Neighbors: Former neighbor pays it forward 

  • John Burt marches down Main Street as a school bus in last year’s Rag Shag Parade during Halloween festivities in Greenfield. Stay safe on Thursday as trick-or-treaters make their way back to the streets of Franklin County. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE


Staff Writer
Published: 10/28/2019 1:10:30 AM

Good morning neighbor!

I recently spoke with a young woman who grew up here, but moved south a couple of years ago. She hasn’t forgotten where she comes from, though.

Her mother, Debora Lorion, who lives in Georgia now, was married to an abusive man at that time, she told me. She said she felt very alone, but very happy about the impending birth of her child, Chaynna Nicole, in the fall of 1991. But, she didn’t have a lot of help — her husband wasn’t even present for the birth. Debora told me she developed a relationship with the nurses she had been seeing throughout her pregnancy in eastern Franklin County.

“I was seeing them every other week toward the end, then every week. The nurses knew my situation,” she said.

On her last visit to them before Chaynna’s birth, the nurses asked her if she’d been thrown a baby shower. When she replied “no,” they asked to wait in the waiting room, and a little while later, they reappeared with presents in hand.

“They gave me nail polish and a blouse and other clothes and makeup for myself, and they had baby clothes and toys for Chaynna. I’ve never forgotten that.”

And, neither has Chaynna. She said her mother told her that story many times, so recently, she decided to do a good deed for her own birthday celebration on Sept. 29. She sent the nurses who are still alive — a few have died or moved on and have most likely retired — a basket of treats and a “thank you” for their kindness toward her mother and, by extension, her.

“I had to do something,” she said. “They were all so kind.”

Chaynna told me she has an entire list of “good deeds” that she has been doing in honor of her birthday. She said she’d rather give to others than receive. What a nice idea.

I see this kind of thoughtfulness every day here in the county where I grew up. I know there are times when it seems like everyone is at each other’s throats, but there are also some really good people who don’t want to fight or complain or worse. They simply want to live their lives, but also want to recognize those who have done something nice, no matter how small, to make their or someone else’s life better or more comfortable.

So, Chaynna, thank you for your kindness toward the women who were once so kind to your mom. I guess it’s a way of paying back and paying forward all at the same time. I’m sure someone will do the same for someone else someday, and you may never hear about it, but be assured that it will happen. I know the wonderful people of Franklin County, and I’m betting on it.


On another note, Halloween is Thursday, and I wanted to remind everyone to please be safe. Make sure you cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks, and look left, right and left again when crossing. And, don’t stop looking as you cross, because you never know.

Put those cellphones down for the short time you’ll be out trick-or-treating — be present. You need to keep your head up so you know what’s going on around you, and parents and guardians or whoever is escorting young children, please teach them to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.

Children especially — I’d say everyone — should walk on sidewalks or paths, and if there aren’t any, should walk facing traffic as far left as possible. You should always walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings, and watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Also, stick to familiar areas, if possible.

If you’re helping a little one get ready, decorate their costume and bag with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Choose face paint and makeup instead of masks, as well — sometimes masks obstruct a child’s vision. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers, and when selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

I know, I’m preaching, but I just want you all to be safe.

As drivers, we need to be alert and aware, and drive slowly through residential neighborhoods, in particular, on Halloween. Children get very excited and may move quickly into the street without a thought. You also want to enter and exit driveways very carefully. The popular hours for trick-or-treating seem to be about 4:30 to 9:30 where I live, and I’m guessing it’s the same everywhere else.

I’m excited for my grandchildren — they’ve all been gearing up for the past couple of weeks. Eight-year-old Justin is going to be that ferocious beast, Godzilla, and Cole, 10, is going to be a soldier. The twins, Owen and Travis, who are 7 now, are going to be football players, and their little sister Lilah, who is 11 months old and my only granddaughter, is going to be a football — you can imagine how many ways that could go wrong. Eighteen-month-old Drew is going to be the Grinch.

Grandma can’t wait to see all of them. And don’t worry, I’ll be lecturing them and their parents plenty before the big night. See you out there!

Senior Reporter Anita Fritz grew up in Franklin County after moving from Spokane, Wash., when she was just a few weeks old. She is the regional reporter for the Greenfield Recorder. She covered Greenfield for eight years and has served as features editor for the Recorder and editor for the Athol Daily News.

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