, Newburyport, MA


May 27, 2013

Remembering a family's demise


Suddenly it dawned on me that the jacket was an Athol High School “Red Raider” jacket. By the time that I had put two and two together and realized that the wearer was Terry O’Brien, however, he had passed me and ascended farther up into the bleachers. I thought of following him up to say hello, but I didn’t. I still regret that.

Then he, too, the last of the O’Briens, was gone. Money was found throughout his apartment. Commented one who knew him, “He did very well with what he had.”

So, on Memorial Day, I remember — an old family friend, a former coach, a teammate, a fellow serviceman, a surviving older brother. It’s a sad story, one in which I find it difficult to find meaning.

One consequence of this war was the end of a family. The line lives on only in memory, which, of course, is the purpose of Memorial Day.


Stuart Deane lives in Newburyport.

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