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BOSTON MANHUNT: Hunkered down in Watertown, Marjorie Southworth, formerly of Hadley, reflects on trauma

Holed up in her Watertown apartment a few blocks from the area where a massive armed police presence had assembled this morning, former longtime Hadley resident Marjorie Southworth said she oddly felt safe, though heartbroken, about the events unfolding this week.

That’s in part because her particular street was “dead quiet” Friday morning, and elsewhere in Watertown there were so many police amassed that it seemed likely Watertown residents would be OK in the end, she said.

It was a different story for her Monday, when, while working from home, she learned of the Boston Marathon bombings. Her 24-year-old son, Cooper, also a former Hadley resident, was working at the finish line for a company supplying electricity to the medical tent.

Southworth immediately tried to contact him, and luckily, she reached him immediately, finding out he was shaken up, but unharmed.

This morning, Southworth learned that a dangerous suspect was at large and the Boston area was in lockdown from her daughter, a Northampton resident, who texted her at 5 a.m. Her daughter had been enroute to the Midwest and had seen the news report on television in an airport.

Southworth, 63, said the random acts of violence are feeling all too familiar. When the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, she was in fear until she finally managed to track down her sister who was in the vicinity of the World Trade Towers. This time, she immediately reached out to her sister, so she wouldn’t be worried about her.

Meanwhile, a colleague who lives a few blocks away in Watertown, texted her a picture taken outside her apartment window showing an armed police officer splayed out on a car hood with his gun aimed. “She also told me she’s lying on her couch in case there’s an explosion,” said Southworth, who worked at Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges while she lived in Hadley. She resided in Hadley for 20 years, raising her children there, before moving to Watertown five years ago.

Southworth said the week’s events have put her on an emotional roller coaster. She has felt fear, anger and despair.

“This is one of my favorite cities in the world, so it breaks my heart,” said Southworth. “It’s been a little too close for comfort, and yet, I’m trying to remember my blessings.”

She said just as in the days right after the bombings, the trauma of today will likely catch up with her afterward.

“It often hits me later when the hype is gone, the adrenaline is gone and I’m left to be introspective about the city and country I love that has changed in such sad ways,” she said.

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