His message of the day was directed toward the youth seated in the pews. It told a very valuable story, hopefully one they would digest and come to grips with in their grandfather’s demise: That what we do for ourselves selfishly dies with us. But what we do for others gallant lives on, becomes part of our legacy, keeps the flickering candle burning brightly. Monuments are used to memorialize our dearly departed. In Richard’s case, the memorial was his book of golden deeds.
There was the photo of him with sister Lorraine (Mimi) and younger brother Gerald, who died at a tender age. When we all matriculated to Somerville High, the teachers there were caught saying, “Oh, no! Not another Vartabedian.” My Uncle Jake also sent six children there ahead of me.
One other image caught my eye, showing Richard with his white counter apron flashing a smile. Winter Hill kept us together — with or without Whitey Bulger!
Writer and photographer Tom Vartabedian is retired from The Haverhill Gazette. He contributes this regular column.