Sunday, September 29, 2013

A new, violent Sweden

It is my pleasure to welcome half of another writing pair - Anders Roslund of Roslund and Hellström fame - part of the great Scandinavian mystery writers community.  My first introduction to them was via Three Seconds, which I must have recommended to dozens of people.

They have written six books together, and the fact that their names are in about 200 point on the covers and the titles in 20 point says something about their success.  The books are Two Soldiers, Three Seconds, The Girl Below the Street, Cell 8, Box 21, and The Beast.  

They have had great success in finding foreign publishers, and I lost count trying to determine in how many countries Three Seconds has been or will be published.  The same goes for awards - too many to count, including the Crime Writers Association's Best International Novel for Three Seconds.

What he writes about today will strike an unpleasant but familiar chord.  Please welcome Anders Roslund.


So, it happens again. A town in flames. A nation changes complexion. A democracy looks for a new direction.

It started in 1991. August; a quiet Stockholm summer evening. The silence is shattered: a man is shot and wounded. For another six months the whole of Swedish society is wounded; fear becomes a part of all of us. One person dies, and others damaged for life. Slowly a pattern emerges: a Swedish citizen who shot with a rifle and laser sights at victims who all had something in common – darker skin, dark hair, or an immigrant background.

John Ansonius - The Laser Man

I was then the chief reporter for Swedish televison on the story, which was the biggest police operation and trial that Sweden had seen since the 1986 assassination of the prime minister Olof Palme. I reported from the first shots till the last day of the trial. I saw Sweden changed: Nazi flags were raised; there were riots between demonstrators and counter-demonstrators; young people found their way into extreme groups. And out of that time an anti-immigrant party emerged – called New Democracy – which a few months later gained a popular vote and entered Sweden's parliament.

As a journalist I continued to cover the growth of rightwing extremism and xenophobia in Sweden. Just like my fellow journalist and author Stieg Larsson, death threats were made against me, and I lived in hiding with armed bodyguards.

A few years later, democracy and openness had pushed back the fear of foreignness. We could once more be proud of our Sweden.

Until it happened again – but this time the other way around.

This time the new anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats, were formed first. During the election campaign they focused on one issue and were voted into the Swedish parliament. Xenophobia became established. And during the same period we saw it happening again, now in Malmö, Sweden's third largest city, situated a long way south, close to the continent, and with a high proportion of immigrants, who were targeted by a racially motivated gunman. Again and again.

The innocuous symbol of the Sweden Party

Sweden Party poster - Keep Sweden Swedish!

Two decades ago it was an isolated unhinged gunman who foreshadowed the political facts. This time it was hand in hand with a democratically elected parliament.

Malmö had already had dozens of shooting incidents before this happened. The city had developed a gang culture – a large number of criminal groups and networks – which had for years brutally exposed its social divisions. Even before the attacks happened policies on integration had been a disaster.

And now it continues. Again.


Gang related murders in Stockholm and a burning war in the suburbs all summer, shootings, hand grenade explosions and fights between the police and gangs in Malmö, the fiftieth shooting in a short time in Gothenburg, several gang shootings every week in small towns as Eskilstuna, Norrköping, Gävle ... the currents in society that we have struggled against for so long is gaining new strength, new strongholds, new legitimacy. It was a long time ago since Sweden lost its position as the role model of a functional society.

Anders - Sunday

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My To Do List.

Bouchercon is over.  Back to real life.

I have to prepare to teach a course in January. A full semester in one month.

I have to finish the next Kaldis book by December. 

I have to launch a two-month book tour in November for my just released book.

I have to go back to Mykonos to pick up my laundry.

I think a triage level decision is in order.  Okay, I’ve decided.   One must respect priorities.  Clean shorts count.  So, it’s back to Greece.  Today, in fact. 

