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Ray Duckler
Patricia Pelletier shows her prosthetic legs she wears after her accident with a trolley car in Portland, Maine when she was a smalll child.

(GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff)

Ray Duckler: She’s as strong as ever

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Want to get on Pat Pelletier’s bad side? Suggest she use a wheelchair, or a cane, or a walker. That’ll do it. She doesn’t care that she lost the lower portion of both legs when a trolley ran her over in 1929, the day before her third birthday. And it doesn’t matter that she turns 89 next weekend, or that her prosthetics, old and worn, no longer fit properly, or that many of her neighbors at the Havenwood Heritage Heights retirement home are often wheeled to their meals. Pelletier is optimistic that Tuesday’s appointment at a clinic in Methuen, Mass. – run by a man …

Ray Duckler: Two years to the day, the doctor is in

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Today is David Hirsch’s anniversary. It’s been two years since the Concord doctor ran the wrong way on Boylston Street, toward the chaos and blood and death, near perhaps the most recognizable yellow stripe in the country. Two years since the good doctor showed the tunnel vision and heart of a marathon runner, …

Ray Duckler: 30 years ago, a CHS student took hostages and was killed by the police

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pat Lena wondered if the gun was real. Scot Hayes did, too. So Louis Cartier showed them the cartridges inside, cracking open his double-barreled shotgun into the shape of a jackknifed truck, then snapping it shut with a tight click. “Does it look (f------) real to you?” Cartier asked, according to Lena. Soon, …

Ray Duckler: Married at 18, divorced at . . . never?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ten years ago, shortly after her wedding, Heather Leary was the subject of an installment of the Monitor series called “Teen Life,” masterminded by former photo editor Dan Habib. The feature included all things teen, like dating, studying, …

Ray Duckler: Refugee family takes first uncertain, yet hopeful, steps

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Loudon Road on the Heights symbolized the boundary, between disorder and order, chaos and comfort. Outside their home, in a church classroom down the road, Bom and Devi Rai, formerly from Nepal, sat at a table with other …

Ray Duckler: Why don’t we test for Krabbe? Inquiring minds want to know

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

She sat nervously in the waiting area, outside Room 205 at the Legislative Office Building, facts in her folder, friend by her side. She thought about her late son, Freddie, who’d be in high school by now, driving, …

Ray Duckler: What a long, strange trip it’s been

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bom Bahadur Rai and his family, Bhutanese refugees searching for a home, pushed through the glass doors at 11:15 a.m., the last passengers off the plane. They moved in a single file, a father, a mother, a son, …

Ray Duckler: To know, or not to know, that is the question

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Is Harriet Cady fighting for transparency in government? Yes, she is. Is the 71-year-old Deerfield resident also, at times, a pain the butt? Well, it’s safe to say yes to that as well. On her side stands the …

Ray Duckler: Bruschi stops by to visit his friend

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

In 2005, Tedy Bruschi moved left, then went down, hard. But unlike so many other times in his NFL career, there was no crunching block involved, no wallop from an offensive lineman the size of a condominium, or …

Ray Duckler: Given a second chance, Ryan Pitts recalls the nine who died. . . forever

Saturday, March 14, 2015

We wanted to be near him, make eye contact with him, because we wanted to understand. Maybe we’d see something in Ryan Pitts’s eyes that would give us a clue as to how someone saves lives, loses friends …

Honoring the nine who died

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ryan Pitts of Amherst, who last summer was awarded the Medal of Honor, spoke about his experiences in Afghanistan this week in a dining room at the Red Blazer Restaurant. While the crowd came to thank Pitts for …

Ray Duckler: In 1990, a murderer’s mustache told us he was a kid

Friday, March 13, 2015

For what seemed like forever, that barely visible, wispy mustache was all over the place, not just beneath Billy Flynn’s nose. It was on every TV news show, on every talk show, on every back page of every …

Ray Duckler: Don’t be chicken; step right up and speak your mind

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

One night many years ago, a group of chickens hell-bent on revenge invaded the Northwood town meeting, pecking everything in their path. You could have knocked the residents over with a feather as the commando chickens fanned out …

Ray Duckler: For veterans, a place for support, rejuvenation

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Breathe, yoga instructor Helen McConnell told the group of eight veterans, each storing some form of emotional baggage. Stretch. Bend. Relax. Unpack. McConnell twisted the men, participating in a therapeutic process in Gilford this week, into pretzels, then …

Ray Duckler: Around here, some like the snow, while some like it hot

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

For Chris Spannweitz, the snow means cash in his pocket. For Jim Bashios, it means a pain in his tush. One is a private contractor who shovels roofs in a business he started last month. The other is …