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

24May/113

Finally A Commencement I Wanted To Go To!

Han­nah, Molly and Debbie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Katie Couric

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

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

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

 

20Apr/113

Cop Shooting 1970 40 Plus Years Later

Deputy Superintendent Barney Schroeder calls for back up after an anti-busing demonstration got out of hand on Boston's City Hall Plaza

 

Deputy Super­in­ten­dent Bar­ney Schroeder calls for back up after an anti-busing demon­stra­tion got out of hand on Boston’s City Hall Plaza

For­give­ness: A show on WGBH-TV, Boston’s PBS sta­tion about the shoot­ing of Boston Police Offi­cer Wal­ter Schroeder killed in the line of duty in 1970. Here are my mem­o­ries of the incident.

The late 60s and early 70s were a tumul­tuous time in Boston and across the Coun­try with all the Viet­nam War protests and unrest towards the gov­ern­ment. I met Offi­cer Wal­ter Schroeder for the first time in the lobby of the Brighton dis­trict police sta­tion after he cap­tured a bank rob­ber. The rob­bery took place at the State Street Bank Branch on the cor­ner of West­ern Avenue and Everett Street in Brighton, the same spot where he would try and stop another rob­bery sev­eral years later and was shot to death.

These were the days when yel­low tape was not in play and inter­views and pho­tos could be taken right up close at the scene of the crime. In a photo oppor­tu­nity after the cap­ture, Schroeder had laid out the money on a bench in the front lobby of the sta­tion along with the rifle he con­fis­cated from the would-be robber.

When the rob­bery that killed Schroeder hap­pened on Sep­tem­ber 24, 1970, I was in Worces­ter with reporter, Ed Corsetti, when we were work­ing for the Record Amer­i­can. We were in Worces­ter cov­er­ing the mur­der of a Priest and a house­wife near a Worces­ter church. While dri­ving back to the news­pa­per we heard about the shoot­ing and went imme­di­ately to the scene.

The only news pho­tog­ra­pher that got the video of any real action was Nat Whit­te­more of WBZ-TV. He had great film of Office Schroeder being worked on by med­ical per­son­nel, pump­ing his heart, try­ing to save him as he was rushed into the emer­gency room of Saint Elizabeth’s Hos­pi­tal. He died shortly there after from his injuries.

The night of the shoot­ing I was asked to stick around after my shift because the edi­tors had infor­ma­tion from Boston Police that the depart­ment had sev­eral leads on the sus­pects of the rob­bery and the edi­tors would know before any­thing happened.

Around 8 o’clock that night I was sent to a build­ing in the 160 block of Bea­con Street in the Back Bay. Detec­tives were get­ting ready to break down the door to a 1st floor apart­ment where they believed the sus­pects were or had been. I stood in the vestibule of the hall­way as they broke the door down. As the police went about their work, I took a photo and yelled, “flash going off!” I did not want them to think a gun was fired.

I was allowed into the apart­ment and walked around with detec­tives. There was a radio which could get police calls, a green mil­i­tary ammu­ni­tion box and read­ing mag­a­zines about weapons. The cops were great and I was allowed to do what­ever so long as I did not touch any­thing. This was the apart­ment of Stan­ley Bond, the reported ring leader of the robbery.

Bond had the sup­port of two female stu­dents from Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity, Susan Saxe and Kather­ine Ann Power, who were even­tu­ally both wanted for mur­der along with the shooter Lefty Gil­day. There was a 5th per­son wanted in the mur­der but I don’t remem­ber his connection.

This story had legs and I was on it for many weeks. I spent time at Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity when Boston Police worked the cam­pus look­ing for any­thing that would lead them to the suspects.

Within a few days of the shoot­ing there was a car chase in the Mer­ri­mac Val­ley area which began on Route 38 in the Tewks­bury. I was in-line along with the police, chas­ing a car which had Lefty Gil­day dri­ving it and we were all fly­ing north on Route 38 from Rt.128 to  Rt.495 and sev­eral times I had to move over to let state police cruis­ers get in front of me.

I was in the chase with the police as we sped up and down the road­way and the chase con­tin­ued on Route 495 in the Haver­hill area. At one point I got off an exit on Haver­hill dri­ving about 80 miles an hour and as I applied the brakes or should I say jammed the brakes, the car rocked from side to side and I said to myself “I am not going to die in this chase!” Yes I did have my seat­belt on. I was dri­ving a 1966 Ply­mouth Fury with a 383 engine. Wow did that car move.

