub­lished and the pro­fes­sional news pho­tog­ra­phers must see what oth­ers don’t see and make theirs more compelling.”

FYI, when I asked my daugh­ter Molly if she had read this blog her answer was “do you mean the one where you whine about peo­ple and their iPhone photos?”

 

11Sep/111

Welcome Home My Son

Tom Lovet­ere returns home from Viet­nam, March, 1968 as his mother Josephine greets him on the tar­mac at Logan Airport.

43 plus years later I received two emails about a photo I took in 1968. Prob­a­bly my favorite wel­come home photo. It was before huge gates rolled to the planes or the plane came to the ter­mi­nal to unload its pas­sen­gers.  It was when you could stand on the tar­mac and it could be bit­ter cold but the warmth of watch­ing what was hap­pen­ing in front of you warmed you up bet­ter than a hot tub.

1968 Tom Lovet­ere is greeted by is fam­ily at Logan Air­port upon return­ing from Vietnam.

Hi Stan­ley, No you don’t know me but I am the wife of the sol­dier you pho­tographed back in 1968 at Logan Air­port. “Wel­come Home My Son” was the cap­tion that made the front page of the Record Amer­i­can. Just want to say Thank You for the mem­o­ries!! Although the news­pa­per is quite old we still show it to our grand­kids all the time. You we’re one hell of a guy then and I’m sure you still are. Thank You and God bless you. Donna Lovet­ere

Josephine Lovet­ere as she hugs her son Tom on his return to Boston in 1968 from Vietnam.

Hi Stan­ley, my name is Tom Lovet­ere and I just wanted to let you know that I am one of the sto­ries you wrote about and pho­tographed that had a happy end­ing. I am the sol­dier that you were allowed out on the tar­mac at Logan on March 6th 1968.That was one of the hap­pi­est times of my life to see my mother and my seven broth­ers wait­ing for me. I couldn’t wait to wrap my arms around her so she would finally know that her youngest son, her baby was all right and finally home. My mom cher­ished that photo and the mem­ory you gave her for the rest of her life. She received many phone calls and let­ters for years after from vet­er­ans and fam­i­lies of vet­er­ans from all wars about that photo and the look on her face. I still have some of the old news­pa­pers but they are falling apart from the years gone by. My mom passed away 26 years ago but I will always remem­ber the joy you brought her from your photos.

Mem­bers of the Lovet­ere fam­ily make their way to the ter­mi­nal to greet the rest of the fam­ily and friends.

The East Boston fam­ily had called the Record Amer­i­can city desk to tell us the fam­ily would be there to wel­come Tom’s arrival from Viet­nam and back dur­ing that con­flict not all of the home com­ings were of a happy nature. For 45 years I have cov­ered some very joy­ous home­com­ings and then there are the oth­ers. From watch­ing tears of joy to just watch­ing tears of pain. This is one of my bet­ter ones and these emails make the mem­o­ries of that day even better.

 

24Jul/113

Tankers: Great Balls of Fire!

Gaso­line tanker burn­ing, Saugus MA, Essex Street Exit.

Gaso­line tankers, ter­ri­ble dan­ger, deaf­en­ing explo­sions and many times tragic deaths.  As I review the many I have cov­ered, seven at today’s count. I know of two which resulted in a death or severe injury. The worst one being my first big story in 1966, a month after I began at the Record Amer­i­can (ref­er­enced in a another blog on this site “my first major tradgedy, 8 DOA”) and now this one on July 23, 2011.  

My first call for the inci­dent came from my friend Alan who is a free­lance pho­tog­ra­pher for the Lynn Item. He is up all night lis­ten­ing to the scan­ners. While mine are run­ning the prob­lem is with our room air con­di­tioner on and my hard of hear­ing ears I was hav­ing a prob­lem hear­ing the radios which are run­ning next to my side of the bed the extra help is needed. Thank­fully I get it.

Alan said a trac­tor trailer flipped over in either Saugus or Revere as both police depart­ments were yakking about it. He said they were say­ing Essex Street. I imme­di­ately knew in my dazed state of wakeup it was Essex Street in Saugus. I thought he meant a large trac­tor trailer and the sad­dle tanks had caught fire not real­iz­ing for a minute or two it was a gaso­line tanker.

I got up slid down the pole (only kid­ding) got dressed quickly (my clothes and equip­ment are always ready) but at my age I have to make a pit stop before I get going and then I have this thing about brush­ing my teeth so that took another minute. Unless my des­ti­na­tion is within a cou­ple of min­utes of my house and the extra minute or two is going to be too costly I stop for these chores.

I made great time get­ting there, no real traf­fic and know­ing the area of Route One and lis­ten­ing to the radios I thought I could sneak around the road blocks through the Square One Mall park­ing lot and it worked. I also knew the police would not have all their resources in place to block off every­thing so soon. A few min­utes later I might have had prob­lems get­ting as close as I did.

Great Balls of Fire

So there it was, a tanker on its side, flames shoot­ing 60 plus feet in the air and explo­sive thun­der from the igni­tions of the fuel tak­ing place, great TV which was the only thing I was think­ing about not know­ing at this time a life has been lost and another per­son severely burned. That knowl­edge would put a damper on the excite­ment I was enjoy­ing as I had kicked butt with my images.

I was stand­ing in the south­bound lane of Route One and the truck was less than 30–40 yards in front of me.  I wished once again I had brought my tri­pod but car­ry­ing my still cam­era, a 22 pound plus video cam­era, two phones, extra bat­ter­ies was enough. It was swel­ter­ing out there from the sum­mer tem­per­a­tures, with the humid­ity very high and add to that the heat from the fire; the tri­pod stays in the car. There was also the thought of addi­tional explo­sions and hav­ing to run for cover. Less is bet­ter some­times. Yes I am sec­ond guess­ing myself because the tri­pod would have meant stead­ier video but when the com­pe­ti­tion is far behind it doesn’t really mat­ter. I envy those who can carry everything.

