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Archive for October, 2010

i am freezing

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

I stood outside waiting for my 11:00pm live shot and I had one prevailing thought – fear!  It is October.  I can see my breath!  I was standing out there, waiting the 10 minutes before I’d go live and I realized, I was freezing.  How was I going to survive this winter?  The other day, I wore a coat to work and hubby removed our air conditioner from the window.  Not only was summer over but winter was already nipping at my frigid fingers.

I am actually scared of winter.  The last time I was in Boston, I worked mainly during the day.  It meant various court stories, where I would be bundle up, yes, taking off many layers as I sat in court, but at least I was warm for a portion of the day.  This go around, I am on the night shift.  There are no court stories in the evening.  Nearly all of my stories take place outside.  And, of course, it’s colder at night.  I can honestly say I’m frightened!!

It’s been 4 years since I’ve reported in the bitter cold of a New England winter.  In Charlotte, October is the most glorious month after September.  In the Carolinas, summer extends well into September.  October and November are late summer months.  Autumn comes in December.  January and February are the winter months.  Spring is in March while April, May and June are the summer months.  It’s July and August that are dreaded because they are oppressively hot and humid.  In the South, July and August is über-summer.

I started to think about New England weather.  I returned in late March.  I still needed a coat and gloves.  Spring starts in April here and summer arrives in June.  Friends told me August actually marks the end of summer.  Fall arrives quickly in September and as I’m now realizing, winter starts dipping the mercury in October.  At this rate, winter will extend into December and frozen tundra time will occur in January and February.  Awesome.

I came home from my live shot in a full panic.  Where are my winter boots?  Did I donate them to the Salvation Army 4 years ago?  How many pairs of long johns do I have?  Oh poop, only one.  I donated several pairs when we moved south!  I thought of the hand and feet warmers I’d have to buy.  I purchased them in bulk before and when I left for Charlotte, I bequeathed them to my photographers, but now I’d have to invest again in mass quantities of these little packets of warmth.  I need to locate the hats, gloves, and scarves.  I don’t even know where to start looking for my space pen.  (While working in Boston, every year I’d ask for a space pen for Christmas.  It allowed me to write in freezing temperatures.  Don’t laugh – it was a necessity!)  Maybe this year I’ll just use a pencil.

The hyperventilation panic has subsided.  Thanks for the longer nights, I’ve gotten a good night sleep and have awaken with a brighter perspective!  I figure I have enough gear for fall and winter here, which gives me a couple more weeks to prepare for the frostbite months.  I’ll take any suggestions you have on stay warm (best thermals, must have jackets, warmest boots) but I think the only positive side is – there are only four more months until spring.

mattapan rocks

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I recently spent a couple of hours on Hazelton Street in Mattapan and wanted to stay. I so enjoyed talking to everyone I met and thought about how wonderful it would be if they were my neighbors.  Everyone I ran into was incredibly helpful and brimming with pride.  Maybe because they knew their neighborhood isn’t just about murder and mayhem, it’s also about heros!

That morning on Hazelton, two teenage sisters ran into a burning building to save an elderly woman.   They didn’t have to, they say they hesitated a moment before going in, but in the end they did it because it was the right thing to do. News of their altruism quickly spread across the neighborhood!   By the time I arrived, hours after the fire, neighbors kept pulling me aside, asking me if I’d heard about the two teenage girls who saved this 93-year-old woman.   I had and I was desperate to tell their story.

Hazelton Street sits off Blue Hill Avenue, just around the corner from where gunmen shot five and killed four people, including a two-year-old last month in Mattapan. I covered that quadruple murder in Mattapan for five days. Over and over, I witnessed the very public displays of shock, fear, grief and anger.  It was a difficult week, as neighbors grew, understandably, tired of news crews overrunning their streets – taking up precious parking spaces, illuminating their quiet lives with our bright lights on top of cameras and rigid microphones in their faces.   I got the sense many were torn between having us doggedly pursue this story so their small neighborhood’s murders would not be forgotten, and wishing us away so they can hunker down and get back to the business of living their lives again.

We eventually left.  We reported on the one arrest police made in connection with the murders and when that man, Kimani Washington, returned to Boston to appear in court.   But until some big new developments, we likely won’t return and we’ll recall the horrific event as an alliteration: the Mattapan Murders or the Mattapan Massacres.

So when I got an assignment to come back to Mattapan on Wednesday, I could see why everyone was brimming with pride.  Around the corner  from where shooters took the lives of four people… two teenage girls had run into a burning home to save a life.  For neighbors, it’s a paradigm shift; Mattapan isn’t synonymous with murders, it is where ordinary yet magnanimous families live.

Click here for the teens’ heroic story.  It’s not posted for very long so take a look!