South Shore residents share stories from the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.By Maria Allen • Photographed by Jack Foley
Last spring, more than 85 people from around the South Shore and the Boston area were asked to share their memories of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The group included runners, doctors, EMTs, clergy members, students, media professionals and spectators. The resulting interview transcripts were adapted into a new work of documentary theater, titled “Finish Line – the Untold Stories of the 2013 Boston Marathon.”
The brainchild of Scituate playwright Lisa Rafferty and Joey Frangieh, the producing artistic director of the Boston Theater Company, “Finish Line” is a play that was created to honor the experiences of survivors by telling their stories on stage, word for word.
“‘Finish Line’ will honor the community that arose that day, based in compassion and kindness,” says Rafferty. “It will also focus on the recovery and resilience of those who crossed the finish line in 2014.” Preview performances will happen in April, in advance of the world premiere in 2017, in association with the Citi Performing Arts Center.
The following pages include short excerpts from the stories of South Shore residents.
The Host/Producer of “Around Town,” Fox 25 Morning News, Michele Lazcano was working in the newsroom on the day of the bombing.
“I had gone through quite a bit in my life—loss, and getting bad news brings up a lot for me. Anyone in the news business, they get that over and over again. It may not be happening directly to them, but you have empathy and you have feelings and when you’re going to the site of a car crash or a fire and you know that someone was hurt, it’s not just that you’re covering the story. You’re thinking about their family members —about the loss of life. And for me that all came flooding back. And at one point, um, I don’t even remember exactly who I was on the phone with, but I stopped and I went into another room and I shut the door and I started crying with them on the phone and I said, ‘I am so sorry that you’re going through this.’
The minister at Old Ship Church in Hingham, Ken Read-Brown was running the day of the bombings. He ran his first marathon in 1970.
“Disasters often bring us together. The running community was certainly affected, generally across the country—maybe around the world to some extent—as an international race. I was struck, as we all were, when the winner of the marathon that year gave his medal back to the city. What a beautiful gesture. I mean, he understood, that his even winning the Boston Marathon was not as important as what Boston had gone through. I thought it was beautiful that he won this year and could keep his medal.”
Maureen Hayes is a marathoner who runs with Team Hoyt.
“The positive thing that came out of it for me was the forever memorable experience of the following year, crossing the finish line with my team—with everybody. We were sobbing. A lot of people knew of Dick’s experience in the bomb, that he had been stopped at 25 with teammates. They knew that year was supposed to be his final year, so the crowd—you know, coming into the finish line, coming down Boylston was…well, I’ll never forget it. I’ve never been more proud to be part of something in my life than I was in 2014, having come back, like such a strong team like that, and all crossing the finish line together. That was…something I’ll never forget.”
Jessi Tassini (a student at Northeastern) was driving to see her mother, Sharon, at the finish line the day of the bombings.
“I was getting text messages from people I haven’t talked to in years, people that were abroad that were like, just messaging me on Facebook: ‘Are you okay? I know you’re at the Marathon.’ I’m like, yeah, I’m still trying to get ahold of my mom but I don’t think she was anywhere close. Once I saw the visual of it, I was like, why am I still in Boston? I need to get out of here. I don’t want to be here
Jen D’Arrigo Spaulding, Joe D’Arrigo, Beth D’Arrigo Campbell and Kerri Roberts
Hometown: Scituate and Marshfield
Joe D’Arrigo is a runner who works for the Archdiocese of Boston. He and his daughters: Jennifer Spaulding, Kerri Spaulding, Beth Campbell and Kate Coughlin (not pictured) ran the Boston Marathon together in 2013 and 2014.
“In 2013, I was 70. The kids said, ‘What do you want for your birthday?’ And I said, ‘You know, we’ve all been on the course together – we’ve never run together, and we’ve never finished together. So for my birthday, I would like all of us to run together and finish together.’ You know, it was like taking Christmas away from us. That’s what Boston has always been. It is one joyful day. It is the one time Bostonians aren’t reserved. And that whole week, they’re totally welcoming to people from all around the world. Having that taken away, I think it was a violation—it was a violation of personal space, a violation of something sacred.”
A track coach and science teacher at Notre Dame Academy and a Massachusetts Track and Field Official, Rick Kates works as a timer at the finish line. He is also an EMT supervisor in Carver. He saved lives that day.
“The National Guard and the police and some of the volunteer security were pulling the fence down, and I saw the blood on the ground. I ran back and I knew the medical gloves were for the athletic trainers. I grabbed a whole bunch, went back over the fence, and then just kind of went into my EMT mode, because I’ve been an EMT now for thirty years.”
Sharon Tassini is a member of the Dana Farber race team and runs in memory of a child who died of cancer.
“My ‘memory family,’ Sue—I run for her son. I never realized how important it is to those families to see their runner run by. It’s amazing what the runners for these families do, keeping their child’s memory alive. Obviously everyone’s upset and horrified by the injuries and fatalities. I just never realized that what this did could have affected something so important to just one person and I vowed—you’ll be able to see me the next year.”
Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his Boston Marathon bombing photos.
“I looked around and there were no other media. And that was the burden—I had to do the best I could at my job. And that’s what I did. I went back to the finish line area and I thought to myself, How ironic, you know, 15 minutes before that, people were crossing the finish line in jubilation and now they’re
coming across the finish line
Dave Wedge coauthored the book “Boston Strong,” which is being made into a movie.
“All these survivors that we talk about in the book… they felt comfortable enough to share their lives and stories. Some have become some of my best friends…The good things are some of the stories of inspiration like little Jane Richards overcoming her injuries and singing the National Anthem at the Red Sox. And Carlos Arredondo just started a foundation for families of soldiers who commit suicide. And Heather Abbott, who started a foundation who have suffered limb loss. Those are the things that are good about this. Hopefully more of that happens.”
Evening anchor at WCVB Channel 5 (former anchor at Fox 25),
Maria Stephanos was standing near the finish line as a spectator, with her two children, waiting for her husband to finish the race.
“The next year [the marathon] was the greatest thing I’ve ever gone to. People were cheering, laughing, clapping, hugging and touching. It wasn’t about winning. It wasn’t about your best race. It was about us—all of us. It was the brightest, lightest, most inspiring day you could ever imagine. If you’re upset about anything in your life, you look at what these people went through and you have nothing to complain about. I admire them so deeply and so purely. The true measure of a man (woman) is how they handle themselves in times of crisis. And each and every one of these people—oh, they have dark days. They absolutely do—but boy, look at the legions of people they’ve inspired. It’s humbling. We will never forget. It’s pretty inspiring to see how everybody came together and how people continue to come together. Out of the darkness has come light.”