GOOD FRIENDS – BOSTON’S TV NEWS PERSONALITIES – GARRY ARMSTRONG WITH MARK SHANAHAN

I’ve just finished reading Terry Ann Knopf’s “The Golden Age of Boston Television”.  Terry was a long time TV critic for a prominent Boston-area newspaper. It’s an interesting read, covering a special time in Boston television news. I’m in it, briefly.

You would think a local legend like me would get more space. Just kidding, Terry. I’m flattered you included me.

The Golden Age of Boston Television by Terry Ann Knopf

Boston, indeed, experienced a wonderful period of TV news excellence. It was the envy of the nation at one point. I know because many reporters from network to major local stations shared their feelings with me. I knew because I had worked at a network (ABC News) before my career landed me in Boston. I could do the comparison without bias. Sadly, the excellence in TV journalism is now history with a few exceptions. Terry deals with that in her book.

I’m sure there will be a mixed response to “The Golden Age of Boston Television” from those who worked at the various television stations during the period.  As for me, I enjoyed the journey through time. I logged 31 years on Boston television. I have a treasure chest of memories.

ARAM BOGHOSIAN, BOSTON GLOBE – Garry Armstrong and Barry Nolan

One of the things missing from Terry’s book is an acknowledgement of the excellent work done by people from all the competing TV stations.  This was a time when reporters received five to ten minutes to deliver stories in complete depth. Facts were double and triple-checked. Words mattered. Our editors were old-school and verbally spanked us for purple prose or improper use of grammar. We cared more about the quality of our stories than how good we looked in live shots.

Reporters, competing for a scoop on the same story, often shared information to be sure we were accurate.  We wanted to be first — but we wanted to be right. There was no joy in seeing a competitor embarrassed by bad information. We had a bond — unlike any other major news market. Writing came first for most of us. Our words were supposed to complement the video — not be redundant.

There was a false belief among outsiders that we didn’t like each other. We’d back stab one another for a “beat.” Sure, there were a few who were better suited to modelling, chasing ambulances, or selling insurance, but that was not true for most of us. For a few precious years, Boston boasted an all-star lineup of reporters who graced the lineups for its TV stations.

Charlie “Chuck” Austin, Jack Harper, Jorge Quiroga, Dan Rea, Kirby Perkins, Walt Sanders, Sarah Ann Shaw, Ron Gollobin, Marty Sender, Shelby “Storm Queen” Scott, David Roepik, Ron Sanders, Paul Reece, Victoria Block, Rehema Ellis, Maurice Lewis, Byron Barnett, Greg Wayland, Gary Gillis (a multi-threat in hard news and sports), Mark Wile, Jack Borden, Chet Curtis (all-star reporter and anchor).

I know I’m forgetting some people and I apologize. Age is catching up.

Clark Booth is special. He’s a hero. Clark’s way with words often meant “we don’t need no stinkin’ video”.  Clark’s catch phrase “good stuff” has been stolen here myriad times.

I’ve stayed away from the news anchors because they are a different story and deserve separate space. News anchors, local and network, are a special breed. Terry Ann Knopf deals with many of Boston’s star anchors in her book. I’ve also not mentioned the “behind the camera” people who were so integral to our success. I will have a special piece on them. Stay tuned.

One of my former colleagues epitomizes my feelings about Boston’s television news reporters.  Ask anyone of a certain age about Joe Day and they will smile. Your political persuasion or news preferences don’t matter. We lost Joe two years ago and our world is poorer for his absence.

The Golden Age of Boston Television
Terry Ann Knopf
University Press of New England, Hanover and London

243 pages including appendix


JOE DAY


In August 2015, we gathered as a group to celebrate the life of a friend who passed away earlier that year.

Our friend was Joe Day. Joe’s name should be familiar to those who’ve lived in New England during the past forty years. He was a highly respected TV news reporter for four of Boston’s major television stations (WHDH, WCVB, WGBH, WBZ). Joe specialized in politics. He covered presidents, governors, senators, congressmen and local elective officials.