Later that evening, while dri­ving home on Route 60 in Revere I went down the break­down lane to get to the front of an inter­sec­tion where the lights were red. Moments later, I was pulled over by the police for my dri­ving. I told the offi­cer it was prob­a­bly a good thing he pulled me over and explained what I had been doing ear­lier in the day. He told me to smarten up and gave me a warning.

Later in the week I was cov­er­ing Offi­cer Schroeder’s funeral when we got a tip Gil­day had been cap­tured in Worces­ter. Works out he had held a fam­ily in Haver­hill at gun­point for three days and left that morn­ing. I raced out to Worces­ter where the cap­tured Gil­day was brought out to a BPD wagon and trans­ported to Boston and his arraignment.

Gil­day was cap­tured by State Trooper Bobby Long (the bad one as the SPD also had a great Trooper by the same name).

On a side note: Bobby was in a class ahead of me at Revere High and always danced to his own drum­mer. Sev­eral years later after this cap­ture and sub­se­quently becom­ing a local hero, he shot and killed sev­eral peo­ple in Florida includ­ing his girl­friend and is now in a Florida Prison for life. At the time of his trial, he claimed he was hav­ing a flash­back to his days in Viet­nam and after the trial was told had he not reloaded his gun dur­ing the shoot­ing that the defense might have worked.

Stan­ley Bond the reported ring leader of the rob­bery was cap­tured in Den­ver bought back to Boston con­victed and even­tu­ally blew him­self up at MCI Walpole.

Susan Saxe and Kather­ine Ann Pow­ers escaped cap­ture for many years. Ms. Sax was even­tu­ally cap­tured in Philadel­phia and I cov­ered her as she was brought into the Pem­ber­ton Square Court House for arraign­ment. Many years later Kather­ine Ann Pow­ers gave her­self up to author­i­ties on the West Coast. Both woman served time at MCI Framingham.

 

Schroeder His­tory: Detec­tive John Schroeder of Boston Police, brother of Wal­ter Schroeder, was killed in the line of duty in 1973 at an inves­ti­ga­tion. A third brother, Bar­ney, became a Deputy Super­in­ten­dent on the force and is pic­tured above on the day when “The Soil­ing Of Old Glory” photo was taken as he works to restrain the crowd.

Boston Police Head­quar­ters is named “Schroeder Plaza” in mem­ory of the brothers.

Below is

links to other sto­ries on the incident:

http://bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view/2011_0420forgiveness_hard_to_forget/srvc=home&position=4

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1970/10/5/a-bank-is-robbed-a-cop/

 

10Mar/111

Lucky Sneezes Or Just A Cold?

Grow­ing up I was told by my mother or maybe it was my grand­mother that sneez­ing six times in a row was lucky. Of course back then the think­ing was it would bring a finan­cial mir­a­cle. Being very super­sti­tious and will­ing to put a quar­ter or so on a lot­tery ticket I always believed it would happen.

Well I have already hit the lot­tery of life and I am still try­ing for the finan­cial part of it. Yes like so many other believ­ers I know I will cash in that six digit ticket one of these days.

I sneeze a lot and count the sneezes. Of course when it comes about I make sure I drop to my knees oth­er­wise I will drop to my knees as I did in 1976 when I sneezed out my back. My father had to come to my Water­town apart­ment and prac­ti­cally carry me to the doctor.

Yes­ter­day, Tues­day the 8th of March I sneezed 9 times, which should be really lucky and since I don’t seem to be hit­ting the lot­tery it usu­ally means a good story. I am humored at the Chan­nel Five office about this and when I called the Assis­tant News Direc­tor, Gerry Ward­well, he laughed and said “what does that mean you are going to cover a rollover on Route 128?”

12 hours later I am sit­ting at the com­puter and Peabody Fire gives out a call for a tan­dem trac­tor trailer rollover on Route 128 at Route 95, eight miles from my home. I was beside myself and decided not to go as Ward­well was not going to get the last laugh.

A few min­utes later they upgraded the call and said the trailer that over­turned was car­ry­ing ink and it had cov­ered the road­way. I still did not want to go but when the sta­tion did a cut-in and the road­way looked like a rain­bow from the aer­ial view I slid down the pole and raced to the scene.

So was I right that some­thing would hap­pen or was Gerry right about a rollover on route 128?

Advan­tage Ward­well!

