hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


May 17, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: Flip side of life full of surprises


You may know that basketball was my passion and, together with assorted partners, we won several city foul-shooting championships. What's kept secret is the time during a game that I inadvertently scored a basket in the wrong hoop, giving the opposition a victory.

I worked for an editor who gave horse massages on the side. Another reporter who ran ultra marathons (50 miles). A publisher who was a crackerjack sailor. A world-class ophthalmologist who decorated his Boston office with some of his own creative photography.

I thought my primary care physician was a self-contained individual until I found out he scales some of the tallest mountains around and rafts some of the fastest rapids this side of anywhere.

But the one that stole the show happened to be this man in a wheelchair I knew. His handicap was no liability. To prove a valid point — and show the outside world that handicapped accesses were being ignored — he traveled across the country.

His mission brought awareness and raised thousands of dollars for charity.

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Photographer and writer Tom Vartabedian is retired from The Haverhill Gazette. He contributes this regular column.

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