In Memory

Edward Sullivan

Edward Sullivan

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04/27/13 09:18 AM #1    

Kevin Tracey

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
                                                                          Hit One For Eddie
      I'm not a golfer, I've never been a golfer, but I've had golf moments and, at times, played okay.  For the past few months I have been living in a condo on the 9th fairway of a golf course.  I have played as many times this summer as I have in total for the last forty years or so.  I enjoy being out there even if parts of my body don't.  Now factor in that this course is hard and my scores are nothing to be proud of.  Still, I go out thinking that I might finally put a round together, a round where nothing goes wrong, a round where I don't lose a ball, three put a green, top or shank an iron and get a score to be proud of.  It hasn't happened and the odds are against it ever happening.  In addition to this false hope, what keeps me going out is that this course visually is striking.  I love the views. 
     I also love the way golf used to be played.  Played with persimmon headed drivers and fairway woods.  Played with blade putters.  Played with your best friends.  And, for me, played walking and carrying your own bag.  So hard to do these days as most courses restrict you to using a cart, a money maker for them and a necessity to speed up play.  Speed up play is where I have an issue as the time spent walking to and from your cart takes up the same amount of time as carrying your bag and walking directly to your ball.  I'm convinced of that.
     Yesterday I got to play 18 holes the old fashioned way, walking and carrying my bag.  No mean feat for a guy turning 64 on a course designed for a mountain goat!  It was a beautiful fall afternoon.  It was a special afternoon.  The only other players out on the course were two high school teams playing a match.  I am so glad I did it as I don't know how many more chances I'll get to walk a course.  Walk a course on a beautiful fall day here in New England.  Walk a course listening to the sound the clubs make in the bag, a rhythm timed to my walking.  I tried to think of the last time I had had a similar day.  I had to go back to high school to find one. 
     Junior and senior year Eddie Sullivan and I would occasionally play golf after school.  We would grab our clubs and sneak on different courses late in the afternoon hoping no golfers or greens keepers would spot us.  We would usually get in four or five holes, often playing two balls per hole.  We would hit 'em and go find 'em.  What we lacked in skill we made up in distance.  Both Eddie and I could pound 'em.  Especially our drives.  Eddie would hit low screamers.  I would hit a high fade.  We snuck on Charles River, Woodland, Wellesley, Needham.  Just Eddie and I.  Best friends walking and carrying our clubs.  What clubs we had.  My bag was an old Sunday bag made of canvas and leather with one zip pocket to hold a few balls.  My clubs consisted of a driver, a three wood, a seven iron, a nine iron and a putter that my dad no longer wanted.  Our balls were castaways.  They were scuffed, cut, found in the woods.  Spring of senior year while sitting in home room we were talking with Ricky Stark.  He convinced us to try out for the school golf team.  He told us that if we did, we could get out of school early as the team practice began at 1:30pm.  Leaving school early convinced us as we were just marking days off the calendar until we graduated.  So, Eddie and I tried out for the golf team.  Sort of, we never bothered to tell the coach, tell our teachers.  We had also signed up for the tennis team.  Turns out that we could "try" out for both as the girls tennis team got to use the courts first so we didn't have to be at the tennis tryouts until 3pm. 
     For two weeks Eddie and I played both.  We left school around 1:15pm, played a few for the Needham High golf team avoiding the coach at all costs.  After playing we would drive back to the high school, change and play for the Needham High tennis team.  We were having a ball.  We could have cared less if we made either team.  We assumed at some point the golf coach would catch us and wonder who the heck we were.  Turns out, it never came to being caught.  One of the other kids trying out for the golf team ratted us out.  We were " kicked" off the team.    We did play on the tennis team that spring.
     What made me think of our time on the golf team was while playing yesterday I caught up to the high school golf match.  I would wait and watch on the tee while they played in front of me.  They were so young.  They walked and carried their bags.  I couldn't help but go back in time and think of Eddie and I "playing" for our high school golf team.  I couldn't help but think of my best friend Eddie. Eddie, who died of a brain tumor in the eighties.  I couldn't help getting as sad as I've ever been as I teed up on the final hole.  I hit one as far as I could, swung as hard as I could.
     I hit one for Eddie.

05/23/13 05:50 AM #2    

Jeffrey Feeley

Beautiful remembrance, Kev.

05/24/13 10:53 AM #3    

Richard Stark

Nice job Kevin. I remember Eddie well and will hit one for him this weekend.

Rick Stark

05/24/13 01:15 PM #4    

Howie Appel

I agree Jeff, excellent remembrance Kev.  Howie

05/25/13 11:56 AM #5    

Virginia Tollas (Baird)

I remember Eddie from Homeroom....all of us S,T and W's . You were my friends. I'm sorry to hear of this loss. Good memory about the golfing! I do remember "hearing" about that one.


05/26/13 12:11 PM #6    

Charles Charlton

Sully and I were friends in high school – everyone that knew Ed was his friend. I really got to know him in college – we attended Northeastern.  During our years at Northeastern we became close friends. Sully was in my wedding to Nancy (Murray) Charlton and I was in his wedding to Corrine Kluwer.  Those were the days when we spent many weekends together. We had a lot of good times.  Nancy and I moved out of the area after graduation so we drifted apart after college. I learned of Sully's illness after he passed away. I never got to tell him how close a friend he was to me.

