This month marks the one-year anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown. As many of us reflect upon the occasion and the impact it has had on people we know and love, I’ve been contemplating the incident for different, though regrettably similar, reasons.
During my senior year of college, a classmate shot his way across our snowy, bucolic, New England campus just days before Christmas with a semiautomatic military assault rifle—killing a professor and another classmate, and gravely wounding a security guard and several others as he riddled the library and dorms with bullets before his rampage was abruptly curtailed by a gun jam. In the weeks, months, and years that followed, we struggled to process and understand this unspeakable violation against our community, and labored to restore to it a sense of safety, security, and normalcy.
The tragedy in Newtown occurred on December 14—the 20th anniversary of the shooting at my college. When news of the Newtown massacre broke that morning here in our office, I got a sick feeling in my stomach, as I worried that there had to be some connection—some monstrous copycat capitalizing on the anniversary. That school shootings have become so numerous that they’re now falling on the same dates by coincidence—and not by design—is perhaps the most tragic commentary one can make on the subject.
On page 56, Chief Copy Editor Carol Caffin interviews Lenny Pozner, the father of one of Newtown’s young victims, 6-year-old Noah Pozner. “My husband, Michael, was immersed in work that day so, by later in the afternoon when we talked, all he knew was that there’d been a school shooting,” Carol recalls. “When I mentioned that it was at an elementary school in Newtown, he said, ‘That’s where Lenny lives. I think his kids might go to that school.’ He called his friend Lenny and left a voicemail, just one of those messages to kind of say ‘I hope you’re all okay.’ Then another call. No answer. Then a text. Then the unthinkable: Lenny texted back to tell us that his little son had been one of the children murdered. We just cried and cried.” Regarding the interview itself, “It was more difficult than I could have imagined,” says Carol. “What do you say to a father whose child has been murdered so brutally? How do you fact-check it? How do you maintain journalistic integrity while still being an empathetic friend? His pain was visceral and palpable; I felt helpless to do anything to ease it. Doing the interviews—we talked a few times—was a challenge, as was writing the story, but I hope that talking about Noah has given Lenny even a tiny measure of peace.”
P eace is, after all, something everyone needs and wants, and, for many of us, it’s par- ticularly top of mind during the holidays. On a lighter note, another integral part of the holiday season is food. While I love to eat, I’m not much of a cook (the best thing
I make is reservations). But Senior Editor John Turiano’s entertaining, insightful extravaganza that is our cover story this month (“The Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide” on page 65) has also inspired me—to stock my bare cupboards with locally sourced ingredients, dust off my cook- ware, and see what I might be able to concoct in my own kitchen.
As both our dining/food editor and a Westchester native, John had a jump on who and what to include. “Some were places that I’ve known about since I was a kid, like Mercurio’s in Mamaroneck, for example, while others I have recently discovered, like Latticini A&S Pork Store in Yonkers—my new favorite food business.” Whether an old fave or a new find, almost everything included in the guide was vetted personally by John—almost. “I tried to taste everything,” he says. “Oh, I tried.”
As 2013 draws to a close, all of us at Westchester Magazine would like to wish you a happy holiday season—whether you’re cooking, catering, or dining out for your celebrations.