Dede Cummings

Commentator

Dede Cummings, a writer who attended Middlebury College, lives in Brattleboro where she makes books and represents other authors.

On June 4th, at 10:15 p.m., my daughter and her cousin were hit by a truck on Route 95 in New Haven, Connecticut on the Q Bridge. They were pedestrians.

My daughter’s car had caught on fire, so they had no choice. They were critically injured, but the accident happened within sight of Yale New Haven Hospital, a level-one trauma center, which saved their lives.

Howard Brofsky was an icon, a legend, a jazz pioneer; a Brooklyn-born trumpeter who moved to Vermont 20 years ago. He lived down the road from us in a ramshackle red farmhouse. Friends called him Howie. We’d see him on neighborhood walkabouts; sometimes we’d drop off a casserole or my husband would help out in other ways – like getting into crawl spaces when Howie no longer could. There was always live jazz at the Brofsky’s house; good food, wine, and children underfoot. My three children adored him, as a grandfather figure, yes, but also as a mentor in music and in life.
 

When my daughter, Emma, was a baby girl, I rocked her to sleep every night, singing the Irish ballad, "The Maid of Culmore," a favorite of my maternal grandmother, Catherine Ellis.
 

Emma’s birth had been difficult, with an emergency stay at Dartmouth’s neonatal intensive-care unit. We thought we'd lose her, and every day I was grateful just to hold her.

Patriot's Day was a training run for me. I woke up to a cold, crisp day with a clarity that matched the sky, which stretched out, unblemished, for miles around me, as I ran 4 miles up and over the dirt road hills of West Brattleboro.