Many of us fondly remember Joe’s “people” stories, his vignettes about everyday folks living their lives in relative obscurity. That was Joe at his best. On and off camera, he was a modest, plain-spoken guy despite the richly deserved awards he received which recognized his career. There were smiles and tears as people shared stories about Joe. We were mostly the generation of “old fart” journalists, recalling the days when news wasn’t just a business.

Joe Day’s family marveled at the size of the gathering. It’s one thing to send an email or video tribute. But to turn out in impressive numbers on a hot August Saturday, that says so much about how Joe touched the lives of people around him.

Fame is fleeting and transitory in TV news. Friendship is another thing.

Usually it fades quickly after changing jobs, states and retirement. You always mean to stay in touch but it rarely happens. That’s what makes the celebratory gathering so special. All those folks bonding in their memories of yesterday when our world was young and Joe Day touched our lives, making each one of us a little better just for knowing him.

Such good friends.


Boston’s TV news personalities come together to party by Mark Shanahan


Tom Bergeron (left) with Emily Rooney and Bob Lobel at a party at WGBH celebrating the new book “The Golden Age of Boston Television.”

Ah, the good old days.

That was very much the vibe at a party Wednesday night to celebrate the release of Terry Ann Knopf’s new book, “The Golden Age of Boston Television,” which looks back fondly at the heyday of local news, a period that lasted from the early ’70s to the early ’90s.

But whatever old wounds there were have clearly healed because a crowd of familiar, if slightly faded, wizened faces from back in the day filled a conference room at WGBH to salute Knopf for telling their story. (This being the media, many were also there for the free wine and beer.)

“This is like a high school reunion on the island of broken toys,” said Barry Nolan, who hosted WBZ-TV’s “Evening Magazine” in the ’80s. “Look at these people. Age has ravaged us, bad decisions have plagued us, failures have followed us, but we’re still here.”

Nolan was kidding, sort of. As Knopf points out in her book, Boston TV stations have a proud legacy of producing a lot of on-air talent that went on to national prominence, folks such as Martha RaddatzJay SchadlerHampton Pearson, Lesley StahlDan LothianRehema EllisMike Taibbi, and David Muir.

Another in that category is Haverhill’s own Tom Bergeron, the affable host of “Dancing With the Stars” who hosted WBZ-TV’s talk show “People Are Talking” in the ’80s. Bergeron drove up from his home in Greenwich, Conn., to attend the party and see old friends.

“My wife once said to me that when the ice sculptures disappeared from the Emmy parties, she knew it was all coming to an end,” said Bergeron.

Francine Achbar, the former executive producer of programming at Channel 4, shared a similar memory.

“About every two months there would be an awards thing and I’d take out my black velvet dress and we’d go to some city and get another award, and I’d say, ‘This can’t last,’ ” Achbar said. “Then, in 1990, I laid off about 40 people and I knew that was it.”

Yesteryear was well represented at the book party. Guests included longtime anchor R.D. Sahl, “Sonya Hamlin Show” host Sonya HamlinDan ReaJoe Bergantino and wife Candy Altman, former Channel 4 medical reporter Jeanne BlakeHank Phillippi Ryan, former Channel 5 anchor Susan WornickJon Keller, meteorologist Harvey Leonard (who skipped his station’s 6 p.m. broadcast Wednesday to go to the party), Sharon King, Channel 4 exec Barry SchulmanDick Albert, Jim Boyd, the estimable Christopher LydonCallie CrossleyGail Harris, whose great haircut made us wish she was still on the air, Lydon’s former co-anchor Carmen Fields, and Sarah-Ann Shaw, the former WBZ-TV reporter who was the first female African-American reporter on Boston TV. (Knopf dedicates her book to Shaw.)

Monica Collins, a friend of Knopf’s and a fellow former TV critic — she wrote for the Boston Herald for many years — was also there, to the dismay of legendary former Channel 4 sportscaster Bob Lobel, whom Collins apparently skewered in the past.