Pavlos Fyssas
I was going to write something about Chrysi Avgi, aka Golden Dawn, aka Nazi thugs in Greece’s Parliament, but I thought I’d wait until I’m back in Greece to do that.  After all, a pack of them stabbed to death a young Greek hip-hop singer overheard criticizing their fascist movement—branded the most violent in Europe—in an Athens-area coffee shop.  The eavesdropper contacted his lead jackal who put out the word for the pack to attack him, and so they did.  Pavlos Fyssas (aka Killah P) is not the first to die at their hands, but he is the first Greek, and that seems to have galvanized the people…into to doing precisely what, we shall see.  Stay tuned.
Albany NY, in part
I also thought of writing something about my time at Bouchercon in Albany, but thought that might seem BSP or rather BBP— Blatant Bouchercon Promotion— as I was elected its national vice-chairman. (Yes, there’s “vice” in the title so I naturally qualified).  Frankly, I’m excited about it. The new Chairman, David Magayna, has a lot of good ideas, is easy to work with, and most important, hails from Pittsburgh.  Should be fun.  To tell the truth—hopefully not in photos—Albany was a blast from breakfast coffee to bar closing.  But how could it be otherwise with Cara, Yrsa, Lisa, Annamaria, and Stana all in their best form. [Note to Caro, we missed your vowel self.]

Perhaps I should extrapolate on the state of the world because since returning from Albany to NYC it’s been nothing but up close and personal views of the UN in action: massive traffic jams blocking everyone’s efforts to get anywhere any time soon.  Much like Athens…or Washington, DC.


Longer Pause.

Nahhh, how about if I post a few cartoons?  They come via Greece.  There still are folks over there with a sense of humor.

And for those looking for a bit of romance… 

Sorry about that, maybe next time.  I have a headache.


Friday, September 27, 2013

A question of Self Defence

The idea for this blog was sparked by Cara’s blog of last week.  The debate about self defence, the right to protect your property against threat/perceived threat has been raging on for a long time now so I thought you might be interested in this case.
The story, at first glance  is simple. At the age 35 Anthony Martin inherited a remote farmhouse from his uncle. In 1999 Martin ( then 55) shot dead an intruder. He claimed he had been burgled ten times before at a financial cost of over £6000. He had complained at length about the theft and the lack of police action so he armed himself with a pump action shotgun and on the night of 20th August 1999 the inevitable happened.

                                                             Tony Martin

Brendon Fearon (29) and Fred Barras (16) broke into the property. Martin claims he woke up at the sound of a window being broken and discharged his birdshot loaded shotgun. He said he was shooting in the pitch dark and down the stairwell, the weapon was discharged three times, once when the intruders were on the stairwell and twice more as they tried to get out the window of a downstairs room. Both received gunshot wounds to the legs but Barras was also fatally shot in the back. He died at the scene.
So far it is tragic,  but deeper investigation suggests that something else might have been going on. 
 Fred Barras

The police are not sure that the farmhouse had been burgled so many times. Martin’s gun was illegal. He had had his licence revoked in 1994 after he caught a man scrumping for apples, chased him and shot a hole in the back of his car. Forensic tests show that Martin could not have been on the stairs shooting downwards, but that he was standing on the level in the doorway already downstairs when he fired the shots. The prosecution suggested he was lying in wait for the burglars and opened fire for retribution for previous break-ins at his house.
                                                  The farm, locally known as Bleak House