Tanker on its side still burning.

After spend­ing a long time on the south­bound side I ven­tured over to another angle closer to the tanker.  I was con­cerned if I left where I was I might lose the great spot I had but I needed other angles. The funny part of this is I kept hear­ing explo­sions but the shots I was mak­ing of the burn­ing fuel did not show any big blasts. I real­ized these explo­sions were tak­ing place about 1500 to 2000 feet behind the fire well into the res­i­den­tial areas of Saugus where a house and other struc­tures caught fire after the fuel floated down an adja­cent stream.

After get­ting these shots I walked back to my orig­i­nal loca­tion saw a rank­ing trooper and asked if I could go north in the south and then go south in the north lanes as I needed to be on the other side. I was told “Stan­ley you have been around long enough, be care­ful and if you get stopped tell them I said it was okay.” I got to the other side and began trudg­ing up and down the ramp com­plex to get what I needed. Dur­ing all of this I was putting the video cam­era down and cap­tur­ing great still images with my dig­i­tal cam­era. I guess I don’t know how to use my IPhone cam­era as I could not get a really good shot of the fire with it or maybe the shut­ter of the IPhone is too slow to stop the action?

I did what I had to do, left the scene, drove to Revere where I could feed my video(I have a microwave trans­mit­ter in my com­pany vehi­cle but I need line of site for a cou­ple of receive sites in Boston and or Need­ham)  for the Eye Opener show.  In the mean­time the office had sent a reporter, John Atwa­ter, a satel­lite truck and two more pho­tog­ra­phers; it was like we struck a third alarm while the fire depart­ment struck 8 alarms. We kicked butt, live on the high­way through­out our show and we had the video to back up the talk. We were walk­ing the walk and talk­ing the talk.

Under con­trol as Massport’s Engine Five plays foam on the burn­ing gaso­line bring­ing it under control.

I reflected the rest of the day about the other tanker fires I have cov­ered in my 45 years as a news pho­tog­ra­pher. The first one I cov­ered was about 40 plus years ear­lier and less than a mile from where we were. It was also north­bound on Route One and I remem­ber the fire fight­ers chas­ing rolling streams of burn­ing gaso­line down the high­way but I don’t remem­ber any struc­tures burn­ing or injuries.

Another one was on route 93 north­bound in the Read­ing area in 1978. I was wear­ing a walk­ing cast after surgery for an Achilles ten­don rup­ture.  I had a plas­tic mate­r­ial boot on it to pro­tect it from water and there I was on the high­way dodg­ing burn­ing gaso­line and water so my plas­ter cast would not melt.

In Methuen one week­end morn­ing a tanker blew up at a neigh­bor­hood gas sta­tion but his time the gaso­line was con­tained in a blown-up piece of the tanker burn­ing as if it was in a bar­beque pit. After the ini­tial explo­sion it just burned straight up for a cou­ple of hours. For the most part the fire depart­ment pro­tected the expo­sures and let it burn itself out.

A cou­ple of years ago I got a call on a Sat­ur­day morn­ing from Matt Wilder the morn­ing pro­ducer who heard the explo­sion out­side of the Chan­nel Five Stu­dios in Need­ham, on Route 128/95. He looked out the win­dow, saw the large loom up and called me. How frus­trat­ing it was as I knew no mat­ter how fast I could get there it would not be fast enough as 40 miles can only be cov­ered in no less than 30 plus min­utes. As I was cir­cling 128, watch­ing the large fun­nel cloud of smoke and I knew when I got there it would be dis­si­pated. When I did finally get there I was directed off the exit ramp. I walked down a par­al­lel street, fol­lowed the hose lines and even­tu­ally talked my way onto the high­way. It ended up being okay as I was the only one who was able to talk to the lucky unin­jured dri­ver about what happened.

I think the biggest story of a tanker rollover and explo­sion was the one in Everett a cou­ple of win­ters ago. I was lying in bed wide awake around 3AM and heard a trooper call in say­ing a tanker had just exploded at the route 99 overpass/rotary in Everett. This loca­tion over­looked an elderly res­i­den­tial apart­ment build­ing and houses.

I had to pass the scene I was at Sat­ur­day to get to this inferno.  Down Route One straight up Route 99 won­der­ing where the road­blocks would be hop­ing it was close enough to the scene to be able to do my job. I was able to work my way around sev­eral obsta­cles, ran through the snow cov­ered streets. My video showed what a great job the cops and fire­fight­ers were doing to help res­i­dents evac­u­ate their homes. There was one funny hap­pen­ing as Everett Police were help­ing the elderly from their res­i­dence, push­ing wheel­chairs and try­ing to keep every­one calm one woman said to me “this reminds me of the war years in Lon­don when I used to be taken to a shel­ter when the bomb­ings started.”  I asked her “when was the last time she had been up this late” and she smiled at me.

Below are links to great sto­ries and pho­tos done for my sta­tion WCVB-TV,

www.thebostonchannel.com.

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/28643466/detail.html

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/28648897/detail.html

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/slideshow/news/28642763/detail.html?qs=;s=1;p=/news/;dm=ss;w=400

 

19Jul/112

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.

25Jun/117

Whitey Bulger “America’s Most Wanted” and Me

David Boeri, for­mer WCVB reporter,currently with WBUR Radio wear­ing his Whitey Tee shirt after he was cap­tured. David is a great his­to­rian of Whitey and his exploits.

