Six Degrees of Separation: The Boston Bombers and Me

Yep…That’s me in the header pic….I’m in Slovenia, cuz sometimes, I  straddle even more than two worlds….

100 pawt. terr(Click on the pic to the right to see it more closely..See the top, left side, front unit? That’s where my little daughter and I lived. Apparently, it’s same building where Misha lived, too.…)

Rhode Island’s in the news again, and this time, it’s not just for being home to the Boston Bomber’s wife, a North Kingstown woman.

This news clip involves a building I know so well, confirming again, the validity of the expression “six degrees of separation,” which theorizes we’re all so deeply connected…even if we think we’re not.

Located in West Warwick, the apartment building’s familiar clapboard and stone façade, three-story height, front doors, split in the middle to allow wider access (for furnishings) all come back to me.

A lawyer standing in front of the building talks to a crowd of reporters.  He supposedly represents the elusive Misha, the third party the police want to talk to, for his relationship with the Tsarnaev brothers. He was allegedly the older brother’s svengali.

How do I know the building?  It was home to my older daughter and me, 37 years ago.  For five years, she and I occupied a 3rd. floor, 4-room unit, facing the street. And because it had a large picture window, looking out on the street, I got to see the comings and goings of the building.

We lived there for five years… the first time I was a single parent.

Over that period, many residents came and went.  On some occasions I’d hear cries from one apartment where I knew a woman was brutalized by her husband. She wore the proof of his beatings the next day, but she was silent concerning his abuse.

In supreme irony, he left her and she took her dwindling funds and booked a vacation to Jamaica. Since she had no clothes for the trip, I loaned her some of mine (tho’ she was bigger.) As a woman who’d also suffered domestic abuse, I felt bad for her, and wanted to help her enjoy a short respite from her miserable life.

By far, the most memorable resident of our complex was the woman who rented the unit just below me. She ran one of the many bars in nearby Arctic (the commerce section of West Warwick), and in the early hours of the morning, customers came by, ringing her doorbell, to gain access to the building.

Because they were drunk, they often rang mine by mistake. Some sat on that bell, awaiting response, while I’d tell them to “Go away…She doesn’t live here.”

One Christmas morning I awoke to hear her screaming at her 12-year-old daughter, “What the F are you doing?” “Go back to bed!”  It was 8:00AM and she was apparently still recovering from her nightly escapades.  I always felt bad for that woman’s daughter.  I remember thinking: “What a terrible way to begin Christmas Day.”

On another occasion, I met the first-floor resident who suffered the fall-out from living under that woman. The bar owner had apparently allowed bath water to overflow and it streamed down interior walls of her unit, soaking her bathroom.

On many occasions, there were just an odd collection of men who dropped by, to see her…at all hours. One of them stood at her convertible one day, yelling up to her that he couldn’t go somewhere with her, because  he was “on parole.”

I never engaged with her…It was enough we were building mates.  The building?  That selfsame one, in West Warwick, currently in the news.

Now, it’s allegedly “home” to the Misha character, the one police have questioned for his possible involvement with the Tsarnaev brothers, the one who allegedly ‘brain-washed’ the elder one, according to the boys’ uncle.

I wondered about conversations in that unit.

A crowd of reporters were there…waiting….anxious to pounce on anyone who exited the apartment. But a nearby resident told them “They’re gone.” “No one’s there.”

Still, the crowd milled about.

It occurred to me that apartment buildings (like my former one) witness so much over the years….sort of like the lead character in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.”

Only instead of that movie’s star, Jimmy Stewart, witnessing the horrid events, the building does.

And as of last night’s news, I know, too, I’m connected to the Boston Bombing in more ways than the one I commented on, in a recent Biddy Bytes’ post.

***Had your own “6 degrees of separation” event that shook you to the core? Do share below, at Comments section….

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
This entry was posted in "I Didn't Know That...", Uniquely Rhode Island and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.