Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Next to Heaven

I know what it means to be from there.  I'm from there.  It's the place where you want to raise your kids.  The place where I raised mine for ten years.  It's the place to where you can move from another town and not feel like the "new" family, where the person running the after school program hands you a tissue when you're worried about money and assures you that your precious 5-year old will have a safe haven at 3 p.m. every day, where the neighbors don't get mad when your kid crashes into their fence on her new bike.  It's the place with the playground on top of the hill, where your daughters can play with their friends and you can see all of Boston from your bench.  It's the place where the whole town turns out and stands in line outside in the February cold at night, waiting to console the family of the second grader who died, or where the Catholic church is packed to the gills with people of all faiths when the school secretary succumbs to cancer.  It's the place where the streets make no sense, where a "Cape" is a house and not a super-hero vestment.  It's the kind of place that makes your 10-year old yell at you to stop the car so she can help the person struggling to shovel heavy snow from a front walk, because you both know that someone would do that for you.    It's the place where the residents refer to parts of town as "down the Centah" or "up the Heights."   It's the place where Hank the gas station guy knows you so well he tells you about his daughter, Carol, where the best teachers in the state want to work, and where you meet friends you'll cherish your whole life.  It's the place where everybody celebrates with you when your kid hits the buzzer-beater at Fidelity House, and commiserates with you when she misses.  Because there'll always be a next time.

Krystle Campbell, 29, was most recently from Arlington when she was killed at the finish line at the Boston Marathon yesterday.  She lived there and worked there.  By all accounts, she was a real asset to my beloved town.  I guess, for Krystle, Arlington was next to heaven.  Rest in Peace.