Whitey Bul­ger was cap­tured and I got the call at 2: am to head into the City (Boston) for cov­er­age of the big story. It brought back mem­o­ries of a con­fronta­tion I had with Whitey almost 40 years ago, way before I knew who or what he was.

The Plaza at the Pem­ber­ton Square Court House on Bea­con Hill was a gated area (still is, but now with a guard shack) and in order to park vehi­cles on the Plaza to cover a court issue you had to knock on the door lead­ing to the bow­els of the build­ing and get who­ever was on duty to unlock the gate. It was the same entrance where the pris­on­ers com­ing for a court appear­ance were brought and then put in hold­ing cells.

One day about 40 years ago I had to go in and out of the Plaza sev­eral times. Each time I knocked on the door look­ing for the “key per­son.” The man with the key got pissed off at me as he thought I was both­er­ing him. I was young, strong (I thought), and if noth­ing else I could take any­one on ver­bally. We spared back and forth yelling and swear­ing at each other, he opened and closed the gate and I moved on.

Later that day I called Dis­trict Attor­ney New­man Flanagan’s pub­lic rela­tions direc­tor Dave Rod­man. I told him the story and  he knew imme­di­ately who I was talk­ing about and told me it was Sen­a­tor William Bulger’s brother Whitey and to let it go.

I did not real­ize what dan­ger I had been in till 20 years later when I started to know more about Whitey, read he had worked at the Court House and real­ized who I had had the con­fronta­tion with on that par­tic­u­lar day. It was a scary thought after read­ing he had dis­patched peo­ple for var­i­ous rea­sons and I prob­a­bly gave him good rea­son that day.

A cou­ple of years ago I was at a book sign­ing event for “The Soil­ing Of Old Glory” and Billy Bul­ger was the mod­er­a­tor as we talked about forced bus­ing in Boston in the 70s. I told him about the inci­dent. We both laughed as he said “I guess you are lucky to be alive!”

Through the years Whitey’s rep­u­ta­tion as the “Sav­ior of South Boston” cer­tainly dimin­ished and fear set in. There used to be news­pa­per arti­cles say­ing Whitey played it safe against the bad ele­ments of South Boston; only run­ning some gam­bling oper­a­tions and keep­ing drugs out of the area. Works out he was the drug run­ner and involved in pretty much every­thing ille­gal in the area, plus mur­der­ing peo­ple at will. He has been charged with 19 known mur­ders and believed to be involved with many more.

Paul Corsetti, a for­mer reporter I worked with, also had an inci­dent with Whitey. Paul was chas­ing a story on a South Boston bookie and not think­ing much about it when he got a call at the office. It said it was Whitey him­self telling Paul “I know where you’re fam­ily lives and the school bus your daugh­ter gets on every day.”  Paul told Whitey it was not him he was look­ing into and gave him the bookie’s name he was watch­ing.  Whitey light­ened up and gave Paul all the infor­ma­tion he needed to do the story and the two moved on.

Another time in South Boston at Pre­ble Cir­cle there was a call for a shoot­ing. I raced there and the area was hec­tic with EMTs work­ing a vic­tim and cops run­ning around look­ing for sus­pects. Dick Fal­lon, another news pho­tog­ra­pher, kept telling me they were look­ing for Steven “The Rifle­man” Flemmi, who it turns out, was Whitey Bulger’s part­ner both being FBI infor­mants. Steve’s brother Michael was a Boston Cop who later got him­self in trou­ble and ended up in jail like his brother.

In the late 1967 I was cruis­ing with Record Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­pher Gene Dixon my col­league for 16 plus years when he heard the call for a per­son in the snow. It was on Har­vard Street in Dorch­ester and when we got there William Ben­nett one of three broth­ers was curled up, bloody snow around him as he had been assas­si­nated.  The other two broth­ers Wal­ter and Edward also died that year and the only body that was found at that time was William’s. As I read up on the his­tory of Whitey it seems his mur­der was all part of the gang wars of those past days.

I grew up in Revere, Mass­a­chu­setts where it was said there was a bookie or gang­ster on every cor­ner. Not true– just on a lot of cor­ners but not all of them. My first “Mafia” hit took place dur­ing a gang war between local gangs. There was an infor­mant by the name of Joseph Baron Barboza.

Bar­boza used to hang around a club at the old Pleasan­ton Hotel on Revere Beach (three alarm fire destroyed it, yes I was there). One of the enter­tain­ers at the club was Myles Con­nor, infa­mous for shoot­ing for­mer Major Jack O’Donovan of MSP in 1966, (when he was a lieu­tenant detec­tive) in a shootout in Boston’s Back Bay. Con­nor who used to jump out of a cas­ket in his act went on to prison after the shoot­ing and is some­how con­nected to the Isabella Stew­art Museum Rob­bery of 1990. There is also a story that Whitey Bul­ger and an asso­ciate might also be some­how involved with the Museum Heist.

One night at the Pleasan­ton a guest got assaulted by Bar­boza. Rather than tes­tify against him he did a year in jail for con­tempt of court. Scary peo­ple there and a mile fur­ther down the boule­vard was the Ebb Tide a club where the Patri­arca asso­ciates hung out. They were not there to lis­ten to enter­tainer Tommy Hunt sing I’m sure but I was a few times, lis­ten­ing to the music and look­ing to see what wise guys came into view. It is like a tread mill with all of the same peo­ple on it and con­tin­u­ing to keep the plat­form going.

Joe was some­how involved in help­ing the police get to rival gang mem­bers who may or may not have been the peo­ple who fre­quented the Ebb Tide. As a result he and his friends were on a hit list. On a week­day night 35 plus years ago I cov­ered the mur­der of Dominic D’Amico, and East Boston man. He was an asso­ciate of Barboza’s and had gone into a Boston club in what was then called the Com­bat Zone on lower Wash­ing­ton Street and straighten things out. He had police pro­tec­tion and ditch them think­ing he could make things right.