Video Links: http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/27138099/detail.html

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/27134210/index.html

Filed under: All, Breaking News 1 Comment
19Feb/111

Coyote Rescue, Video, Stills and Freezing Temperatures

Coy­ote on an ice flow on the Charles River, Cam­bridge side behind the Son­esta Hotel and res­cuers on the way.

The first call I heard and there I was in the mid­dle of a snow storm, slip­pery roads, poor vis­i­bil­ity, red traf­fic lights, McDonald’s pit stop and with what lit­tle traf­fic there was on the roads seemed to be in front of me. Then it took 10 min­utes to get through every traf­fic lighted inter­sec­tion while my patience waned.

It seemed like I could not get a break. What was nor­mally a 25 minute ride turned into almost an hour and every minute it took me to get there put the res­cuers from the Ani­mal Res­cue League closer to their prey.

The good news was when I did get there the res­cuer in the wet suit was just being low­ered  via a rope into the Charles.  A fron­tend loader which cleared some of the snow had the  ropes tied to it and Sgt. Jim Dey­er­mond of MSP in con­trol of the ropes.

As I tried to park and watch at the same time there was a NECN team there, Mark Garfin­kle  of the Her­ald with all is lens, youth and know­ing what to do and the man who makes me  feel young Al McNaughton from WHDH who will be 73 in March. I hate being late and last.

I did not think I had time to put on my two rain jack­ets, one for me and one for the cam­era  so we both were not cov­ered prop­erly, plus I have a tough time work­ing with gloves so  my hands were uncov­ered. The good news was as soon as I dragged myself, video cam­era,  still cam­era and tri­pod to the rail­ing over­look­ing the Charles the coy­ote was no more than  30 feet from me strug­gling to stay afloat on an ice flow.

The res­cuer had the snare hook rope on a pole and the plan was to grab the “wild dog” and  drag it to the boat docks near where we were. The only prob­lem with the plan is the  Coy­ote was not going along with it. As the res­cuer made progress going towards the coy­ote the coy­ote would keep­ing mov­ing fur­ther away, falling through ice holes and pulling her­self up. The res­cuer was hop­ing it would be stuck with half its body in the water so it could be “saved.”

I was using the video cam­era then the still cam­era then the video cam­era. For what I do the video was more impor­tant for what I wanted the still cam­era was more fun. The only time I do coy­ote sto­ries in my 44 years was after it attacked a domes­tic ani­mal or was a safety nui­sance. Coy­otes are not taken hap­pily or lightly in this area.

The res­cue oper­a­tion went on for about 20 min­utes, I shot 12 min­utes of tape, took 20 some­thing stills and the last shot was of the ani­mal mak­ing its way across the Charles back to Boston. (One the­ory from Nancy Bent on the assign­ment desk is the peo­ple on Bea­con Hill put her on an ice­berg as it was prob­a­bly a cousin of the one that men­aced Louis­burg Square last month).

I was frozen when I got through; the cold had gone through me. My hands were numb along with my well booted feet. I was so cold I was nau­seous. I thought my day was over as I could not feel any­thing but pain. It took about 20 min­utes to get back to feel­ing com­fort­able. The good news is the sta­tion web­site ran 17 pho­tos and the pain seemed to be worth it.

The res­cuers packed up their gear and went look­ing for her on the Boston side of the Charles. A few hours later we were noti­fied she was cap­tured and brought to the Tufts Vet­eri­nary Hos­pi­tal in Grafton in good shape.

She was sched­uled to be released this past week­end into a safe environment.

Video on www.TheBostonChannel.com:

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/26693538/detail.html

Not my first ani­mal res­cue on the Charles.

In Jan­u­ary of 1978 I was about 100 yards from these same docks at the MIT boat house where there was a dog stuck on the ice. I got there with the first arriv­ing police and brought my Golden Retriever down to the dock to try and lure the dog back to safety.

Glossy” barked and wagged her tail and the dog made it back to land. Some­thing like the movie we saw last night, “No Strings Attached.”

Filed under: All, Breaking News 1 Comment
13Feb/114

Nine Lives Minus One

Rou­tine call from Joe Roche on the assign­ment desk, cat on a pole in Rox­bury, please take a look. When I got there Danielle Gen­ter from the Ani­mal Res­cue League was already there, I worked with her two weeks ago on the coy­ote rescue.

Look­ing around I saw noth­ing but her vehi­cle and the deep snow I thought I was going to have to trudge through to find this kit­ten.  I looked up there she was, perched on the top of a tele­phone pole with­out a care in the world. She was prac­ti­cally doing a bal­let dance on her perch. Pranc­ing around, giv­ing her­self a bath, not a care in the world.  The only prob­lem it’s owner a sweet elderly woman was just about panicked.

