GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

February 16, 2013

Letter: Rockport's helping spirit pulls through


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

John Fleming’s letter about the thoughtfulness of “two nice people” prompts me to write of several people who helped me during the blizzard.

That Saturday morning, when I spoke to John’s wife, Frances, from my rapidly cooling apartment, she reported that they had power, but unfortunately no access to the house; snow drifts blocked their doors. By mid-morning, I had donned long-johns, hat, gloves and down jacket and was prepared to “wait it out.”

Frances had told me of the shelter set up at the high school. My daughter who lives in Milton urged me over several phone calls, to go there. Bill Brundage, my landlord, cleared my doorway, told me how to keep water pipes from freezing and gave me the 3-4-4-4 number for the police, which I hadn’t known about.

After a few busy signals, the phone was answered and no sooner had I put on my boots, than a smiling policeman was at my door.

As I stepped out, there was my next door neighbor, Caoin Sullivan, shoveling further access to his plowed driveway, and I walked with ease to the police van in the street. The warmth and welcome of that cruiser continued at the high school where I was met at the door by Maureen, a teacher whom I knew.

Linda Sanders, at the reception desk, offered her cell phone so I could let people know where I was; I couldn’t get mine to work. In the cafeteria kitchen, a cook had prepared a selection of delicious hot food as well as fruit, cookies and many beverage choices.

After lunch, I lay down for a rest on one of the cots provided in an alcove off to the side. About 4:00, I was paged by Superintendent of Schools Rob Liebow, who offered me the use of his phone. Frances was calling: John had shoveled out the front walk, would I like to spend the night?

I was soon in another warm police car, driven by another smiling policeman and delivered to the Flemings’ gate. An hour later, my landlord phoned there with the news that the power was back on, and I was soon on my way, walking down School Street to sleep in my own bed.

I count 12 people in this story, but there were many more at the high school and behind the scenes who provided me and many others with help in decision-making, transportation, food and shelter.

I am very grateful, especially to all those who organized the shelter and transportation services.

CECILY MERRELL

Jewett Steet, Rockport