The Silence Of The Neponset River

The Neponset River runs from the Foxborough marshes and the stream drops over two-hundred feet over the first twelve miles through the towns of Walpole, Sharon, Norwood, Canton, Westwood and Dedham before reaching Mattapan, which the First People called ‘a good place to sit’.

Blue Hill Avenue crosses the river over a stone bridge before its descent to Boston harbor.

In the 1960s teenagers flocked to the Mattapan Oriental Theater.

Not for the movies.

The upper balcony was considered a Babylon by the nuns and priests of my hometown parish.

We didn’t care what they thought.

Boys and girls believed in love, but not everyone.

After the matinee of DARLING three boys kidnapped two girls and took them under the bridge.

They had them stripped naked.

None of them were arrested by the Boston Police.

It was just boys being boys.

Years later I was speaking to a woman friend of mine at a holiday gathering.

We were at dinner.

She and I had dated in high school.

She confessed that she had been one of the girls taken under the bridge.

“A priest had told us to be quiet. He didn’t want us to ruined the boys’ lives. No one thought about my life.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I put down my wine.

She said a name. He had been my best friend, until he asked me to dress up in his sister’s lingerie.

“I was afraid you might kill him and it was better you didn’t do that.”

“I’m sorry.” My hand trembled to hurt him.

“I know.” She touched me and said, “I never have forgotten that afternoon.”

“I wish I had known.”

“It was better that you didn’t.”

“You’re right.”

There was nothing else to say. We looked into each other’s eyes. She lifted her wine glass. We silently toasted each other and I said, “I love you.”

“And the same for me.”

Because every river runs to the sea in New England.

And anyone who believes ‘boys will be boys’ should be planted in the wetlands of the Neponset.

Sorry, but that is the way some of us feel on the South Shore.

RIP bad boys.

You’re a disgrace to the Green.

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