There I was stand­ing and talk­ing to her as she told me Chan­nel Five was her favorite sta­tion, the rea­son she called us for help. She could not under­stand why the fire depart­ment and the Ani­mal Res­cue League res­cuer would not just climb up the pole and bring her 3 month old kit­ten “Star” down to safety. Worked out a neigh­bor dog chased the kit­ten up the pole the night before.

I know she did not under­stand when I explained to her the power lines were too dan­ger­ous for every­one but an elec­tri­cal worker.   She wanted no part of my expla­na­tion and for the next 90 min­utes or so kept com­plain­ing. In between explain­ing and try­ing to ease her anx­i­ety I was mov­ing the tri­pod around and tak­ing great video and still pho­tos of the most care­free kit­ten you would ever want to see, both media pro­duced com­pelling images, espe­cially if you are an ani­mal lover.

I had given up the wait for NStar and was pulling out of my park­ing space when I looked out the side view mir­ror and there was our future hero. The NStar truck pulled up and the tech­ni­cian accessed the sit­u­a­tion and went to work.

He first put up the bucket to see if the kit­ten would just jump into it and when that did not work he got out this exten­sion pole and just kept pulling out sec­tion after sec­tion after sec­tion, till it was long enough to reach the top of the pole. I had no idea what his plan was but I knew I had to grab a spot where I could be sit­ting down and bal­ance my video cam­era on my knees so it could look straight up.  I picked the icy stair­way lead­ing to the own­ers apart­ment tip­toed up and got to work. Bend­ing back­wards with the cam­era on my shoul­der and look­ing up doesn’t work any­more on this old achy body.

The NStar man kept try­ing to push the kit­ten off the top and the kit­ten kept dodg­ing the pole. It went on for a about a minute as the tech­ni­cian had great con­trol of the pole and the cat seemed to keep it’s bal­ance.  All of a sud­den the kit­ten started run­ning down the pole a cou­ple of feet and then leaped for safety. It ended up miss­ing the hard­ened snow pile but landed first on the Danielle Genter’s shoul­der then bounced into the hard­ened snow bank. Danielle had a blan­ket with her, grabbed the kit­ten like she was a short­stop on a base­ball team and ran it into the woman’s home, with all of us fol­low­ing her.

The kit­ten was fine, no worse for the ordeal. The owner was elated and she thanked every­one. The NStar worker told her to call any­time she had a kit­ten stuck up a tree.

Video Link To Rescue:

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/26788814/detail.html

Filed under: All, Breaking News 4 Comments
24Jan/111

Yes, I Don’t Like Winter Anymore

Mem­o­ries of Cold and Snowy Win­ter Days

I am lucky enough to be off today the cold­est win­ter day since “05” in the Boston area. I think back to when I was a kid and lov­ing every flake. It was won­der­ful coast­ing down Franklin Place in Revere even if the Rice Broth­ers who lived at the end of the run put ashes on their dri­ve­way. This was to pre­vent us from crash­ing into their garage. Actu­ally I think they put them there because they did not like us as I don’t remem­ber hit­ting the garage doors.

Who can remem­ber before there was 4 wheel drive?

We all had rear wheel drive and mostly stick shift cars back then. Many of us gath­ered at the top of Wal­nut Avenue and Franklin Avenue.  We were cheer­ing those who could make the hill in the snow and get­ting behind the rest, to help push those who needed to be pushed.

Look­ing out my win­dow and see­ing Dex­ter Gru­ber shov­el­ing out his father’s dri­ve­way no mat­ter if there was 3 inches or 3 feet of snow. He just did it and bet­ter than any­one else could have.

The win­ter fire at the Lob­ster Cabin in Revere when I saw Revere Deputy Chief Eyden­burg take a header on the ice and break his ankle. Then I heard my mother use the word “ass­hole” towards a neigh­bor who gave her a hard time about where she parked the car in the snow. Boy was I proud of her and never knew she could swear till then.

I had every type of sled there was except the kind that some­one would pull to get me to the top of the run. In the 4th grade of school we had 4 ½ days off from a huge snow storm I could not see over the snow drifts. Roger Cohen and I built a snow fort in my back­yard. The City had to hire bull­doz­ers to clear the road­ways. We never had a snow blower and I doubt they were even invented in the late 40s and 50s?

