Ten Years Ago Today, January 29, 2000. I remember that Saturday like it was yesterday. Rick & Jimbo were working that day, doing some finish electrical work. Jimbo was worried about his 16-year old son, Jason. He was concerned for his future. He didn’t want him to have the hard times he had experienced growing up. He was talking about renting out his home and moving closer to Worcester, to be near family and work, and not have to make the nearly 45 minute drive everyday from Barre. As they finished for the day, Jimbo said he would take the work truck, gas it up and leave it at the shop, ready to go on Monday. Rick gave him the Gas Card, and the 2 brothers said goodbye. Just another normal day. I was working as a night-auditor for Hilton Hotels. You know, that glorious 11pm-7am shift. A few weeks earlier, on New Year’s Eve 1999, Jimbo came down to my house and we spent that evening hanging out, talking, watching the usual New Year’s Eve programs. I had recently purchased a second condo where I lived, and wanted Jimbo to take a look at it, and help me with some renovations I wanted to make before it was ready to rent out. A week or so later, again on a Saturday, he drove down and we looked over the condo and discussed renovations, including painting and some electrical work we could do together. He had just purchased a newer car, a 1995 Pontiac Grand AM. He talked about how he got a good deal on it, and that he had recently refinanced his home to a lower payment, and he was getting a good grip on his finances, which for Jimbo was a big deal. We chatted a bit more, and decided to get together at some point soon to start the renovations. I watched him get into his car. We waved goodbye to each other, and I watched him drive off. Just another normal day.
At about 8:45 pm on Saturday, January 29, 2000 I was just getting up to get ready for my night audit shift. I was drinking coffee, sitting on the sofa trying to wake up, when the phone rang. My wife had already gone to bed. I answered. It was Rick, my other brother. It was a bit unusual for him to be calling at this time. Our Dad was in a Veterans’ Home in Bedford, Mass, where he had been for nearly 5 years, suffering from Pick’s Disease, related to Alzheimers. He had been ill nearly a decade, and we didn’t know how long he might live. It would not have been a surprise to get that call, saying he had passed away. When my brother called that night, the first thing he said was “Are you sitting down?” I immediately thought about our Dad, and said “Did something happen with Dad?” “It’s worse than that” he replied, to which I immediately thought, what could be worse than that? “What happened?” I said. Then the words that will haunt me forever.
“Jimbo got killed tonight in a car crash” Stunned silence. Unless you’ve had this shock to your system, it’s nearly impossible to try and explain. My head swirled, my brain heard what he said, but refused to process it. I think I said something like, “What? How could that happen? Are you sure?” So my brother proceeded to tell me what he knew, in a very matter -of-fact, low-monotone voice. I could tell he was in shock as well. Apparently, Jimbo was driving home, and was about 3 miles from there when for reasons not fully understood, he made a hard left turn in front of a large truck hauling some motorcycles. The truck smashed into his Pontiac Grand Am, coming into the vehicle thru the passenger side fender and right into the front seat. Jimbo was killed instantly. A man who was behind him stopped, and ran up to see if he could do anything. Jimbo was already gone, his head back, eyes and mouth open. The coffee he was drinking was splashed all over him, and what remained of the interior. Fortunately, the young man driving the truck was not seriously hurt. My sister-in-law drove to the hospital and identified his body. He was wearing a heavy winter 1 piece work suit to keep warm, and she said he looked like he was asleep.
The State Police investigated, and my brother’s body was sent to Boston for an autopsy, required by law in this case. He was buried at Worcester County Memorial Park on Feb. 3, 2000. His 16 year old son was now without his dad, and his Mom was unable to care for him. Six years later, she too would die, murdered in Worcester. Jimbo also had an older son, James, 24. As if this wasn’t enough, he, too, was murdered in Auburn the year before, in 1999. His killer was caught and went to prison.
It’s been 10 years now. I can’t put into words all the emotions, thoughts and feelings that I have had since. My family is not the same. These wounds never heal. As time goes by, the pain begins to ease, and the good times and fun things start to return to your memory. We can now talk about him without the tears. But So much has happened to us since that time. I wish he was still here. I wish he could have experienced all the things in life that have taken place in the last 10 years. He was only 45. Every family gathering, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, are stark reminders of what happened. Approximately 9 months later, I got that call I originally expected on that terrible day in January. My Dad passed away in October.
So what happened to Jimbo? Why did he make that fateful left hand turn? No one knows for sure, but we have an idea. Jimbo had begun having some sort of heart issues, including Angina. He had nitro pills that he took. We think he may have experienced an Angina attack, and needed to get off the road to take his pills, and/or call for help. The road he was on did not have anyplace on his side of the road where he could have pulled over. However, there was an area on the left side of the road where he could have pulled off and stopped, which is where the accident happened. It’s also right at the end of a small bridge, where the road rises and curves slightly. If there was another vehicle coming the other way, they probably wouldn’t be able to see anyone in front of them until it was too late, which is what happened. We think he was trying to get off the road and pull over when the truck appeared and the crash happened, but it’s only my opinion.
So now, 10 years on, I want to say that I love you, my brother, and I miss you so very much. Time eases the pain, but it never goes away. At night, when it’s quiet, and i’m winding down from the day is when I think of you the most.
Along with my many memories, only love remains.