Shocked and horrified -- 04/04/09

We were absolutely shocked and horrified by the massacre that took place yesterday in Binghamton.

I had lived in that area for roughly a quarter of a century -- almost twenty of those years living on Binghamton's West Side, not that far from where the killing took place. We moved to Rhode Island in the fall of 1995, but after living there for so many years, I still feel close ties to the Binghamton area. And, in addition, to have it happen in what I've always thought of as "my" neighborhood was even more disconcerting...

I snagged a map image from Google and added a few markers. The American Civic Association -- where many of the victims were attending English language classes -- is in the upper right-hand corner of the map. Binghamton High School -- where Adam, my eldest, attended back in the 1980s -- is on Main Street, terrifyingly close. (According to news reports the school had gone into emergency lockdown mode as Oak and Main and Front streets were closed to traffic and filled with police and emergency vehicles.)

In the mid-seventies I had been living in the town of Oxford, north of Binghamton, but when I started grad school in computers at Binghamton University, I moved into a student-filled house on Leroy Street in the summer of 1976 and then, that fall, into an apartment on Oak Street. That's where I was living when I met Nancy and where we were living when we got married, and we lived until we bought a house on Johnson Ave (lower left corner of the map). You could get into a car at our house on Johnson Ave, go down Riverside Drive, turn left on Front Street and, if you didn't catch one of the three traffic lights along the way, you could be at the American Civic Association building in less than four minutes (it's about a mile via that route).

"Rec Park" marks the location of Recreation Park -- where my children played in the playground, where we rode on the free carousel, where I would run, where Jill and Jeremy practiced and played soccer and softball, where we went sledding in the winter. I didn't mark it on the map, but right across the street from Rec Park is Horace Mann Elementary School (at Laurel and College) where Jill attended for four years (and Jeremy for just a couple months). Over toward the right side of the map, a couple of blocks down Oak from my old apartment I put "St Pat" to indicate where St. Patrick's Middle School (where Jill attended for grades five through seven). (And back over by Rec Park, Seton Catholic Central High School is on Seminary Ave... and, to the west of Rec Park is West Middle School -- so, given all of these schools in the area, I can imagine how frantic parents must have been.)

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