He was told to go to Revere and meet some­one near the Squire Club on Squire Road in North Revere. He did meet some­one or should we say some­one met him. When I got there he had been blown apart and was sit­ting slouched against the steer­ing wheel of his car about 100 yards from the club. I went to the scene from my home and met the overnight pho­tog­ra­phers who were work­ing.  Revere Police Offi­cer Mickey Cas­soli was in charge and teased me about allow­ing me to pho­to­graph the scene. Mickey was one of the great cops I got to work with over the years.

Another one of the group was Patsy Fabi­ano. Patsy was in hid­ing and at one point was put in the Charles Street Jail for pro­tec­tion. Kevin Cole, my col­league at the paper, got his pic­ture as he walked in the front door. Patsy was later killed gang­land style in the Boston area. I actu­ally knew Patsy; he hung out in Revere and went to Revere High.

Dur­ing this gang war time our great writer Harold Banks did a book on Bar­boza and word was out there was a “hit” on him.  Harold was the City Edi­tor on Sat­ur­days at the paper and his Assis­tant City Edi­tor was Tom Sul­li­van. Harold was ner­vous about what might hap­pen and had police pro­tec­tion, One Sat­ur­day, Tom Sul­li­van put up a big sign on the back of his chair which read “I am not Harold Banks” with an arrow on the sign point­ing to the Harold. It brought on a lot of laughs.

We were tight with the Dis­trict Attor­ney back then and we were set up to pho­to­graph Bar­boza as he was being escorted from one court room to another at the Pem­ber­ton Square Court House. A very ner­vous Dick Thom­son a col­league was sent on a Sat­ur­day morn­ing and the sus­pect was led across the cor­ri­dor well pro­tected by police. Our Sun­day edi­tion was the only paper that cap­tured the image. The end finally caught up with Bar­boza on the streets of San Fran­cisco report­edly by a Boston area hit man!

I was on Prince Street in Boston’s North End when they raided the offices of Gen­naro Angiulo the local crime boss. The office had been bugged and after culling the infor­ma­tion that was needed they pulled out all of the files, safes and what­ever else was mov­able. Of course the late and great Globe reporter Dick Con­nolly was there, note­book in hand and watch­ing the scene. Dick was so good at what he did I would be sur­prised if he did not get to lis­ten to the tapes that were recorded.

I had a friend who was told after offi­cials lis­tened to those record­ings he was on a hit list. My friend had pissed some Mafia peo­ple and it was time to even the score. The “law” wanted him to help them but instead he fled the Coun­try for sev­eral years till things cooled down.

The Angiulo office was less than a mile from the Man­ches­ter Street garage Whitey used to hang out with along with his part­ner Steve Flemmi. Most of the pho­tos we see of Whitey and Steve were taken in the area of that garage. Mass State Police had set up sur­veil­lance in a build­ing across from the site. All of a sud­den the pair stopped going to the garage and the rife between the FBI became more pro­nounced as they thought there was a leak com­ing from that office. Works out they were cor­rect and his name was John “Zip­per” Connolly.

Reporter Pam Cross and I were in a dis­trict court fol­low­ing Frank “Cadil­lac” Salemne, a Mafia boss and hit man. He sur­vived an attempt on his life dur­ing a day­time try on Route One in Saugus, MA, when sev­eral shots were fired at him and although he was hit he sur­vived.  Salemne at one time had fled Mass­a­chu­setts and was liv­ing in New York. FBI Agent John Con­nolly hap­pened to see him amongst 8 mil­lion peo­ple on a down­town Man­hat­tan Street and made the arrest. It was always felt he was one of the peo­ple Bul­ger and Flemmi dimed out and let Con­nolly know where he was. Salemne was sup­posed to be a friend of the pair.

Ray­mond Patri­arca with his attor­ney Joseph Bal­liro leav­ing a Boston court around 1967. Over Patriarca’s right shoul­der is Record Amer­i­can Reporter Tom Berube.

The big boss of the Mafia in New Eng­land was Ray­mond Patri­aca, the Mafia Don from Rhode Island. Get­ting a photo of him was a big deal as he put the fear of God in every­one and he always had his tipar­illo cigar in his mouth and did not say pleas­ant things to the media.

The first time I saw him was at Fed­eral Court in Boston. We were all wait­ing for his appear­ance, every­one was talk­ing, and I was the only one that spot­ted him when he walked by us. I raced in behind him as he got in the ele­va­tor and got the only photo as the ele­va­tor door closed. About an hour later he came out the same door and walked right through the crowd, every­one was alert this time. Both the AP and UPI pho­tog­ra­phers got bet­ter images than I did and the Edi­tor of the paper hung them up in the photo depart­ment to make sure we all knew we got beat.

The last time I saw Ray­mond was at a New Bed­ford Court when they brought him in by ambu­lance and stretchered him into his hear­ing. I got a great photo of him laid out. When he died we all went down to Rhode Island to the funeral home and cov­ered peo­ple going in and out of  the wake.

When I first began at the news­pa­per, bookie raids were big and we had sources to tell us when, where and every­thing we needed to know to be there when it hap­pened.  I was dis­patched to the 411 Club on Colum­bus Avenue in Boston’s South End. The sus­pects were being carted out and from there I fol­lowed the group to the Fed­eral Court House in Post Office Square. There were not any metal detec­tors in those days so keep­ing up with the group was no problem.

I got into an ele­va­tor but lit­tle did I know I got on with some of the sus­pects. One of them being a major player in the rack­e­teer­ing group, Dr. Harry “Doc” Sagan­sky, a Brook­line den­tist and big time bookie.  He was smok­ing a cigar and he turned to me flick­ing his ashes and said “If you take my pic­ture I will burn your eyes out.” I still have my eyes so you know what I did not do that day.