On 10 January 2000, Fearon and Darren Bark  ( the 33 year old getaway driver )admitted to conspiracy to burgle. Fearon was sentenced to 36 months in prison, and Bark to 30 months (with an additional 12 months arising from previous offences). Fearon was released on 10 August 2001.
Fred Barras, the dead youth, aged 16, had already a lengthy criminal record, arrested 29 times.
Then on 23rd August 1999, Martin was charged with the murder of Barras and the attempted murder of Fearon. I think it is fair to say there was a groundswell of public support for him at that time.
Self defence in English law permits one person to kill another only if the person uses no more than "reasonable force". The jury has to decide whether or not an unreasonable amount of force was used. The jury can  return a manslaughter verdict if they think the accused "did not intend to kill or cause serious bodily harm". Which brings into question what Martin’s mind set actually was. If the intruders were already fleeing – that is not self defence. Martin was found Martin guilty of murder by a 10 to 2 majority and was sentenced to life, with a recommended minimum term to serve of 9 years.
He appealed and his appeal was considered in October 2001. They argued that Martin had fired in his own defence but that was rejected by the Appeal Court. They also submitted evidence that Martin was suffering from paranoid personality disorder and depression. He was paranoid about anyone intruding into his home. This submission was accepted by the Court of Appeal and the murder conviction was replaced by manslaughter (5 years) and the sentence for wounding Fearon was reduced from ten years to three years. These sentences were concurrent.
Then the story takes another twist. Martin was eligible for parole in January 2003 but the Parole Board rejected his application stating that Martin was "a very dangerous man" who may still believe his action had been right.
Martin appealed to the High Court but the decision was upheld. They feared that in the same situation he would do the same thing again. On 28 July 2003, Martin was released after serving three years of his five-year sentence, the maximum period for which he could be held following good behaviour.
And what of the intruders? In 2003, Fearon received, an estimated £5,000 of legal aid to sue Martin for loss of earnings due to the injuries he had sustained. Then he was photographed cycling and climbing with ease so the argument was that Fearon had been exaggerating his injuries.  While that case was pending, Fearon was recalled to jail after being charged with the theft of a vehicle while on probation on a conviction for dealing heroin.  Nice guy. Fearon later dropped the case when Martin agreed to drop a counter-claim. 
By now tens of thousands of pounds of public money had been spent on the case. Reports then appeared that a £60 000 bounty had been placed on Martin's head by Fearon and friends of  Barras. In October 2003, a tabloid paid Martin  £125,000 for an exclusive interview on his release from prison. The Press  Complaints commission ruled the payment was justified and in the public interest because Martin "had a unique insight into an issue of great public concern".
The bit that is unsettling is that on his release Martin appeared on the platform of  UKIP (the UK independence party) as the guest-of-honour. Martin said himself that he had attended meetings of the National Front in Norfolk, and later went on to endorse the British National Party.
Fearon and Barras were of Romany blood.
It does raise the question, does the perception of the threat vary with the prejudices of the 'victim'? And is that a defence?  One would hope not.

Caro GB 27th September 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Things are dark when your eyes are closed!

As many readers know, I believe that a major reason that Africa is regarded as the dark continent is that people look at it with their eyes closed.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful Bouchercon in Albany, New York, where I connected with many friends and met new readers and writers.  I can’t recommend it more highly to attend a Bouchercon in the future.  In 2014 it will be in Long Beach, California.

Tomorrow I pack my goods and chattels in Minneapolis and head to South Africa where I will spend yet another summer.  Sigh!

I have two brief pieces about ‘darkest’ Africa today.

The first is about a Time magazine article that ran on August 9 titled “Africa’s Drinking Problem: Alcoholism on the Rise as Beverage Multinationals Circle”.

From this title, one would reasonably be left with the impression that Africa was a continent of excessive drinking.  But the article was, in reality, full of sound and fury, but offered little other than misinformation.  How it was picked up by Time, I have no idea, except perhaps it was an easy hit at the Dark Continent.  It was written, as far as I can make out, by an American living in Kenya.

I was very pleased to see the Mail & Guardian in South Africa respond to the article in one of its own “Is Africa the drunk continent? How Time Magazine ignored the data”.  I’ll summarize what it said.

1.  The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the per capita consumption of alcohol in Africa was the equivalent of 6.15 litres of pure alcohol per annum for people 15 years or older.  This is almost identical to the world average of 6.13.  As is so often the case, by ‘Africa’ the WHO actually meant Black Africa, not all Africa – a typical distortion.

2.  Europe’s consumption is 12.18 and the Americas 8.67.

3.  The Time article was particularly critical of South Africa and Kenya being heavy drinking nations.  Actually South Africa ranks 55th and Kenya 118th in the world.  Between 2003 and 2005, according to the 2011 WHO report, South Africa’s adult per capita alcohol consumption was 9.5 litres a year – much less than Europe’s - and Kenya’s was 4.1 litres a year. Moreover, in 2003, data showed that 65.2% of South Africans were lifetime abstainers and 72.9% had not consumed alcohol in the last 12 months; 74.4% of Kenyans were lifetime abstainers and 85.4% had not consumed alcohol in the last 12 months.

4. The WHO estimated that in 2004, 57.3% of the "Africa region" (not counting the Mediterranean Islamic countries) were lifetime abstainers, and 70.8% reported not consuming alcohol in a year. By comparison, only 18.9% of Europeans and 17.7% of the United States population were lifetime abstainers.