“Where’s Monica?” Lobel said after Knopf acknowledged Collins in the crowd. “Come up here and say you’re sorry.”

The crowd laughed.

Knopf gave Emily Rooney a shout-out of sorts — “I don’t care what anybody thinks of you, Emily, I think you’re great” — but also gave her props for being a pioneer in TV news. (Rooney was executive producer of ABC’s “World News Tonight” — the first female to hold that post at a major network.)

Since everyone in the room is, or at least was, in the news business, there was a lot of chatter about the Trump effect. Viewers are tuning in to hear about the latest news or outrage or scandal, and that makes Rooney miss her late father, cranky CBS commentator Andy Rooney.

“What he’d say would be so good,” Rooney said wistfully. “It would be career-ending — for both of them.”

06/14/2017 BOSTON, MA Bob Lobel (cq) (left) and Emily Rooney (cq) attend a cocktail party at WGBH studios. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

ARAM BOGHOSIAN, BOSTON GLOBE – Bob Lobel (left) and Emily Rooney.

06/14/2017 BOSTON, MA Jon Keller (cq) (left) and Terry Ann Knopf (cq) attend a cocktail party at WGBH studios. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

ARAM BOGHOSIAN, BOSTON GLOBE – Jon Keller (left) and Terry Ann Knopf.

06/14/2017 BOSTON, MA L-R Carmen Fields (cq), Christopher Lyndon (cq) and Robin Parmelee (cq) attend a cocktail party at WGBH studios. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

ARAM BOGHOSIAN, BOSTON GLOBE – Left to right: Carmen Fields, Christopher Lyndon, and Robin Parmelee.

06/14/2017 BOSTON, MA Gail harris (cq) (left) and Francine Achbar (cq) attend a cocktail party at WGBH studios. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

ARAM BOGHOSIAN, BOSTON GLOBE – Gail Harris (left) and Francine Achbar.

06/14/2017 BOSTON, MA Hank Phillippi Ryan (cq) hugs Mike Lawrence (cq) during a cocktail party at WGBH studios. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

ARAM BOGHOSIAN, BOSTON GLOBE – Hank Phillippi Ryan hugs Mike Lawrence.

ALL HURRICANES SHOULD BE CALLED DARWIN – BY TOM CURLEY

I’m not sure why we name hurricanes. I have no idea how the names get picked. I could Google it and maybe find out, but I’m too lazy to bother right now.

Regardless, I think all hurricanes should be named Darwin. Why?

Because nothing weeds out the gene pool and brings out the stupid in people like a hurricane. The bigger they are, the dumber they get. As I’m writing this, Hurricane Irma, or what I call it, Hurricane Darwin the 1st, is hitting southern Florida.

The worst is yet to come.  I’m watching the coverage, which is the exactly the same on all the networks. An anchor, who makes millions of dollars a year, is sitting in a warm cozy network studio. (Except for Lester Holt who was out there in the wind and rain just like a real reporter.)

He’s talking to the poor schmuck who drew the short straw and is standing in the middle of the hurricane telling everybody how dangerous the hurricane is and how nobody should be out in it. Except of course for him and his crew.

Now, granted, I know that they aren’t in as much danger as it seems. I worked for CBS News for 40 years and I know they set up in safe spots outside the wind. They only need one shot where the wind is howling and it looks like they are hanging on for dear life. When the live shot is over they all go back inside, smoke cigarettes, have lunch, play Candy Crush on their phones  and wait for the next live hit.

(I know Garry is nodding and laughing right now)

(Note: Garry is laughing — because he isn’t the schmuck out there in the storm.)

The really stupidest are the people who think they can ride these things out. I watched a news report a few days ago where they interviewed two people who planned on riding out Irma from a trailer park.

Excuse me? Did you just say A TRAILER PARK??? One guy said he already lost his mobile home two weeks ago in a run off the mill flood. They happen there all the time.  

His plan was to stay with a friend in another mobile home. They expected it to be destroyed too.