Another time the FBI was pick­ing up Mafia sus­pects along with Boston Police and they paraded the group across the street to the JFK build­ing from the Dis­trict One Police Sta­tion on New Sud­bury Street. It was a very orga­nized show and tell by the cops and at one point Vin­nie “The Ani­mal” Fer­rara, one of the key fig­ures, looks at me and says “get that light out of my eyes,” I said “yes sir” and moved onto some­one else.

I knew some of the vic­tims of Mafia hits. The beau­ti­ful wife of gang­ster Richie Cas­tucci, San­dra, used to shop at Arthur’s Cream­ery where I had my high school deliv­ery job. I loved going to his Revere Beach Boule­vard home as the tip was big and she was good to look at.

He report­edly felt oblig­ated to the FBI after they pro­vided some infor­ma­tion to him so he became a con­fi­dant. They found him wrapped up dead in the trunk of his car less than a mile from where Dam­ico was mur­dered on Lantern Road in Revere.   This was sup­pos­edly part of the Whitey Bulger’s group of killings. Another mur­der tied to FBI Agent, John “Zip­per” Con­nolly, who is serv­ing what should end up being life sen­tence in a Florida Jail.

When these gang wars first began my col­league Gene Dixon took a great photo of one of the vic­tims near the back of the old Boston Gar­den. Gene had gone up on the express­way and even told Globe pho­tog­ra­pher Ollie Noo­nan, Jr. where there was a good view. The pho­tos the two of them made with the light­ing, gird­ers and high­way made it look like the scene from a movie.

The Record Amer­i­can did not use the photo as they thought it was too grue­some and Gene walked around for weeks show­ing and talk­ing about all the sug­ges­tive pic­tures on the movie pages of the paper where every­one appeared to being hav­ing sex (not the words he used). What really got him pissed was see­ing Ollie’s photo in a dou­ble page spread in Life Mag­a­zine doing a story on under­world mur­ders and this was a good example.

Today, while chas­ing the story sur­round­ing Whitey’s cap­ture I was first sent to his brother’s Billy house then to his brother Jack’s house, both in South Boston. I was sit­ting there look­ing around work­ing to stay awake and as I looked up at two men talk­ing I real­ized one of them looked like Jackie. I picked up my video cam­era and zoomed in, it was him.

I started tap­ing the scene, jumped out of the car as he began walk­ing towards me. He had this big umbrella in his hand and all I could think of was I escaped the wrath of his brother and now he would do me in. Not to be, I said “Hello, would you like to talk to me?” he very angrily said “I am not talk­ing” and he walked back to his apartment.

The Rest of The Story:

My friend and col­league Mike Ander­sen updates me with his Patri­aca story. 

I could iden­tify with you pho­tograph­ing mob­sters.  Right after I started at the Record I was assigned to get a pic­ture of Ray­mond Patri­arca being arraigned in Fed­eral Court.  I didn’t even know how to get from Winthrop Square to the cour­t­house.  They told me to go to the press­room on the 14th floor and the reporter would help me.  I didn’t know cam­eras not only were not allowed in the court­room but weren’t allowed on the same floor.  So I was wan­der­ing around the 14th floor, look­ing for the press­room, and I was pass­ing the ele­va­tors when the ele­va­tor door opened and four men in suits got off, sur­round­ing this tough-looking, wiry lit­tle man.  “No pic­tures,” one of the suits said, and nat­u­rally I com­plied.  I didn’t even know it was Patri­arca but sensed it was.  Later I got a pic­ture of him in the back seat of the Mar­shalls’ car com­ing up out of the cour­t­house park­ing garage.  I told the pic­ture edi­tor not to put my credit line on the pic­ture; I didn’t want Patri­arca to know who took it.

See link to Margery Egan Story on Ben­nett Broth­ers:

http://bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view/2011_0626too_late_for_grieving_sisters/srvc=home&position=2

20Jun/111

Lord Stanley, The Bruins And The Stanley Cup

Bru­ins Cap­tain holds up the Cup for all to see dur­ing the Rolling Rally.

It took almost 45 years but I got to cover the Boston Bru­ins win­ning the Stan­ley Cup for the third time. There was almost 40 years in between the 2nd and 3rd cham­pi­onships; the first two hap­pened when I was an avid fan and sea­son ticket holder.  I saw every game Bobby Orr played at Boston Gar­den and even drove down to watch the Bru­ins and the Rangers play in New York back in the days when hockey was very impor­tant to me.

The morn­ing after the win was fun, got called into work early to go to Logan Air­port for the team’s return from Van­cou­ver and thought I might get to see them get­ting off the plane for their bus ride back to the Gar­den.  Not to be, every­thing was secre­tive and the news crews were not sure which gate the bus would come off the tar­mac through and they fooled us all as they went out an open­ing none of us real­ized would be used. Beat before I could even get into 2nd gear.

From Logan I went to Cause­way Street and think­ing the way I did 40 years ago I for­got the bus would pull into the front park­ing lot and we could see them get­ting into their cars and maybe even get to talk with them. I had thought they would drive into the Gar­den like they used to, inside via the long ramp in the back of the build­ing and flee the news hounds. I guess some­times I do live in the past. Had I known the great access we were going to have I would have gone a lit­tle faster and skipped the pit stop I made before I got there. When I did get there and real­ized what was going on I ran through the traf­fic to be where the action was.