5.  Of course all data can be interpreted in many ways, so it is possible that episodic or binge drinking many be high in some African countries, but to paint the continent as having alcoholism on the rise is patently both wrong and damaging to the perception of the continent by western Time readers.  In fact, based on the data, it would have been (marginally) more accurate to title the original article Africa: Continent of Teetotalers!

Both my thumbs are down to the Time article.

The second item I have for you this week is a follow up of my quiz a few weeks ago about what readers knew of Africa.  The few reported results weren’t stellar!

To put Africa in perspective, I offer the following graphic of the size of the continent in relation to other countries.  I believe this came from an episode of the West Wing television series.  You can click on the image to enlarge it.

You are probably surprised.

Stan - Thursday

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gay is OK

I am seething. But that has to wait. First I would like to acknowledge Bouchercon where everything that mattered was in place – namely the people in attendance. It is always such a joy to meet the writers, bloggers, organizers and readers that make their way year after year – or only now and again, or even just the once. The company of good people is really what matters the most at these events, made even better by nicely varying and informative panels as was the case this year.
Now I am back in Iceland to embark on my annual fall mission, i.e. finish the book in progress. You might not hear much from me until that has been successfully achieved. But my seething has nothing to do with writing. It has to do with unkindness and thoughts shackled by chains of insensitivity and feelings of superiority.  

Some months ago I saw a documentary named “Bully”. I am sure many of you have seen it and I am just as sure that those who did watched with sadness in your hearts. The insensitivity of children is appalling, always has been and probably always will be. Coupled with the social media now available to one and all, youth must now be a minefield for those that in some way stand out from the crowd. And even for those who don’t. What divides between the kids that are left alone and those that are hounded can be something minor, something major or even plainly nothing at all. The young human punching bag chosen by the hyenas might just as well be chosen by spinning a bottle. By this I mean all bullied victims – different or not different - no one should be the obvious choice.

But it is not only children that bully or mistreat those that fall outside the cookie cutter mold used to define the average. Grown-ups can be just as bad, often in their non-attempts to stop what is going on and sometimes they also take it upon themselves to act as the bully. Bullying is awful when conducted by children, but even more so when grown-ups are involved.     

Now for the seething part.

My fifteen, almost sixteen year old niece has recently come out as gay. She lives in the US, not permanently, but she will be there for a few years. Since teenagers long to fit into the crowd for most part, it is hard to take such a step. So we her family and friends back home are extremely proud of her. Extremely so. A young person that decides to be honest about him/herself instead of pretending to be someone different shows strong character. And strong character will take you far in life.

A few days ago my niece went to school wearing a tee-shirt that said “Gay is OK”. I find this statement innocent and not likely to harm anyone or insult anyone’s feelings. How could it? It is not a hate mongering statement or threatening. But apparently not everyone agrees with me there. A school official had the gall to come into her classroom and remove her from class because of the tee-shirt. Take her up to an office where she was ordered to take off her tee-shirt and put on someone else’s dirty shirt from the lost and found. To make matters worse, the woman involved told my niece that she personally had nothing against gays, she even had gay friends. She simply had to do this because of school policy against such statements.

Is mentioning gay-friends not the ultimate ridiculous proclamation, used by every bigot and anti-gay person alive at some point? I for one have lots of friends. Some of them happen to be gay. I never, ever mention them as my gay-friends as if I am filling some quota or trying to prove that I am liberal – they are just my friends. It is as ridiculous to speak of gay-friends as it would be to mention people as being your freckled-friends. Friends are friends and you should not categorize them as if they were Pokemon cards, i.e. “collect them all”. To avoid any misunderstanding throwing the “gay-friends” term around (note it is always in plural) is not the same thing as referring to a group as “your golfing buddies” for example – in such a case you meet with these buddies to golf and you associate with them at the golf course. A completely, completely different analogy.

When my niece, strong as she is, asked to see the damning clause in the school policy, the woman was unable to supply it. It did not exist. A policy certainly did but there was nothing in it that could remotely apply to the tee-shirt. This woman had just flagged a non-existent policy clause to justify her own prejudice.

And on another note. People are born gay – they no more choose to be gay than they choose their natural hair color or height. Would the school have panicked if she had shown up in a tee-shirt that said “Blondes have more fun”? I don’t think so.