What was their Plan B? To hang out in a temporary construction trailer! A mobile home lite!

I’m looking at the screen screaming “Are you nuts? Don’t you know hurricanes and tornadoes hate mobile homes?! A tornado will go around an entire town to get at just ONE TRAILER PARK!!”

To a hurricane, mobile homes are just tasty little snacks!

I know it’s much more complicated than this.  Some people can’t get out for valid reasons — lack of anywhere to go or no vehicle or destitution.

But, for the guy who goes surfing as the hurricane hits, and dies ….

And, the guy who is kite surfing as the hurricane hits  …

Oh Boy! I’m heading right toward the tornado! Cool!

And, the family on the beach with their kids taking video of the guy kite surfing …

And, the poor schmuck interviewing them …

I hope you all survive Hurricane Darwin the 1st.

That wasn’t so bad.

I wish  mother nature could come up with a way, WAY less catastrophic method of weeding out the gene pool.

Seriously, folks — stay safe!

LOST YET FOUND – THE WANDERING OF MY WORDPRESS FRIENDS

This morning, when I realized that Paula’s prompt was missing, I went into “managing my reader” and discovered more than half the blogs I follow were missing. I messed around with settings and refreshing for a while — and suddenly, everyone was back.

I should have known something was wrong when I saw I was getting so few emails.

Why do I figure it isn’t me alone? If your response seems much smaller than usual, make sure you still have “your people” attached. I don’t know what they are doing, but this is getting annoying. As soon as I fix it, it’s broken again. You might want to check and see if they have hit you, too.

GOD MAY WORK IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS OR MAYBE NOT – BY TOM CURLEY

I’ve been watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey and the unbelievable flooding it is causing. I can’t help but think that God really, REALLY hates Texas. I’m 66 years old and I’ve never seen a hurricane hit land, turn into a tropical storm, go back to sea, hit land again, go back to sea again, and hit land a third time.

The statistics are hard to wrap your head around. As I am writing this, the storm is still going strong and will be for maybe two or three more days. To date, this storm has dropped over 20 TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER ON TEXAS AND LOUISIANA!

Stop now and try to wrap your head around that number.  And it isn’t over yet. There will be more. Estimates are for over 25 TRILLION gallons when this is all over. The weather channel has had to add two more colors to their rain fall charts to adjust to these levels of rain fall.

We need more purple!

The endless scenes of people being rescued reminds me of an old, old joke. There is a great flood and a man who is a devout Christian is trapped on the roof of his house.  The local police come by in a canoe and shout out to him to jump off the roof onto the canoe.

“Jump in the canoe!”

He replies: “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” The police argue with him for a while but he will not relent. Eventually they give up and move on. They have other people to save.

A few hours later, the water is up to his thighs when the State Police come by in another canoe and they tell him to jump in. Again, he states, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” After arguing with him for a while they give up and move on.

Another hour goes by and now the water is up to his waist. A Coast Guard Helicopter arrives over his house and a bullhorn shouts out, “We are lowering a basket. Climb in and you will be saved.

Again, he replies, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” So, the helicopter leaves because they have other people to save.

Another hour goes by and the water sweeps the man away and he dies. Suddenly he is in heaven at the feet of God. And he is livid. He is furious. He shouts, “GOD! I was a man of faith! I believed in YOU! HOW COULD YOU HAVE FORSAKEN ME???!”

And God looks down at him for a second and says: “Forsaken you?? What the Hell are you talking about?? I sent you TWO CANOES AND A HELICOPTER!!!”

I’m not the first person to notice that what may turn out to be the worst storm in history is hitting an area where a lot of folks there don’t believe in climate change.

I used to do a stand-up comedy routine (shameless plug):

where I talked about working in the news.

My point was that the news was always the same. Every week, somewhere in the world, there was an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or flood. And no matter where it happened, we would send a news crew to gather a poor family who had just lost all their worldly belongings, set them up in front of their recently destroyed mobile home and ask them THREE STUPID QUESTIONS.