The first player I spot­ted was Zdeno Chara, the big foot­ball player size defense­man, who was in the back seat of a limo but the guest with him was what made me take notice. He had the Stan­ley Cup sit­ting next to him and was the first of the play­ers to take it home.  He is the Cap­tain so I guess he might decide who is first or maybe it is an auto­matic. After I tapped on his car win­dow sev­eral times to see if he would open it for me I real­ized it just was not going to hap­pen so I moved on to the big­ger group which was slowly becom­ing smaller and smaller and only a few of the play­ers were still there. I did stick my mic in one of the car win­dows but I don’t even know who it was being interviewed.

From there the day got bet­ter. Mike Dowl­ing, a WCVB sports reporter, caught up with me and we went look­ing for the Bru­ins play­ers who lived in the North End with no clue where that might be. This ven­ture only lasted a few min­utes as we got word we were going to inter­view Kevin and Lynn Marc­hand the par­ents of Brad, the Bru­ins star rookie who had three points in the 7th and decid­ing game and may have been one of the final­ists for MVP.

Talk about a class act. They walked down to the Gar­den from Brad’s apart­ment and talked to us for quite awhile giv­ing some insight into their won­der­ful adven­ture chas­ing the Stan­ley Cup with their son Brad. What fun. His father had gone to 20 play­off games and his mother only 16. They told us she was banned from the games after she attended two los­ing games. When they lost a game she wasn’t at she was then allowed to con­tinue the run. Mike Dowl­ing told me another par­ent of one of the play­ers also suf­fered the same fate after she was at a cou­ple of los­ing games. Super­sti­tion is super­sti­tion and being a lot­tery player I know what that word means.

Mrs. Marc­hand went on to tell us how she really dis­liked his beard and hoped he would be shav­ing it ASAP. They joked about what a mess his apart­ment was and she was hop­ing he would get some­one to keep it clean. They also talked about their other ath­letic son and two daugh­ters even let­ting us know Brad’s younger brother was a faster skater and tougher on the ice.

But the real fun began a few hours later when we found out the Cup was being wheeled down Com­mer­cial Street in the North End to Tia’s restau­rant on the water­front where many of the team would meet for cock­tails. It was very crowded at the out­side bar with patrons snap­ping pho­tos or just gawk­ing when they real­ized the stars of the day and the Stan­ley Cup were in plain view for every­one to see and all had their cell phones click­ing away with some of the peo­ple man­ning real cam­eras. I showed one of the wait­resses how to use the zoom on her newly bought IPad and made her day.

What a thrill to see today’s “heroes” out mix­ing with the reg­u­lars and enjoy­ing every moment of it. I could have recited every player’s name in the NHL back in the 60s and 70s but to tell the truth today I have not a clue who is who. This year I watched all the play­off games and the play­ers on the Bru­ins did not shave dur­ing the play­offs and all had play­off beards. It threw me for a loop on Thurs­day as they had almost all clipped their beards when I saw them and I had fig­ure out who is who. I have not fig­ured it out yet.

These play­ers had mus­cles on mus­cles, 6 pack abs that peo­ple would die for and if I were to try to get them I prob­a­bly would die. I don’t think the ath­letes of today are bet­ter ath­letes than those of the long gone era but they cer­tainly are stronger and have more mus­cle. Then there is the tat­toos; or as the kids call them “ink”. The only ink on my era’s ath­letes would have been from a leak­ing pen after sign­ing an autograph.

My first rally was after the Celtics won one of their 18 cham­pi­onships and Boston finally hon­ored them with a parade in the 60s. They were in con­vert­ibles dri­ving through the Park Square area. I was so mes­mer­ized by the John Havlicek’s beau­ti­ful wife Beth, (what a hot­tie and that word was not even invented back then) I don’t think I shot any­thing but pho­tos of her.

On City Hall Plaza in the 80s there was another Celtics rally and Larry Bird told the tens of thou­sands, “Moses eats shit,” refer­ring to Moses Mal­one after the Celtics beat the Hous­ton Rock­ets. Did that set off a pound or two of let­ters and phone calls!

Bru­ins Locker Room, 1969, Bobby Orr and team­mates the Year before they won the Stan­ley Cup. See other Bru­ins story in blogs.

After one of the Bru­ins cham­pi­onships in the 70s, Phil Espos­ito had surgery at MGH and the Bru­ins were hav­ing their breakup din­ner at a nearby restau­rant.  There was no way Phil wasn’t going to be there so some of his team mem­bers pushed his hos­pi­tal bed with him in it to the restau­rant. The story goes they broke the frame to a door or two get­ting out of the hos­pi­tal and he was still hooked up to IVs. With that team the whole story could be true.

For their first Cup win at Boston Gar­den my seats sec­tion 73, seats 3 and 4 gave me a great view of Bobby Orr’s over­time goal and in 1972 I was at Logan Air­port when the Bru­ins returned with the Stan­ley Cup after beat­ing the New York Rangers at Madi­son Square Gar­den. We were allowed up to the exit ramp and I was tak­ing pho­tos of every­body when Bobby Orr appeared walk­ing with a young woman, (he handed the young woman I was with a bot­tle of cham­pagne from the cel­e­bra­tion) I mis­tak­enly iden­ti­fied as his girl­friend  Peggy, his future wife, WRONG! The next day I was scram­bling to fig­ure out who she was. I went to Welles­ley and knocked on the State Trea­surer Bob Crane’s door with photo in hand to find out who she was and of course Bob knew it was a sec­re­tary from the Bru­ins’ office. He was bud­dies with Orr and knew all about the team.

Who can for­get the Bru­ins first Stan­ley Cup Cham­pi­onship rally on Boston’s City Hall Plaza when Johnny “Pie” Macken­zie poured a pitcher of beer over Mayor Kevin White’s head and then the Mayor returned the deed after they won their 2nd cup in 1972.