I am unable to tell stories the way Kevin Tracey does – he remembers story details as if they happened yesterday.  But I do have one short story.  I caddied at Charles River Country Club during the summer between 7th and 8th grade. Sully’s father was a member at Charles River. One Sunday I was picked to caddie for a member and his son – that’s right it was Sully and his father.  I don’t remember much about that round other than thinking Sully was a decent golfer – certainly much better than me.

As I mentioned we were close friends during our college years. Sully died so young.  It really would be nice to be able to see and talk to him again.  Sully, I miss you and always will.  

08/09/13 08:39 AM #7    

John Halbrooks

The four short (so long!) years of high school are, for many of us, among the most intense and profound of our lives. Some people hated high school and were happy to leave and never return, even in memory. High school is where and when we began to form our adult selves. And that transition is often messy. By the time we reached college, our identities were beginning to harden, but high school was tumultuous because we were in the process of becoming.


For me, high school was an emotional roller coaster. I remember struggling to deal with new experiences, responsibilities and relationships. My parents divorced when I was a sophomore/junior. Memory is untrustworthy and capricious. Some memories are quite odd. They do not seem to merit retaining. So why do I remember so vividly driving down Dedham Avenue one day after school in our junior year?


I was dating Sandy Fernald, who was a year behind us. She lived down on Edgewater Drive. I was driving Sandy home after school in the family Ford stationwagon. Sitting on that plasticized bench of a front seat was like sliding into a booth at Howard Johnson’s. As we passed through the railroad underpass near the Pollard Junior High, there stood Eddie Sullivan hitchhiking. This moment hangs fire in my mind. Eddie lives near Sandy on Edgewater Drive. It is a long way from the Pollard to his house, maybe a mile. I don’t stop. I can see Eddie’s face express surprise as we drive by. Why don’t I stop? Am I embarrassed for some reason? What insecurity makes me drive on? Sandy tells me to stop. I can’t understand why I don’t. I still don’t know why I didn’t. Every once in a while, I remember this incident. And it’s more poignant today because both Eddie and Sandy have died. They’re both gone and this memory stays with me.


I don’t know if at a reunion Eddie or Sandy would have remembered that day in 1964. Awkward and painful for me still. I’d like to apologize to both of them. But I can’t. I’m saddened that they’re gone. And I’m sorry another nearly 50 classmates have died. High school was chock-full of incredible highs and, for me, some intense lows. And you all are the only people in the world I share those experiences and emotions with.

John Halbrooks

11/03/14 05:58 PM #8    

Les McKechnie

Kevin Tracey has initiated a request amongst Eddie's friends to honor Ed Sullivan with a donation in Ed's name to the Class of 1965 that will ultimately be passed on to the Needham High School. The reunion committee has not worked out the details of the individual donations yet, but I replied to Kevin's request with my rememberance of Eddie Sullivan. Kevin asked that I share my story:

Kevin, I do not believe that I ever got your first appeal, so here goes with the story. I will commit $239.75 as a first pass to the committee in Eddie’s name. That might seem an odd amount but it really isn’t to me.  I spent 5+ years with Ed in the Army Reserves in Boston….he actually got me the slot after my wife and I returned from living (existing) near Detroit. He was my senior NCO.

Eddie and I both enjoyed the “one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer” gig and the various personalities.  We had a lot of laughs.  In the 40 person 323rd Army Medical Laboratory unit we had 2 MD’s, 2 VETS, 6 PhD’s and by the way several Red Sox and NE Patriots….to include Jim Lonborg although he never attended any drills.  It was an eclectic group to say the least and most of the two week summer camp was spent trying to remind adults that life is not the movie MASH.
One funny story that just came to mind.   On my second year in the unit for our two week annual training (circa 1974),  Ed and I (and 20 or so unit members) were sent to Ft Sam Houston in Texas for which was and still is the center of Army (and now all service) medical unit training.  One of Ed and my unit cohorts was a marketing director for Sheraton in Boston.  He got us all rooms in a San Antonio Sheraton for something like $5 a night.  Since we were required to sign out a billet (a sleeping dorm for lack of a better description) we did so, made up all the beds to regulation and polished the floor to a high gloss and promptly secured it with a lock.  Every other day , late in the afternoon, we were inspected by some liaison officer of Ft Sam to include the billets.  The inspector would show up and we would unlock the billets to show him how pristine we were maintaining his building. While unbeknownst to him, the unit was having cocktail hour poolside at the Sheraton.  He never did notice that the only marks on the floor were his from earlier inspections.
We got the job done as personnel specialists… which meant that we made sure that everyone’s medical, personnel, training and pay records were correct. Oh, the $239.75…
 That was the gross pay that a Staff Sergeant Edward Sullivan made per quarter in the USAR when he was discharged. And yes I still miss him and his contagious grin.  RIP SSG Edward Sullivan

11/05/14 06:17 PM #9    

Gunnard Johnston

I remember Eddie.   Nice kid, soft spoken.   We played hockey together.   He always gave his best.  Reliable team mate.   To me his life is a reminder:   we live on this earth for a limited time -- could be a few years, could be a hundred, but not much more, if that.   Eventually all of us will graduate to the eternal world of the spirit.   It is not a choice, not something we can refuse to go to if we don't want.   Nor is it a fantasy concocted by imagination.   It's real.  And it is where we reap the results of what we have done over this time we have on earth.   So it's always best to live right.   Memories are forever.


Hey, Jeff Feeley, Howie, Virginia, Rick Stark, John Halbrooks, Chucky Charlton, Les, and all:   good to see you again.

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