The first was “How do you feel?”

The answer was never the one you would think …

“How do I feel? I just lost all my worldly belongings. How the hell do you think I feel? How do I feel? I feel great!!! I haven’t had this much fun since my last hemorrhoid operation!

The second was “Will you re-build?”

To this question the answer was always, “Oh yes, this is the third time in ten years we’ve been flooded out. We will rebuild.”

And the reporter would say “But why? You’ve been flooded out three times in ten years?”

And they would say “But this is Paradise! This is God’s country!”

And I would reply, “Don’t you think God is sending you a message??? GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY!! I’VE FLOODED YOU OUT THREE TIMES IN THE LAST TEN YEARS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! CAN’T YOU IDIOTS TAKE A FRIGGING HINT???”

I’m telling these jokes because it helps me deal with the horror of what’s going on right now.

What’s happening in Texas now is horrific. Millions of people’s lives are being thrown into unimaginable chaos and despair. Global warming, global climate change is real. The NOAA and the weather channel label these storms as storms of the century, the floods are 100-year floods, 500-year floods. Harvey is being called a 1000-year flood. But it’s not. Hurricane Sandy was a Super Storm that was a 500-year event. And that was FIVE YEARS AGO!

Hurricane Harvey’s flooding is not a 1000-year event. It’s next year’s event. Maybe next month’s. The hurricane season isn’t over yet.


AND NOW — It’s a week later. Irma, the most powerful hurricane to ever be born in the Atlantic, is hustling towards Cuba … and probably, Florida … with 185 mph winds. After that … well … who knows, right? It looks like whatever parts of the U.S. aren’t underwater are on fire. 


Do you think that maybe God is, in fact, sending us a message?

PS: In case you’re curious, what was the Third Stupid Question?

“What did the tornado sound like?” And you all know the answer.“ It sounded just like a freight train going right through our living room.”

That’s a whole other blog.

GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS, OR MAYBE HE DOESN’T – BY TOM CURLEY

I’ve been watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey and the unbelievable flooding it is causing. I can’t help but think that God really, REALLY hates Texas. I’m 66 years old and I’ve never seen a hurricane hit land, turn into a tropical storm, go back to sea, hit land again, go back to sea again, and hit land a third time.

The statistics are hard to wrap your head around. As I am writing this, the storm is still going strong and will be for maybe two or three more days. To date, this storm has dropped over 20 TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER ON TEXAS AND LOUISIANA!

Stop now and try to wrap your head around that number.  And it isn’t over yet. There will be more. Estimates are for over 25 TRILLION gallons when this is all over. The weather channel has had to add two more colors to their rain fall charts to adjust to these levels of rain fall.

We need more purple!

The endless scenes of people being rescued reminds me of an old old joke. There is a great flood and a man who is a devout Christian is trapped on the roof of his house.  The local police come by in a canoe and shout out to him to jump off the roof onto the canoe.

“Jump in the canoe!”

He replies: “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” The police argue with him for a while but he will not relent. Eventually they give up and move on. They have other people to save.

A few hours later, the water is up to his thighs when the State Police come by in another canoe and they tell him to jump in. Again, he states, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” After arguing with him for a while they give up and move on.

Another hour goes by and now the water is up to his waist. A Coast Guard Helicopter arrives over his house and a bullhorn shouts out, “We are lowering a basket. Climb in and you will be saved.

Again, he replies, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” So, the helicopter leaves because they have other people to save.

Another hour goes by and the water sweeps the man away and he dies. Suddenly he is in heaven at the feet of God. And he is livid. He is furious. He shouts, “GOD! I was a man of faith! I believed in YOU! HOW COULD YOU HAVE FORSAKEN ME???!”

And God looks down at him for a second and says: “Forsaken you?? What the Hell are you talking about?? I sent you TWO CANOES AND A HELICOPTER!!!”

I’m not the first person to notice that what may turn out to be the worst storm in history is hitting an area where a lot of folks there don’t believe in climate change.