We had a long dri­ve­way and always hired some­one to shovel it as I was either too lazy or my mother thought I was too weak, prob­a­bly both.

At noon­time when school was can­celled we would watch WBZ-TV and their storm cov­er­age. A pho­tog­ra­pher would always have the shot look­ing through the wind­shield of their vehi­cle trav­el­ling behind a plow. Yes I have also made that shot many times.

I tried ski­ing for the first time in the early 70s. Bought every­thing that was needed except the skills to be able to do it. My first run was at Mount Sunapee in New Hamp­shire. I took the lift to the top of the eas­i­est hill, got in posi­tion and tried ski­ing down. It was like I had glue on my skis. Point­ing straight down the hill I did not move a foot. How was I to know you had to wax your skis before you use them?

There was a big storm in the late 60s and I had gone to a Bru­ins game. While I was trav­el­ling home, I could not get off Route One because the ramps were full of snow. Finally I went through Revere and got to the Malden-Revere line at the Salem Street exit and I was able to get off the high­way. That was a good thing as traf­fic north­bound on Route One came to a halt right there and the cars were trapped for hours. Back then there were just not enough plows to keep up.

Work is another issue. I started in 1966 and there was noth­ing more excit­ing than cov­er­ing a snow storm. I don’t remem­ber my first news storm but I remem­ber going out there and every­thing you needed to see was right in front of you. You could not miss get­ting a good pic­ture and not every­one had a cam­era or a cell phone with cam­eras or even cell phones. In those days you just had lots of dimes to call the office and real cameras.

At the news­pa­per pho­tog­ra­pher Car­roll Myett would go to the Cop­ley Plaza hotel in Cop­ley Square every March. There were two lion stat­ues at the entrance to the hotel and if it snowed he would title his shot of the lions “March Roared in Like a Lion.”

Bliz­zard of 78

There was the “Bliz­zard of 78” one of my biggest dis­ap­point­ments as a news pho­tog­ra­pher. I had had an emer­gency oper­a­tion on my Achilles ten­don in Jan­u­ary and although I was using crutches I could not go out on the street to take pic­tures. I reported to the office every­day and just hung out.

With my right leg in a full cast I was able to drive after my friend and auto mechanic Alan “Doc” Kagan got a left foot gas ped­dle adapter from an auto parts cat­a­log and rigged it up for me.  I still don’t remem­ber how I got my right leg into the front seat but there I was dri­ving as needed.

On the day the storm began I left work early and went home to Roslin­dale, star­ing out the win­dows for sev­eral days and con­stantly call­ing the office with police and fire call updates for their coverage.

I did get out in the storm one of the nights as my friend and National Guard PR per­son Chip Hoar brought a National Guard truck to the bot­tom of my street and sev­eral National Guards­men came to my door and had to drag me through the unplowed snow to their truck and we went out and cov­ered the storm.

I had a portable scan­ner with me and we went to two fires, one in Dorch­ester one in Hull. There I was on crutches tak­ing pic­tures with the National Guard guard­ing me.

Through the years the best stills and video came dur­ing storms that affected the Beach­mont sec­tion of Revere. Before they put the pump­ing sta­tion up and bet­ter retain­ing walls. I could always count on peo­ple get­ting res­cued and great photos.

No Name Storm of 1991

The best one for me was prob­a­bly the No Name Storm of 1991 with the freez­ing cold and great pho­tos as Police used bull­doz­ers and ducks to get peo­ple out of their homes.

One of my bet­ter mem­o­ries was when my friend Alan Gorin came by to see if I was there and we went to Dunkin Donuts for cof­fee. Alan died much too young, shortly after I saw him.

One time I was work­ing with WCVB reporter Byron Pitts and we were in con­tin­u­ous cov­er­age from Rougham’s Point in the Beach­mont sec­tion and Byron was hav­ing a good time with me teas­ing me on the air about know­ing so much about the area and remind­ing view­ers I grew up near where we were.

The real good mem­o­ries of win­ter and snow storms is when I took my girls sled­ding, ice skat­ing and build­ing snow peo­ple. If there was snow we were out in it.

Snow vs. 30 Pound TV Cam­era!  PS the cam­era starts off at 22 pounds and gains weight like me dur­ing the day.

Now I dread the next storm and the thought of being out in it for hours. It is so had to maneu­ver through the snow banks and stay warm. I usual can so the for­mer and fail on the later. Last week while cov­er­ing the Revere mur­der on a cold winter’s day I was climb­ing down from a pile of snow when I started to take a header.

