Mother’s Day at Mid-court

Not even the Parent Imperfect can let Mother’s Day come and go without mention. This year, the PI, Connie and Vince managed at least some big love to recognize the woman who keeps the whole thing going. On Saturday, Liz brought her own mother, CC, from Monument Beach to see Connie perform in The Little Mermaid.

The MB contingent included Liz’s father, as well as her sister and part of her family. Liz’s brother and his wife also made the trip from Haverhill, apparently one of the best places to buy a home in the country. Connie felt very good that so many family members would take a trip on a nasty day to see her in the play, and all of the mothers in the group enjoyed the time together. The after-show meal at Brookline’s favorite Turkish Restaurant was a rare opportunity for Liz to enjoy a relaxing time with her own family.

On Sunday, after breakfast together, the Fantastic Four took a walk up Peter’s Hill to enjoy a gorgeous, if chilly, day. With Vince and Connie on scooters, no one could help but remember the chilly February day when the ride down the big hill left Connie with her arm in pieces. Connie approached the long downhill a bit more cautiously this time, and everyone made it back to the house in a single piece.

Vince had to prepare himself for a soccer game in far flung Ayer, but the others planned to join friends at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. On the way, they had a Mother’s Day brunch at yet another Brookline haunt. Is there a pattern here? Mother and daughter had a great time out of the city and on the farm at Drumlin, but the PI spent most of the time limping around on a painful hip. His arthritis doesn’t seem content to make life miserable through the knees.

For the past couple of years, Liz has been going to the Mother’s Day March for Peace. The march commemorates a youth killed in a Boston neighborhood in 1993, and seeks an end to violence in all Boston’s neighborhoods. She didn’t make it this year, opting to spend the morning with her family which would soon be scattered by Vince’s soccer. With or without Liz, this year the annual march was, sadly, even more timely than usual. While much of the PI’s family was watching Connie at Wheelock on Saturday, two young boys decided to take advantage of a break in the rain to shoot hoops on a court near Jackson Square in Jamaica Plain. While it is not a place where either Vince or Connie are likely to play, the court is located almost exactly between the schools they attend, five minutes by care from each. Liz passes it every day on her way to work downtown.

Around 3:25PM, just as the Sea King was addressing his daughters at Wheelock, a dark sedan drove up to the court where the two boys dribbled and shot. Someone got out of the car, approached the fence and fired several shots, six of which found their way into the body of  Jaewon Martin. Seconds later, the 14-year-old eighth grader from the Timilty School in Roxbury lay dead on the court, his friend also injured by the gunfire. The ball rolled to a stop against the fence, where someone had to pick it up later.

According to media reports, Jaewon was an honor student, well-liked by those who knew him. No one would have any reason to blow his life away near mid-court, or anywhere else. One report speculated that Jaewon might have fallen victim to the “initiation” rule that requires new recruits to take a life before joining the ranks. Would the young man be less or differently dead if we could explain the killing as gang revenge?

No matter why he died, Jaewon became one more reason for mothers to shed tears together walking the Mother’s Day March. The PI and family found out about the tragedy together. Ironically, they were sitting together on the red futon in the attic, which happens almost never. They were ending their Mother’s Day by watching the Boston Celtics rise to the occasion and defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in a playoff game.

After the game, the news of the other outcome of the other basketball game flashed across the screen. Word of an eighth grader, shot to death a few blocks from both the Hernández and the nation’s oldest public school hit close to home. Seventh grader, Vince, was much more likely to be playing soccer in Ayer (or Dover) than basketball on that court, but the news still went to the stomach. The four futon warmers glanced at each other, wondering what the other was thinking about all of this. The moment was ripe with possibility, but no one wanted to begin the conversation. After a couple of more stories of violence in the city, they emptied the futon to do homework, practice piano and prepare dinner. A pleasant Mother’s Day came to an uncomfortable end. On futons not far away, the day ended much less comfortably.


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