I used to do a stand-up comedy routine (shameless plug):

where I talked about working in the news.

My point was that the news was always the same. Every week, somewhere in the world, there was an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or flood. And no matter where it happened, we would send a news crew to gather a poor family who had just lost all their worldly belongings, set them up in front of their recently destroyed mobile home and ask them THREE STUPID QUESTIONS.

The first was “How do you feel?”

The answer was never the one you would think …

“How do I feel? I just lost all my worldly belongings. How the hell do you think I feel? How do I feel? I feel great!!! I haven’t had this much fun since my last hemorrhoid operation!

The second was “Will you re-build?”

To this question the answer was always, “Oh yes, this is the third time in ten years we’ve been flooded out. We will rebuild.”

And the reporter would say “But why? You’ve been flooded out three times in ten years?”

And they would say “But this is Paradise! This is God’s country!”

And I would reply, “Don’t you think God is sending you a message??? GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY!! I’VE FLOODED YOU OUT THREE TIMES IN THE LAST TEN YEARS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! CAN’T YOU IDIOTS TAKE A FRIGGING HINT???”

I’m telling these jokes because it helps me me deal with the horror of what is going on right now.

What’s happening in Texas now is horrific. Millions of people’s lives are being thrown into unimaginable chaos and despair. Global warming, global climate change is real. The NOAA and the weather channel label these storms as storms of the century, the floods are 100-year floods, 500-year floods. Harvey is being called a 1000-year flood. But it’s not. Hurricane Sandy was a Super Storm that was a 500-year event. And that was FIVE YEARS AGO!

Hurricane Harvey’s flooding is not a 1000-year event. It’s next year’s event. Maybe next month’s. The hurricane season isn’t over yet. Do you think that maybe God is, in fact, sending us a message?

PS: In case you’re curious, what was the Third Stupid Question?

“What did the tornado sound like?” And you all know the answer.“ It sounded just like a freight train going right through our living room.”

That’s a whole other blog.

NORMAL, NORMALIZING AND NORMALIZING NUTS – BY TOM CURLEY

Well, it’s been quite a week — don’t we say that every week? — and the words “unhinged” and “unprecedented” have been used even more than they were the week before.

And the week before that.

And the week before that.

A while ago, actually two weeks into this crazed mess called an administration, I wrote a blog called “We’re Getting Ahead of This Guy, But Where the Hell is He Going?” It pointed out that our “So Called President” is insane. Mentally ill. Off his rocker. A few fries short of a Happy Meal.

I pointed out that regardless of your political affiliation, you can’t have a President who is INSANE! When your Grandpa starts to show signs of dementia, you get him help. Maybe you have to put him in a home. BUT YOU DON’T MAKE HIM PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!

I said way back then, seven years ago (months are years in Trump-time), that the media had to start concentrating on this. Every day. Examine everything he says and does from the viewpoint of “This guy’s nuts.

He just proved it again.”

And this week, it finally happened. After the “campaign rally” SCROTUS held Tuesday night, August 22, 2017, I watched the media react in stunned shock. And then they all started talking about how this guy is seriously whacked.

They have also learned to call a lie, a lie. Not a “falsehood”. Not a “misrepresentation of the facts”. No, they called what he said exactly what it was. Lies. CNN covered the whole speech and then had a panel spend the next ten minutes or so talking about how this guy is insane. MSNBC only showed video of parts of the speech as pundit after pundit talked about how this guy has gone around the bend. They would bring the audio up now and then, listen for about 20 seconds and go “He’s not saying anything. And what he just said was a lie.” And then they’d go back to talking about how crazy he is.

There’s been lots of talk since this whack-job took office about “normalizing his behavior”. How we can’t let things like racism, misogyny, xenophobia and eating steak well done with ketchup become “normal”.

But here’s the thing. We are “normalizing” him. Just not in the way everybody thought. We are all recognizing he is insane and we are basically ignoring him. The world laughs at us and has started to stop paying any attention to anything he says.