In 1975 after Car­leton Fisk hit his famous home run against the Cincin­nati Reds I ran out on the field with all the other pho­tog­ra­phers as I was cov­er­ing the game. In 1986 there I was again run­ning out to home plate after the Red Sox beat the Angels in 1986 to go to the World Series.

Who can for­get the 2004 Red Sox pre-rolling rally event at Fen­way Park when I chose to not work and take my girls to the parade. We walked up to the gate at Fen­way on a whim and there was a Boston Cop I have known for­ever at the door. A few moments later, we were inside enjoy­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties, run­ning on the field as the Duck Boats loaded. Our Christ­mas pic­ture that year was my girls with Johnny Damon.

My scari­est moment in sports came in Jan­u­ary 1986 when the Patri­ots beat Miami for the right to face the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl. I was dis­patched to Green Air­port in Rhode Island for a 2am arrival of the team. Works out there must have been 10,000 peo­ple who also wanted to greet them.  We were some­how in the mid­dle of the tar­mac after the plane landed wait­ing for the play­ers to come down the walk­way. All of a sud­den these 10,000 peo­ple broke through what­ever police lines were there and came charg­ing out to the plane. I was with Jim Reddy a tech­ni­cian at the sta­tion who was sent with me to help. They came rush­ing, I thought it was over, Jim grabbed me and put this big bear hug on me and we just stood in the mid­dle like a street pole and thank­fully the crowd went around us. I bet $50.00 on the game and I think the Patri­ots lost by almost 50 points.

In 1986 after the Red Sox lost to the Mets in one of the games after the con­tro­versy that stemmed between a pitch by Bob Stan­ley being a wild pitch or it being a passed ball by catcher Rich Ged­man, I was at Fen­way when the heart bro­ken team arrived home I heard one of the fol­low­ers yelling out to Stan­ley, “You’re the best” and not many agreed at that point in time.

Patrice Berg­eron ges­tures to the crowd while rid­ing in the Rolling Rally.

Today, June 18, was the big rally for the Bru­ins Cham­pi­onship. In all the ral­lies I have cov­ered this was the biggest crowd pleaser. They had to be more than a mil­lion folks lin­ing the streets of Boston for the rolling rally. It was great to be able to share it with those folks even if I was behind the camera.

So in my 45 years of news pho­tog­ra­phy I have worked 3 Super Bowl cel­e­bra­tions, two World Series ral­lies, numer­ous Celtics cel­e­bra­tions and 3 Bru­ins Stan­ley Cup “par­ties.” Not bad for a man whose only ath­letic pur­suit is read­ing the sports sec­tion of var­i­ous publications.

My daugh­ters at 21 and 22 have seen all of the home­town teams win a cham­pi­onship, a feat that took me 55 years.

Out­side the gar­den the other day when the Bru­ins returned I bumped in Tom Farmer, for­mer Her­ald reporter and long time friend. His ques­tion to me was “I bet you have cov­ered all three of their cup wins?” My answer was “yes” and now I am won­der­ing if he is try­ing to tell me I am old?

The only thing I do know if it takes another 40 years to win the cup again I will not be there for the celebration.

 

5Jun/110

Bears, Tears and Tornados!

One of the lucky ones as this home was deemed safe for occu­pancy. Less than a 1/4 mile from his home two peo­ple were killed by the tor­na­does in sep­a­rate incidents.

What a week, start­ing off on Sun­day cov­er­ing a fatal motor­cy­cle acci­dent. It was one of those smaller bikes or should I just say not a Harley. It was Sun­day morn­ing in Saugus, MA, around 6:30am when I took a run to a call that sounded serious.

When I got there Saugus Police had the area con­doned off and there was what was left of the bike. Half at one point of the area and the other half at the other side.  In the mid­dle was the driver’s seat and a hel­met with char marks from the result­ing fire after the bike went under a pickup truck and burst­ing into flames, the 20 year old dri­ver did not survive.

What was left of the burn­ing bike where a 20 year old was killed in Saugus.

The week before I was dri­ving north on Route One in Saugus when two of those bikes went fly­ing by me. The first one doing near 100 miles an hour almost tip­ping over as he made the curves. A few min­utes later I saw the bikes pulling into a restau­rant fur­ther up the road and I pulled in after them.

I rolled down my win­dow and iden­ti­fied myself as a news per­son and ask­ing them in no uncer­tain terms what they were doing dri­ving like that explain­ing in my way of explain­ing how many dead peo­ple I had seen as a result of crazi­ness like they dis­played. One of the rid­ers apol­o­gized and I said not to me pal but to your fam­ily after you are gone. When I asked the other if he wanted to die he shrugged his shoul­ders and walked away. I said don’t believe what Osama said you are not com­ing back.

On Mon­day of last week it got worse a 12 year old had drowned in the waters off of Hamp­ton Beach, New Hamp­shire. She went miss­ing around 8: pm Sun­day night after her and her 20 year old brother had gone for a swim.

Reporter Jack Harper and I caught up with the fam­ily Mon­day morn­ing and it was a home of a tragedy we walked into. The fam­ily could not have been nicer invit­ing us in to copy pho­tos of the young girl which were hang­ing on the wall then talk­ing to us about what happened.

Hamp­ton Beach after the 12 year old’s body was found.

The 20 year brother was dis­traught as he explained how he and his fam­ily decided at 5: pm there wasn’t much traf­fic and they should go to Hamp­ton Beach for some fun. Around 8pm the two of them decided to go for a swim. They did not real­ize how cold the water was or how stiff the cur­rent was flow­ing. In the water a cou­ple of min­utes and sud­denly his younger sis­ter was yelling for help and he was try­ing to reach her. He was blam­ing him­self for not being able to reach her and still hear­ing her shouts for help. He told us while try­ing and not suc­ceed­ing in keep­ing him­self com­posed how he became exhausted almost drown­ing him­self till a passerby pulled him to safety. It was awful to visu­al­ize and I am sure he will be keep­ing those awful mem­o­ries with him the rest of his life. A few hours later her body was dis­cov­ered about where she was last seen. She had come in with the cur­rents that took her away.

