[Post from Paul] And now … for something completely different!

Yesterday, at about 2:30 am, our family was awakened by the sound of the doorbell ringing insistently.  I managed to shake the sleep out of my body, check that Pam — lying next to me in the bed — was all right (actually, she was awake and urging me to answer the door) and haul my pajama clad self toward the front of our house where I was met by a man in uniform who identified himself as a member of the Boston Police and told me he needed to come in.

“We’re pursuing a dangerous suspect.  He may be right here in your home.”

Of course, I allowed him to enter.

Before I could think, there were several policemen, handguns drawn, standing in my living room battering me with questions.

“Who’s here with you?”

“My wife and my daughter.”

“Where are they?”

“My daughter’s in that bedroom over there and my wife is in our bedroom, right through that door.”

Policemen were dispatched to the bedrooms, still with guns drawn, calling the remainder of my family out into the light of the living room.  I could feel waves of fear coming emanating from the men around me.

“Did you know the door to your basement is unlocked?”

“I left it that way,” I explained, turning to the man and taking note of him.  He was white, about thirty-five and had the body of an athlete.  He wasn’t looking at me — he had his eyes trained on our back door. “The plumber’s coming tomorrow morning.  We had an explosion in the cellar last night — the water heater blew.”

Hours before, the basement had been flooded with water, and the local police and firemen had been called.  The hot water, blessedly, had been shut off,  and we were now awaiting the morning repair promised by the folks at Malcom Plumbing & Heating.  It was after that event, and after we’d gone to bed, that Pam and I had been awakened by the sounds of another explosion, and then another — in quick succession.

“Is that the heater?” Pam had asked me.

“No,” I told her then, “The sound isn’t from inside.  Somebody’s setting off firecrackers outside.”

“That’s a relief,” she said, “As long as it’s not our plumbing again.  It’s turned off, isn’t it — and the gas.”

“Everything’s fine, Pam” I told her, “Just go back to sleep.”  Neither of us thought to wonder about the “fireworks” that had gone off about a block away.

That had been an hour before.  Now, Pam and Angelique were walking toward the living room, toward the armed policeman and me.  Instinctively, I headed in their direction.

“Don’t move,” the policeman ordered.  I took stock of his gun.

“Holy shit!”  This was serious business.

Policemen kept entering.  The room was getting crowded.

“Maybe you should go outside.  Until we clear the house.”

After that, chaos.  Contradictory orders, confusion, questions asked about the lay out of the condo, about our neighbor upstairs, the beams of flashlights cris-crossing the walls of our home.  I was called to lock the basement door, then ordered out of the basement by policemen who told me the suspect might be hiding there.

Then, the incident was over.

“He’s not here,” one of the policemen announced.  “Lock your doors and go back to bed.”

The visitors from Boston left, and then the phone rang.  A robo-call from the Watertown Police told us to not to go outside.

Little by little we put the story together.  Operating her laptop from our couch, Liqa monitored the ‘net, and told us about the MIT cop who’d been killed, the Seven-Eleven that had been held up, about the pursuit of the Marathon bombers.  Reports were being filed all over the country, all over the world.

The attention of the entire planet was being directed toward a single neighborhood, a quarter square mile, in East Watertown MA — and we were in the center of it.

Was all of this putting Pam’s cancer into perspective, or had Pam’s cancer prepared us to put these incidents into perspective?

“We’ve got to post something to Facebook,” Angelique told us, “So people know we’re ok.”  We were already getting calls, and texts and emails — and it wasn’t yet 3 am.

Pam posted her Facebook status.  “Those terrorists should be glad they weren’t in our house.  I’ve survived two brain surgeries — they don’t scare me a bit.”

And then, and then … well you know the rest.  It was all anyone has talked about over the past 24 hours.

Be well,



About pamvbradford

I am a fifty seven year old banker specializing in government banking. I have a beautiful twenty-one year old daughter and a wonderful husband. My husband and I recently downsized, and purchased a beautiful condo in Watertown MA. We love our new home. I know I am a very fortunate person. I am surrounded by supportive family members, by supportive coworkers and by the marvelous support of our faith community at Sacred Heart Parish in Lexington MA. As the Psalm says, "There is nothing that I lack." My whole life changed on July 18, 2012 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The news came from out of the blue. My tumor was removed by the marvelous Dr. Mark Johnson and his wonderful team of surgeons at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The surgery truly was a miracle. I couldn't possibly have gotten better care. Now the 'easy' part is over. The tough part is to learn to walk with God in the midst of danger and surprise. My mood shifts from gratitude to fear and back again but I know God has a purpose for me. There's a reason I didn't die on the operating table. There's something that God wants me to do. This blog is my effort to share with others, with all of you, what it is that I am learning as I put one foot ahead of the other, live each day as it comes, and discover what it is that God has to teach me. Your prayers keep me going. Your love comforts me. Your knowledge and faith guide and teach me. God bless you all!
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10 Responses to [Post from Paul] And now … for something completely different!

  1. Pingback: Lights! Camera! Action! | My Walk With Jesus: My Heart is on the Journey

  2. Amy Ko says:

    Glad to hear that your family is safe! It certainly was a startling couple of days after the marathon tragedy and being locked down. Pam, I’m happy to hear that you’re doing well and hope to run into you soon!

    With love and prayers,
    Amy Ko

  3. scaramouche says:

    My word! Being far away, we saw the horrible images on TV and the internet, but what terrible news to hear that you have been caught up in the aftermath of police searches! Hope you could get some sleep since then.

  4. Jill says:

    You forgot the part about Pam feeding the police.
    Add that to your family lore!

  5. Molly Johnson says:

    Oh my goodness! I had hoped you guys were on your way out of town already. I can so see Pam ready to take on that guy, but I am grateful she didn’t have to. Thank God he is caught with no further harm or loss of life. May the Holy Spirit fill your home with peace and lift any traces of stress or trauma from that cozy place.

    Love, Molly

    On Sat, Apr 20, 2013 at 7:06 AM, My Walk With Jesus: My Heart is on the

  6. Misha Peterson says:

    I’m so glad you are all okay, and that Pam continues to have a marvelous sense of humor!

  7. Paul, thank you for posting. The eyes of the world certainly were on your neighbourhood. Thank God for a speedy capture and that no more people were hurt. May the mercy of God be on the souls of the victims and let us also pray for the Tsarnaev brothers.

    • Yes! Let us pray for the Tsarnaev’s. To know God is to know that we are all sinners. You, me, anyone — no less than them. None of us is completely responsible for his own behavior, and none of us is completely innocent of the behavior of others.

      We’re all victims, really. Victims of sin and our own blindness. We forget how precious we all are to God — how precious we all should be to each other.

      God’s city of justice is built from bricks of mercy.



      • Lisa Cimino says:

        I couldn’t agree more Paul! Love to you all!

      • Thomas says:

        Well said Paul. I also feel a lot of compassion for Dhzokhar and his brother. May they find redemption for their terrible crimes. May we find ways to be peacemakers.
        What a story! I hope Pam, Liqa and you are getting over your emotions. Your neighborhood will never be the same.
        Much love,

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