Even leaders like Kim Jon Un are saying things like “Wow, I’m the sane one here. How insane is that?

He’s lost Congress. Even though it is controlled by his own party. He’s lost enough Senators to stop anything he might try to pass. Both houses voted by over 90% to stop him from lifting sanctions on Russia.  Republicans have introduced legislation protecting Robert Mueller’s special investigation. Stories leak every day from White House aides saying basically, “You think what he said today was insane? You have no idea what we stop him from saying every day!”. He’s being marginalized.

News reports are coming down  to this.

ANCHOR 1: In the news today, the President said something incredibly stupid and crazy.

ANCHOR 2: Yup. Moving on to sports …

THE LONGEST RUNNING TV SHOW

For 31 years, there was a series on Channel 7 in Boston. It was my favorite show. I watched it any day I could get home from work in time. It was on several times a day, five days a week. The first performance often aired during the pre-dawn hours, while the final day’s episode might air long after most people had finished dinner and many had gone to bed.

It was “good stuff.” Garry Armstrong was a smart, thorough reporter who cared about Boston and its people. He knew everyone and they knew him. He makes jokes about being trusted … but he was trusted because he had proved he could be. He had sources. He checked with them. He knew when the a story wasn’t “right” and he was cynical about politicians and big money.

Watching Garry kept me informed about events taking place in my neighborhood, the city, and the region. I also got follow-up and background information over dinner — sometimes quite different than what had been aired. There was stuff you could broadcast, and there was stuff that he and other reporters “knew,” but couldn’t prove.

It was sometimes difficult to reconcile the star of the TV show with the tired, crabby guy who came home expecting dinner, a newspaper, and when we were lucky, a baseball game. I always knew how the star’s day had gone. I taped his pieces so he could see them when he got home. Although he covered stories, wrote them, and performed, he didn’t see them as finished pieces unless I taped them.

I watched the news as I also watched him deal with violence and the calamities that are a constant in every reporter’s life. He never got used to it. Garry was, in a regional way — a celebrity. I was the celebrity’s wife — a very different role. My job was often to be there and smile. Television “people” don’t pay much attention to anyone who isn’t part of their habitat. At a good event, I got fed too.  I even got to wear ball gowns occasionally and I met some people I would never have normally encountered in my life.

Garry covered, or was involved with, virtually every major event in New England for his run of 31 years. From the great to the tragic, he was there.

Garry and I at President Clinton's party on Martha's Vineyard

Garry and I at President Clinton’s party on Martha’s Vineyard

We have one of Garry’s three Emmy awards on a shelf behind the TV, but virtually no tape of anything that happened. I don’t remember who found the piece below, but it’s a rare viewing of him doing normal work on a normal day in the news biz. Garry’s segment appears at about 1 minute and 30 seconds into the noon news. You can fast forward and skip the intro or choose to watch from the top of the show.

That was a “live shot.”

Time passes. It’s good to have something tangible to remember. Lucky me, I still have the star himself.

On September 12, 2013, Garry Armstrong was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

We keep the plaque on the mantel. His one remaining Emmy (Channel 7 lost the other two) is on a shelf that Owen built, along with his Kauff award and one other big one, the name of which I have forgotten. Amazing the things you forget even though at some point in your life, you couldn’t imagine ever forgetting something that important. His “Silver Circle” Lifetime Emmy hangs on the wall, too and there are other awards here and there in the house.

What is important changes over time. As time marches along, life and day-to-day events become more important than whatever career you had — except on days when the guys get together to remember.

That more or less wraps it up. I think it’s going to rain today.

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Love is ever-present within our own Being but we might not feel it until we live in the Now. "Love it Now" was created to share ideas about loving and being present in the here and now. Enjoy!

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A Head Gardeners of Life, Love and Learning

Photos by Emilio

“The undiscovered places that are interesting to me are these places that contain bits of our disappearing history, like a ghost town.” ~~ Ransom Riggs

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