I was planning on writing this post to introduce you to my new family member’s, (rescue dog/kittens.) What happened in Boston, my hometown, Monday afternoon, changed all that.
You can take the Girl out of Boston, but, you can’t take the Boston, out of the Girl.
I was born and raised in Wellesley, MA. My mother was born in Wellesley, my father was born and raised in the next town over, Newton Lower Falls. The marathon follows along rte. 16., through Wellesley and Newton Lower Falls, all the way into Copley Square.
I have been sitting here in my home in Myrtle Beach, SC., – far away from the chaos and carnage that has happened – thinking of my home town, with such dis-belief and sadness. I spent my early 20’s living and working in Boston. First on Newbury Street in retail, then moved to the Parker House on School Street: down the road from the State House, and, an official site on the Freedom Trail. I love Boston.
Wellesley is considered a part of Greater Boston. According to the course description you can find on line, the town of Wellesley – from boundary to boundary – covers the marathon from the 12th thru almost the 16th mile. Near the 13th mile, Wellesley is considered the halfway point.
I cherish my childhood memories of watching the Marathon. Because a lot of schools/businesses are closed on this day, my father was home. That meant he would walk us out of our home on Abbott Road to the bottom of the hill to Washington Street (Rte. 16) to watch the runners. I remember being so excited, waiting to catch that first sight; the first runner coming over the little incline in front of the Community Playhouse. A big cheer would go up and all the people watching on both sides of the street, would stand up and start clapping. And, the clapping never stopped. We would usually stay until the bulk of the runners had made it past. Even though I didn’t participate in the sport of running, and never started running on a regular basis until I had my own kids, I was aware, at a very young age, some important lessons in watching the participants.
When the elite first group of runners would pass by, I knew I was watching really talented athletes. From all over the world – competing. Their graceful strides and ease in which they ran, was such a thrill to watch. Plus, local newspapers would give detailed descriptions of what countries would be represented, and who the favorites were to win. As a young girl, some of the countries listed I had never heard of before, so it was all very exciting.
I was also struck by the diversity among the bulk of the runners: people of all ages, trying their very best. When someone would be struggling, perhaps break their stride, put their hands on their hips and start to walk instead of run, the crowd would seem to clap a little bit louder, yell out encouragement, offered little cups of water, and cheered them on their way. I realized that this Marathon is really special: it brings communities, and the whole of Boston together for one common cause: to cheer on world-class athletes, weekend runners, people running for a cause, people just trying to say they accomplished running in THE Boston Marathon. (And what an accomplishment that is!) This Marathon, to most, is not about winning. It is about discipline, courage, accomplishment: a great example of the human spirit to press on.
And now, a great treasure of a global sporting event, has been brutally attacked. I am so heartened by the news reports of responders, medical staff, course volunteers, fellow runners, at the scene: they all ran to – not away. Another great example of the human spirit and the courage these people have displayed while witnessing the worst that human beings do to each other. This selfless show of compassion and willingness makes me remember, in times like these, that there are more people on this ever-shrinking planet that are good. It is just so sad that the sick, few, among us, take us down for a bit.
Just let us not stay down too long.
My heart is heavy today, for all the family members and friends who have been so horribly impacted by this terrible attack.