All I could think about was total­ing another cam­era and I felt like a bas­ket­ball player. On the way down I was able to twist my body like I was doing a dunk shot and gen­tle put the cam­era on the top of the pile.

Sev­eral years ago on route 95 in Peabody I was not as agile as I slipped, went up in the air and totaled a lens for about $12,000.00.

Not the last time I had issues with equip­ment and win­ter. Last year dur­ing the flood­ing I was try­ing to help a stranded motorist in Peabody. I had hip boots on and instead of putting my cam­era on dry land I put it on the wind­shield of the car to keep the cam­era safe.

I got into the driver’s seat to put the trans­mis­sion in neu­tral so the car could be pushed. Who knew when I turned the igni­tion on to put the trans­mis­sion in neu­tral the wind­shield wiper would push the cam­era off the wind­shield into sev­eral feet of water? Talk about a sick feeling.

This year has not been that bad yet but the poten­tial is there. Wow am I glad to be off today!!!

19Jan/110

Celtics, Knicks, Spike Lee and Me

Spike Lee a giant in his indus­try has used my photo “The Soil­ing Of Old Glory” in at least two of his movies, one of them being Mal­colm X and I have an auto­graphed hat from him. A cou­ple of weeks ago I got an email from my web­site which asked for my phone num­ber as the tele­phone num­ber on my web­site was incor­rect. The only catch to me from this email was it said the num­ber that is on the site when dialed got them to a pack­ing company.

My radar went up and I thought it was some kind of sex­ual ref­er­ence. I sent a reply ask­ing “who are you?” Their reply said Spike Lee wants to talk to you. Of course I sent the cor­rect num­ber back imme­di­ately I would have run to New York if needed.

I was out­side Ted’s Mobil in Methuen, Mass­a­chu­setts doing the 390 mil­lion plus Megamil­lions story for my sta­tion. I thought I might not be buy­ing the win­ning ticket but I will be talk­ing with Spike Lee almost as good.

I was think­ing when he called I would get to know his per­sonal phone num­ber from caller ID but of course all it said was incom­ing. The voice on the other end intro­duced him­self as Spike Lee and I imme­di­ately said “before we talk about busi­ness I want to ask you about the Celtics/Knicks game from last month?”

I ask him if he ever saw the video of the game and his answer was “you mean the night we got robbed?” I said you did not get robbed and he told me “Paul Pierce’s shot was made with .7 sec­onds left and the Knicks had .4 sec­onds left. I insisted they did not get robbed, they lost, then told him about the announces talk­ing about him and his love of the Knicks but sort of pok­ing fun at him.

He said “you mean Tommy Hein­sohn or Cedric Maxwell?  I said no it was a national game and they were not the announc­ers and he imme­di­ately said “it must be Van Gundy and com­pany?”  I told him I was not sure but they were all over the fact that his old friend who now played for the Celtics whose name I had to ask him by ask­ing him who it was that went from the Knicks to the Celtics.  He answered “Nate Robin­son” and he was hav­ing a great night against the Knicks which I think the announc­ers were enjoy­ing as the cam­eras played on Spike Lee. My last remark was “you got more face time than Jack Nichol­son gets at Lak­ers’ games.”

What a thrill I got to talk about bas­ket­ball with Spike Lee and even bet­ter the Celtics won that night. Of course I have been at a cou­ple of Celtics’ win­ning cham­pi­onship games. The best one was in 1962 when Frank Selvy of the Lak­ers missed an 8 footer with the score tied at 100 and sec­onds tick­ing down, Bill Rus­sell pulled down the rebound, went to his knees and held on till reg­u­la­tion time ended.

In that game the Lak­ers’ great Elgin Bay­lor fouled out in over­time. The Celtics starters ran over to the vis­it­ing bench to shake Baylor’s hand after he sat down and then the Celtics won the cham­pi­onship in the overtime.

I was at the Bru­ins Stan­ley Cup vic­tory in 1970 when they beat St. Louis at Boston Gar­den sit­ting in my sea­son ticket seats sec­tion 73 row C seat 3 or 4. I saw every game Bobby Orr played at Boston Gar­den includ­ing when he played with the Oshawa Gen­er­als as they would play a game or two every year in Boston. I gave up my seats after Orr left for the Chicago Blackhawks.

