There was another reason that my mom and my gramma were upset after the woman was strangled down the street on September 8, 1963.
A few days before the murder, my gramma, who had the room at the front of our apartment, answered someone knocking at the front door. She opened it and was greeted by a man dressed in work clothes and claiming to be there to inspect the furnace. My mother joined gramma at the door to see what was going on. But the man departed soon after.
My mom tells me now that after the murder they had the suspicion that the “furnaceman” was actually the Boston Strangler.
This is all that my mother remembers today, but I remember something in addition. I didn’t learn about this until after we had moved to Brockton Massachusetts a few years later.
I distinctly remember her getting a visit from a policeman. Albert DeSolvo had confessed to being the Boston Strangler and was then serving his sentence in a prison near by. This officer was following up on the details of his confession. DeSolvo had described coming to our apartment on Lafayette Street in Salem. Described the welcome mat outside our door, and gave a description of my gramma who answered his knock. He was at the point of entering when he changed his mind because he heard children playing somewhere within the apartment.
I remember feeling grateful. Grateful that my gramma was not a victim of the Strangler. And awed that my brother, my sister and myself had some part in it.
Still, I sensed at a deeper level there was Someone else to whom thanks was due.