While I’m making this post on March 5, 2016, nearly 3 years after the fact, the information in the timeline was written in the day or so after the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon (and bombing). Why am I posting now? Mostly because I happened to stumble upon the note and related pictures while organizing my digital clutter. I figured putting it online gives it a better chance of being available to subsequent generations of my family.
The rest of the text is the timeline as written 3 years ago. I have only formatted it for my website.
6:00 am: Got on subway (Lechmere Station) with Deb to Boston Commons so she could be transported to start line.
6:15 am: Arrived at Boston Commons, left Deb so she could get on bus, I walked to finish line to find a spot to camp at.
6:30 am: Got to finish line, no one was camping yet so I had ability to take any spot I wanted. Chose spot #1 because it was as close as I could get and still see the finish line.
6:45 am: Wasn’t happy with the location due to the fact that the fence in this area was actually 4×5 scaffolding, and it was hard to take pictures over it. Plus I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be there. At this time the country flags were not up yet. I decided to walk a bit and see if I could find a store to buy a chair at.
6:50 am: As I was walking I noticed that just 100 ft away, at Exeter and Boylston St (spot #2 on map), that there was just the standard metal fence up, with a great view. I decided that would be my spot, and I continued on to find a chair.
7:05 am: Found chair at Walgreens just up the street, went back to #2, and sat down. There were a couple of people starting to do the same now, but I got my spot.
7:05 am – approx 12:00 pm: Sat there just zoning out. Occasionally followed race on iPad. Area gradually filled up. A trio of college girls sat to my right, and older couple to my left. The college girls told me I could use bathroom at Starbucks just up the street (spot #3). I went several times, but not after runners started coming in at noon.
Noon: After Kara Goucher finished, the college girls packed up and left. I watched all the runners come in and it started to get dizzy from seeing so many people run past. The area filled up with people standing. I got crowded and couldn’t leave to pee for fear of losing my spot. So I held it.
2:31 pm: Deb ran by and I took her pictures. I decided I had to pee so bad I couldn’t wait, so I decided to walk back up to Starbucks to go.
2:38 pm: Got to Starbucks after fighting crowd.
2:42 pm: Finally got to pee after waiting in a short line.
2:43 pm – 2:48 pm: Walked to finish line to start the process of finding Deb. Passed the area where the first bomb went off (spot #1, also the first place I sat) around 2:48. Very crowded area.
2:50 pm: Stopped at spot #4 to try and figure out how to get to family meeting area. Boylston st and Dartmouth St were fenced off for the finishers. As I was standing here the first bomb went off. I could feel the concussion but didn’t see anything. No smoke at this point. All the people standing around just looked at each other. No panic. Heard no one screaming. One person said maybe a canon, another thought an electrical transformer. I started walking up Dartmouth when I heard the second one. No one knew what was going on, and there was no panic.
2:50 pm – 3???: Things gradually got chaotic as sirens started going off, lots of cops started running. Cellphone wouldn’t work and couldn’t figure out how to get across Boylston. It was fenced off for blocks. Heard people start to talk about a bombing. Saw some people crying. Got a text from Deb saying she was at bank on corner of St Charles and ?. Finally got over there after another 20 minutes.
Walked perhaps an hour more back to hotel as subway had been closed. Gradually it became clear from chatter that there was a bomb at finish. Ran into someone from hospital that said people were being bought in with missing limbs.
In spite of all that, everyone was extremely calm, leisurely walking out of Boston Commons. It was very surreal and hasn’t really sunk in that if Deb had been 2 minutes slower, and had I done the same bathroom break, I would have been right on top of #1.
I guess it’s not my time, and we never know when it will be. Need to live life in that manner.