When the Bru­ins beat the Rangers for the Stan­ley Cup in 1972 I was at Logan Air­port at the gate when the Bru­ins returned with the Cup in hand.  Of course I messed the cap­tion for the photo up by misiden­ti­fy­ing the woman get­ting off the plane as Bobby Orr’s girl­friend Peggy who even­tu­ally became his wife.  The young woman in the photo was one of the assis­tants in the Bru­ins office.  I think I was more upset than the edi­tors when they made the correction.

In the 1976 play­offs the Celtics beat Phoenix in the 5th game but it took three over­times and the last over­time and the vic­tory came at the end of the court where I was sit­ting.  Celtics went on to win the Cham­pi­onship in seven games.

In 1975 I ran out onto the field as a still cam­era­man cov­er­ing the game for the Her­ald Amer­i­can after Car­leton Fisk hit his famous 12 inning 6th game of the World Series win­ning home run against the Cincin­nati Reds in the World Series.  Fisk was wav­ing it fair as he watched it going out of the park as he rounded first base.

In 1986 I was on the field for the Red Sox vic­tory that sent them to the World Series against the Mets and out­side Fen­way Park after they lost the cham­pi­onship to the Mets in part due to Bill Buckner’s error when they came back home.  It was 3: am or so and there was a fan yelling to Bob Stan­ley “you are the best!”

I sat in Red Auerbach’s box at a home game once with my good friend Alan Gorin as the paper’s sports edi­tor Sam Cohen who was always there with Red saw us and invited us into two empty seats.  No Red did not engage in a con­ver­sa­tion with me other than say­ing hello.

And now I got to talk with Spike Lee, not bad!!!

11Jan/112

Should Have Said “No Thank You!”

Yes­ter­day I worked 8:30 to 4:30. Fin­ished up at Logan Air­port shoot­ing the dis­play mon­i­tors show­ing can­celled flights south of Boston due to snow. Called home and said I would be home early for dinner.

Then the phone rang and I was asked if I could go to the Children’s Hos­pi­tal to shoot a 5:pm presser with Boston Police and the fam­ily of a six year old who was the vic­tim of a hit and run dri­ver Sat­ur­day night in the Brighton sec­tion of Boston.

Arrive at Children’s Hos­pi­tal, recep­tion area full, had to dou­ble park where I was told. Ask by park­ing atten­dant if they could put my car in the garage, I said no as when I come out close to 5:30 I will need to get to my live shot.  Did not wear lay­ers of clothes as I was going inside.

Great presser, very sad about the hit and run 6 year old girl.  Boston Police, her par­ents and doc­tor speak­ing. The par­ents quote “this was not some ani­mal the dri­ver hit but their lit­tle girl” was very dra­matic. Jorge Quiroga (Chan­nel Five reporter) took tape and ran down to where truck was.  He did not know where it was at the time and nei­ther did I.

Go out to get in car, no car. Atten­dant told me they were get­ting it.  Stood there for 10 min­utes, now 5:40.  I told atten­dant that in 5 min­utes I had to walk down to where the truck was and do a live shot and he told me the car should already be here and he checked.  Very cold about 100 yard walk with tri­pod, cam­era, wrong hat and no gloves.

While I am wait­ing for the car for a few more min­utes another atten­dant asked me for my coupon for pay­ment.  I tell him I have no clue what he is talk­ing about.  He says every­one else had one why didn’t I? I said because no one gave me one. He said you have to pay.  I said I am not pay­ing. I was very nice as he insisted.  I told him he should con­tact who­ever he has to because I was not paying.

Called the desk for help, stand­ing out in cold and still wait­ing, I had 1 minute left before I would start walk­ing. Atten­dant comes out with coupon but still no car.

I walked to truck, set up for live shot, Jorge said might be top of show then we are told 8 min­utes in. Stood out there from 5:55, wrong hat, no gloves, Har­vey Leonard the weath­er­man telling every­one there is going to be a lot of snow. I am freez­ing and we are 8 min­utes in which felt like an hour.  Fin­ish live shot, walk back up, vehi­cle is there.

Have to go to bath­room, ask atten­dant if I can leave vehi­cle few more min­utes, race in to where the lobby level men’s room is. Guess what, closed for clean­ing. Ask where next one is, up one level down six cor­ri­dors and found it.  No paper tow­els use jeans.

Get home at 730, miss din­ner with Deb­bie, cooked chicken not warm any­more, salad left­overs soggy, lousy night, should have said “no thank you.”