To me this woman who chose to make my niece stand out even more by removing her from class, a grown-up that found the urgency so great that she could not wait until class was out – she is now on a list with Putin. Putin is a coward, since cowards are by definition afraid of something that is not really scary if they would just man up and face the fear. You see Putin is afraid that if gay affection is visible non-gay people will become gay. As is the school official I am assuming. Two ridiculous people, as I can assure you this will not happen. Seeing gay couples holding hands or kissing will not turn you gay, no more than gay people become straight in the opposite case. We have our whole human history as proof of the latter.  

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if anyone who is gay was able to come out and say it without repercussions? Do we not all have the right to be the happiest person we are able to be? To love whom we want to? If not I would really like to hear the reasoning to back it up. And religion does not count. Especially not the Bible – you see in at least one spot where the Bible is heaping crap on gays the text is also saying that the handicapped are not worthy of god’s altar. If the church was able to put that aside I am sure they can make an exception for those born gay as well. And Kudos to the Pope for opening the door a smidgen recently to begin the airing out of precisely this.
To my little heroic niece: Gay sure is OK – it is more than OK, it is as perfectly normal as being straight. Let no one tell you different.
Yrsa - Wednewsday

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bouchercon Hiatus #6: Flaneur

 Paris bubbled a few weeks ago. Literally, pelting with rain frothing in the gutters. Grey, leaden skies and then the next day sun and baking heat.  But that didn't stop me assuming the role of flaneur,  a tony phrase for walking aimlessly. Flaneuring, one can argue, has a subconscious goal - to discover a new facet or unknown part of Paris. I'd never passed this corner in the Marais and looked up - but on this day I did and saw how the light hit the wall above on the ancient street name chiselled in the stone.
 Below Pigalle, once a thriving red-light district with cabarets, revues, and various heydays ie.1890's with Le Chat Noir, the Moulin Rouge (still serving shows for the tourists) it's now full of massage parlors, guitar stores and sex shops. I did find Chez Moune, still a peep show. Down the adjoining street, on one block of rue Fontaine at one time lived  Toulouse Lautrec on the second floor to be near his doctor, Edward Degas and Renoir. I walked back and forth on that block trying to imagine them visiting each other or meeting at the corner cafe. Which they did.
 Sundays Parisians insist are made for les flaneurs. We, les flaneurs, piled on the train, with several kids and baskets of food, to an hour northeast followed by a trek from the station along the river, culminating to a boat ride to Ile Verte. The green island - a little sliver in the Seine - without cars and little summer chalets about the size of postage stamps. Barbecued sardines, tiramisu, singing and there you can see what's left of the wine.
 Caught in a downpour one day I ran for shelter under an overhang which turned out to be the back entrance of the Drouot Auction house. A while ago I posted about the scandal of the Savoyards, the red collars, who've had the compriseur positions appraising all auction items and were discovered to be raking off the top. So the Savoyard mafia was gone this time but I wandered into the auction preview and Christian Dior's silver bathtub was up for bid.
This Monsieur will fix your electric razor. He's the only one in Paris who can do it, probably in all of France too since clients send him razors from Provence and Alsace to repair. His shop's behind Square Montholon. He's doctored electric razors for more than twenty years, knows everyone on the Rue and even the details of an old murder in a club next door.
Cara - Tuesday

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bouchercon Hiatus #5: My Life in Six T-Shirts

During Bouchercon week, It is the custom here on MIE to repost an oldie but goodie while almost all of us are off enjoying one another's company in person and meeting mystery fans.  Since I am such a new kid in this "town," none of my previous posts seem old enough to rerun at this point.  So I am placing here a blog entry from my parallel life on The Crime Writer's Chronicle.  Stan Trollip had advised me that the best blogs were personal.  Here is one about my life.

Annamaria - Monday

There used to be shop on Third Street in Greenwich Village where you could buy a cotton t-shirt and have the store clerks write anything you wanted on it.  I bought several during the years when making a statement that way was considered cool, even in the Village, the World Headquarters of Cool.  With the sale of our country house, a few of those shirts that I hadn't seen in years emerged from my unjustly extensive collection of memorabilia.  Somehow, the six shirts shown here wound up in one pile on my closet shelf.  They tell my story, not the whole tale of my life, but some of the significant bits.  The first two were on sale, as is, from the store.  The others show personal messages.  Here is what they say about me:

I went to Catholic school for 17 years, all of my formal schooling.  That experience was largely a blessing for a poor, working class girl like me.  The quality of my education was for the most part excellent, if rule bound.  On that score, a passage in The Once and Future King really spoke to me.  In that book, to teach the young Arthur about life and leadership, Merlin turns him into various animals.  When the future king is transformed into an ant and approaching the ant colony for the first time, over the entrance he reads, "Everything that is not compulsory is forbidden."  I could relate to that!  On the other hand, I went to a women's college on scholarship.  There I met brilliant nuns dedicated to educating the minds of women. I revere them.  They gave me my college degree as a gift.  And showed me that women could be gifted.  And take charge.

