Sandy Hook proving to be special : Matt's Memo

Sandy Hook Elementary.

The parents of Sandy Hook have bonded in a manner beyond what anyone could imagine. The close knit community already was a place where mom's picked up children to shuttle from one place to another without regard for whether those kids were their own. The mothers and fathers would chat after dropping off at pre-school. They would talk while waiting for sports and activities to end. They enjoyed their common experience in a way families do in many other small or suburban American towns. Then Friday, December 14th struck.

Leslie Kohler is one of those mothers who has been wiping away tears of her own and of her children for the last five days. Leslie grew up in the Liverpool community of Irongate. Her maiden name is Brenning. She and her husband moved to Sandy Hook with their three children about two years ago. It reminded them of Nantucket. They had lived in Princeton, New Jersey. They longed for the quieter life that Sandy Hook offered.

Even after a shooter took the lives of twenty of her neighbors' children she has no regret about moving to the place they call home. "If anyone is having a bad day you just surround them and lift them up," said Kohler. "It's been amazing. I don't think I'd live anywhere else now."

The Kohler children are 14 year old Tom, 10 year old Lauren and 4 year old Charlotte or Charlie. A look into the adorable eyes of Charlie is the most difficult for Leslie because she sees the faces of the six year olds now being eulogized.

"She goes to pre-school and two girls in her class lost their older siblings," explained Kohler. "I stand in line every morning and every day at pick up at talk with those mothers. Now to think they have one child instead of two...I can't process it."

She struggles to consider how she will ever convince her children that it is safe to return to school. That's where the community enters the picture, and the strength of children. The first day back to school she wondered whether Lauren would get off the bus crying or smiling. The smile won the day.

The parents had bonded convincing each other it was best for the kids in Newtown to return to school as soon as possible. The kids took it from there. Relieved to see friends. Glad to talk with counselors. Happy to pet a therapy dog. School was safe again. And, Sandy Hook remained home.

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