5Jan/114

Esp, Coincidence Or Just Life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan­u­ary 6, 2011

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

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

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

From my Facebook:

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

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

26Dec/101

Revere Beach And The Spot I Cannot Forget

Mass­a­chu­setts State Police Bar­racks on Revere Beach which for­mally was the MDC Police Sta­tion. Shoot­ing took place about 100 feet from the right hand side of the station.

It was in the late fifties and I was just com­ing into my teenage years and for­ever I will remem­ber that day.  My life­long friend Alan Belin­fante (owner of Beach Sales in Revere) and I were walk­ing the Revere Beach Boule­vard tak­ing in all the sights and sounds on a warm summer’s day with the noise of the peo­ple and amuse­ments drown­ing out our conversation.

We had just passed the MDC Police Sta­tion (now Revere Bar­racks of Mass­a­chu­setts State Police) and were com­ing towards group of carnival-like booths; the Cyclone Roller Coaster was prob­a­bly our destination.

There were rows of booths where peo­ple were try­ing to win prizes and a cou­ple of real live 22 cal­iber rifle shoot­ing gal­leries that were part of the scene. We slowed down to see how the shoot­ers were doing. There was a row of 22 cal­iber rifles chained to the counter top to pre­vent any­thing other than shoot­ing at the mov­ing tar­gets. I don’t know if there was a min­i­mum age for use but I do know that I had shot those rifles many times.

Sud­denly there was a scream and we saw a young girl falling to the ground a car length in front of us. There was blood flow­ing from her head wound and peo­ple were scream­ing and run­ning every which way.  The police were there in sec­onds and then the big MDC Cadil­lac ambu­lance showed up, scooped the lit­tle girl up and took off. This was before the days of EMTs and Para­medics who give instant care at a scene. An MDC Police Car escorted it and they left for Boston and Mass Gen­eral Hospital.

Alan and I just started run­ning the other way. We were not sure what hap­pened till we read the news­pa­per accounts the next day. I know I did not tell my par­ents about being at the inci­dent oth­er­wise I would have been banned from the beach forever.

In the news sto­ries that fol­lowed it was said the teenager boy who shot the girl said “I was with my girl­friend who was babysit­ting her sis­ter and I was just try­ing to scare her to make her shut up.” she died later that day. He was tried for mur­der. I don’t remem­ber the out­come of the trial. They came from Boston’s West End.

Not all my Revere Beach Mem­o­ries are bad. As a child, my mother took my sis­ter and I to the beach almost every day. We spent our sum­mers on the beach and as a teenager, my friends and I hung there at night.

I used to play those car­ni­val games and won two para­keets putting a dime on the num­ber 60. I remem­ber telling the friends I was with, “watch and I will show you how to win.” Next thing they knew I was run­ning down the beach shirt­less hav­ing taken my shirt off to pro­tect the para­keets and bring them home where they lived for many years.

This Is What Alan Belin­fante Remem­bers Of That Day.

Ok, we were on our bicy­cles, mine a Raleigh, used, you I think Schwinn. We stopped at the shoot­ing gallery, you on one side strad­dling your bike, me on the other. The idea at the shoot­ing gallery was to use the 22 cal. bul­lets to knock out a red star and Win $5.00.

The guns were sup­posed to be left unloaded until a patron tried their luck. Now, the unfor­tu­nate cir­cum­stances. A young teen age girl was babysit­ting a young fam­ily and took them to Revere Beach for the day. She ran into a teenage boy in the penny arcade and left with him and the chil­dren to stroll the boulevard.

Right out­side the arcade was the shoot­ing gallery. The rifles had a chain on the bar­rel for safety? His story in the after­math of the tragedy was he pulled the trig­ger quickly at the tar­get to make sure the rifle was empty (he did not actu­ally pay for the shoot).”

Just try­ing to impress the girls. Then, he turned the gun at the group to scare them, actu­ally aim­ing high in case (even though he said he tested before). The restric­tion of the safety chain only allowed for lim­ited move­ment when turn­ing the gun out­side its nor­mal range.

Unfor­tu­nately for that lit­tle girl, his aim­ing high and the safety chain was just enough to have the 22 cal. bul­let hit her in the tem­ple. A very small hole, as I remem­ber, almost no blood and unfor­tu­nately no move­ment, she just dropped.

We did race our bikes to the MDC sta­tion, as we arrived they were already pour­ing out of the sta­tion. I don’t think we went back to the scene. We were close that day, I have thought about a lit­tle more chain or move­ment and it could have been one of us. Any­way, that’s how I always remem­bered that day.

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