Neighbors: Intense week, never to forget

Hello neighbor.

A very tense, pins-and-needles-type of week is behind us — although I don’t think last week will ever be forgotten.

We all heard the news on Monday, whether we were listening to the radio at the time, watching television, or heard a co-worker announce the news with terror and disbelief in his or her voice.

Working in news for more than a decade, it’s rare that something surprises me, but being human, I have to say that I never get used to something as heinous as what happened at the Boston Marathon.

We all spent the week talking with friends, family and close neighbors — by close neighbors I’m talking proximity — who were somewhere in the city, when the bombs exploded.

I knew a few people who were there and, thankfully, they are all fine.

Our neighbor Derek Postema of Erving wrote me at the end of last week to tell me about his experience at the marathon. He ran for Team World Vision.

Derek ran with his daughter Julia, who finished before him. Derek was having a bad day, so he sent her ahead and went to a medical tent at the finish for some help.

“I was actually on the phone with Millie, my wife, who was about a block away with Julia and her husband Andy and his mom, when the first bomb blast went off,” Derek told me. “It sounded like it was right outside the tent. Ten seconds later, the second blast went off.”

Derek said luckily he and his family were able to get out of Boston that day.

“It was so surreal,” he said.

Welcome home, Derek.

As the week progressed and we all waited to hear about whether they would catch the second suspect, I had to deal with a little drama of my own.

My dad had an appointment at the VA hospital in Jamaica Plain on Thursday. He had to go, because he was having some trouble.

My brother-in-law Joe had brought him down in the morning. He saw his hematologist, and by shortly after noon, Dad was being admitted into the VA hospital in West Roxbury, where he needed to receive a blood transfusion.

My sister and I were supposed to pick him up on Friday, but that’s when everything went into lockdown in Boston and some of its suburbs, so we couldn’t get into West Roxbury. Even if we could have, the hospital was in lockdown and unable to accept any new patients.

I had hoped to get close enough to report firsthand what was happening, but we never got close enough.

My sister and I spent the afternoon worrying about our dad, and were very happy to hear that bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been captured and my dad’s hospital was no longer in lockdown.

He’s home and feeling much better now.

I know we are all thankful that our Franklin County neighbors are safe, but we all need to continue to think about our neighbors to the east.

They have endured an unspeakable tragedy and we should keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

Boston Strong.

SHUTESBURY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL will host a spaghetti supper and silent auction on Friday beginning at 6 p.m. at the school.

There will be two seatings, but the 6 p.m. seating is sold out. I’m told the second seating has a limited number of tickets available, so call for them now.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children. They may be purchased from any fifth- or sixth-grader, at the school, or at the library.

Money raised will benefit the school and its sixth-grade class.

For more details, call 413-259-1212.

ARTSPACE COMMUNITY ARTS CENTER will hold its second annual String Celebration Day on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Greenfield High School auditorium.

String players from the area, ages 8 to 18, will be participating. The music has been arranged for all levels of players, from first-year students and up.

The first String Celebration Day was held last May and 55 students participated.

For more information, call 413-772-6811 or email:

GUIDING STAR GRANGE IN GREENFIELD will hold a photo exhibit and blood drive on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

You wonder about the odd combination?

Roger Katz was a photographer who often went to the grange to photograph dances there. He recently lost his battle with cancer, but before so, had suggested, when asked, that an appropriate memorial would be a blood drive.

So, the grange decided to hold the blood drive while exhibiting his photographs. There will also be music by Anna Patton and friends beginning at 2 p.m.

If you plan to donate blood, make an appointment with Baystate Health Blood Donor Program at 877-612-5663 or email:

After my most recent experience with my dad, I can tell you it is extremely important that people give blood. It could be you or someone you love who needs it some day.


The exchange students will be staying in New England for about a month, while they improve their English and experience American life.

Boys and girls range in age from 14 to 17. They will arrive June 26 and leave on July 21.

For more information, call Ann Newsmith at 802-257-4710 or email:


Northfield Senior Center will host a diabetes self-management workshop given by Franklin County Home Care Corp. on Wednesdays from May 15 through June 19 from 12:15 to 2:45 p.m. at the center at 69 Main St. in Northfield.

For more information, contact Lesley Kayan, healthy aging coordinator at FCHCC at 413-773-5555, ext. 2297 or at:

ROBERTSON MEMORIAL LIBRARY IN LEYDEN will celebrate its 100th birthday in Town Hall on May 11 at 6:30 p.m. with a festive Coffee House, which will be open, free of charge, to Leyden residents and visitors.

Activities will include readings by local writers, a show by local artists, an historical exhibition, and musical performances.

Refreshments will be served.

Sounds like fun.

THEY SAY IT TAKES A VILLAGE, but in Montague, it will take five villages and surrounding towns to send Turners Falls High School graduates on their way this year.

There will be an all-night, substance-free party at French King Entertainment Center on graduation night (May 31).

Organized by parents and guardians, donations are currently being accepted to help pay for refreshments and door prizes.

For more information or to make a donation, call Sara Campbell at 413-522-3468.

It’s a great way to keep our kids safe.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or call her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: up to noon on the day before you want it to run.

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