I emerged from college right into the transformative experience of the feminism of the 1960's. I have written elsewhere on this blog (Crime Writer's Chronicle) of my participation in what I call The Pink Collar Wars.  The nuns of my college primed my engine so that I might zoom right into the movement and have it broaden my horizons and multiply my possibilities.

When New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy in the 1970's, the real estate market wobbled for a few months, making a small house on 12th Street, badly in need of renovation, affordable for me and David.  A beloved friend whom we greatly respected for his real estate acumen and financial prowess, begged us not to buy.  "Buy near us in New Jersey," he said, pointing out New York's state and city income taxes, the city's sink-hole-of-depravity reputation, and the leafy beauty of the swanky suburban town where he lived, where we could have bought a mansion for the same price.  We agonized.  We even did a financial analysis that told us that, in the long run, it might cost us $10-20K extra per year to live in New York.  But we were in love with our city, warts and all.  We decided to buy that house on Twelfth Street.  During its chaotic renovation, while staying in New Jersey with my father, we drove in and rummaged around the dusty construction site to find clothes suitable for a friend's wedding.  When, in duds relatively filth free, we boarded a taxi to go to the church, David said, "We are more like a track team than a married couple."  The next week, when our daughter was still commuting through the Lincoln Tunnel to the 4th grade, I moseyed over the Third Street to get us team shirts.  Staying in New York was the best decision we ever made, in many ways, especially financially.

This shirt has more to do with my daughter's education than mine.  Brilliant as she is, she qualified for the ultra-prestigious Hunter College High School, a public institution where the 200 most brilliant New York kids, by a rigorous testing process, attended.  Because of the heady milieu where she had been studying, by the time she was ready to apply to college, she considered herself average or a little below.  She fretted that she would never get into a decent institution of higher education.  No amount of reassurance on my part calmed her fears.  "You're just saying that because you are my mother," she said.  I went to Third Street to get shirts that spoke about where her parents attended college.  I chose sayings to communicate that one did not have to go to Harvard to have a good life.  Her parents both started out just this side of destitute, and we both had jobs we loved that we're quite financially rewarding.  We were, after all, living in our own Greenwich Village townhouse.  Mine is the shirt you see here.  David's said, "Unimpressive State University."   Even having parents wearing such billboards did not calm her down much.  She got into the top four small liberal arts colleges in the country.  She went to Swarthmore!

I wore this shirt to Luciano Pavarotti's first free concert in Central Park.  I learned to love the opera, literally at my grandfathers knee. Music of all sorts of, including opera, brings me enhancement of my joys, solace in sorrow, companionship when I am lonely, help concentrating on any task at hand, and especially inspiration when I am writing.  I consider making music the highest calling for humans on this planet.  I cant play a lick myself, but I am so very lucky to have been born into a family of people who can experience ecstasy when listening to music.

Most New Yorkers used to call that Pharaoh of old two-TANK-ah-men.  But when the first big exhibition of artifacts from King Tuts famous tomb came to The Metropolitan Museum, Philippe de Montebello, the museums president, made sure we all learned how to pronounce the ancient name properly, with the accent on Tut (long o sound).  I got this shirt to wear to the show.  But I also keep it as another talisman of how lucky a person I am.  The photos of ancient Egyptian artifacts in my fourth grade text book were the first taste I got of the breath of history and the existence of exotic locales where one can see the art of the centuries. I have lived to see Karnak and Abu Simbel and to celebrate my 60th birthday at the Great Pyramids of Giza under a full moon. Not bad for a little girl from Our Lady of Lourdes School in Paterson, NJ.

I am keeping the shirts.  I don't ever want to forget any of this.