Wednes­day started off great chas­ing weather and quar­ter size hail. I did not get to catch up with the ice on my first run around nine in the morn­ing but the day con­tin­ued with a light­ning strike house fire in Andover then the call for a sight­ing of a bear that had been spot­ted the day before in Weston, MA.

I went from Andover to Way­land hop­ing I would be there for the cap­ture of the ani­mal who was shop­ping for food at the wrong restau­rant, neigh­bor­hood streets. There was sev­eral sight­ings that morn­ing and I was chas­ing police who were chas­ing the bear, lot of excite­ment and for me lots of fun as the only bears I had ever viewed were in captivity.

Jack Harper was once again going to be my part­ner and as the cops were search­ing the woods behind the house where the last sight­ing took place a call came in from neigh­bor­ing Fram­ing­ham they had the bear in sight about a mile from where I was.

I sped down route 126 not know­ing for sure where I was going but know­ing it was sup­posed to be just over the town line. I saw the enter­ing Fram­ing­ham sign and knew I was close but after dri­ving about a mile I decided I must have missed the street and yes I did on the first pass.

I spot­ted a police cruiser this time and got up to a fence where cops and civil­ians were yelling there it is there it is and a cou­ple of them con­vinced there were two bears. I jumped out of the car debat­ing whether to grab my tri­pod and decided I didn’t want to take the extra few sec­onds it would take and besides that car­ry­ing both a tri­pod and cam­era is hard on my back.

There I was look­ing through my black and white viewfinder with these peo­ple yelling there it is and no way I could spot it though the cam­era lens, a black bear, dark trees and leaves and no sep­a­ra­tion of colors.

I fig­ured I should get my tri­pod for the long wait for the bear to come out from the brush. While set­ting up the tri­pod and mount­ing the cam­era the group start­ing yelling again and I glanced to the left and there it was about 3 sec­onds of view and before I could shoot it (with the cam­era) it was gone. At least I got to see a bear in the woods.

We were wait­ing to do a live shot when the calls start­ing com­ing in about a pos­si­ble tor­nado in Spring­field. The weather con­di­tions where we were start­ing dete­ri­o­rat­ing and there was no way we could do a live shot, light­en­ing and wind were putting an end to that.

I was able to pull up one of the radio appli­ca­tions on my IPhone and lis­ten to fire calls in west­ern part of the State. There was con­fir­ma­tion of a touch down of at least one tor­nado in Spring­field which would later grow to three sep­a­rate tor­na­dos all being a cat­e­gory threes with gusts as high as 165 MPH.

Then the real fun began and believe me it wasn’t fun. Jack and I started head­ing West on the Pike for Spring­field about an hour away. It got very scary and Jack had been telling me about this great show on tor­na­dos he had watched the night before. At one point he said he wished he had not watched it as he now knew too much about them.

About 20 min­utes down the pike the sky got darker the rain heavy and the quar­ter size hail I missed in the morn­ing was pound­ing down on our vehi­cle bang­ing away like some­one was throw­ing rocks at us. We pulled over like many other vehi­cles and Jack did the first of three great phon­ers for the news reports. What a descrip­tion he gave as he put the viewer in our car watch­ing what we were seeing.

Con­tinue west we heard reports of a tor­nado trav­el­ling east par­al­lel to the Pike head­ing towards us as we headed west towards it. We were not sure what to do and were try­ing to fig­ure out where we take shel­ter if we see one. I think we both would have liked to see it as long as we could be safe. The only place I could see and it was kind of a joke was under a guardrail which I could never fit under and would prob­a­bly not help us anyway.

I would hear calls for build­ings col­laps­ing in Mun­son which ended up being one of the harder hit towns but Spring­field was our des­ti­na­tion as we knew it was a sure thing. After talk­ing our way into one of the rav­aged areas in the 200 block of Maple Street we could see how severe the dam­age was. Many trees uprooted, houses heav­ily dam­aged and peo­ple cling­ing to each other happy to have sur­vived the onslaught. It was tough to look at know­ing many of these peo­ple had not much to begin with and they lost what­ever was left.

Union Street, West Spring­field where a mother lost her life sav­ing her daughter.

That was day one of the storm and day two was worse as reporter Kelly Tuthill and I went to West Spring­field where two of the three peo­ple killed as a result of the storm lived. The first one we went to was a house that was no more where a 39 year old mother had grabbed her daugh­ter; put her in the bath tub with her and pro­tected her from the destruc­tion by lying on top of her. The 15 year old sur­vived with non life threat­en­ing injuries while the mother died doing what moth­ers do, try­ing to keep their chil­dren safe.

From there we trav­eled a few miles from that house to the home of a 23 year old man whose fam­ily had come from Rus­sia and his par­ents and eight sib­lings lived. He had been killed dri­ving down Main Street in West Spring­field after a tree fell on his vehi­cle crush­ing him.

We talked to his sis­ter who was a lovely young woman explain­ing to us what a won­der­ful brother he was and then talk­ing about watch­ing TVear­lier and hear­ing some­one had died after a tree had fallen. She told us how badly she felt for the vic­tim and his fam­ily. When she found out it was her brother her whole world was crushed.

The week finally ended for me in Mun­son where I saw more houses destroyed, peo­ple try­ing to sal­vage what they could which wasn’t much and hear­ing sto­ries of survival.

Total for week was five dead, scores of houses destroyed and sad­ness at every view.

 

 

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