I spoke to a childhood friend the other day. She told me about the passing of Tommy Moriarty who died at the age of 62. Tommy had down syndrome.

He lived with his rather large family on 16th Avenue in at the time was called East Paterson.

Tommy and I were the same age. I lived two blocks away on 18th Avenue.

My memory is hazy but some of the details of my childhood have stayed with me.

We grew up together for the period of roughly 1965-1968. Many hours were spent sleigh riding on the small hill located near Tommy's house on 16th Avenue.

One day my family's dog ran out the door and it seemed like at least 20 children including Tommy tried to catch him. Pepper ran into the woods near the Garfield Water Works. Eventually despite the snow and other dangers Pepper was returned.

I asked my Mom about Tommy being different and at the time the term retarded was used. My Mom who was generally soft spoken told me that God made all children in his likeness.

Soon after this I was standing on top of 16th Avenue hill waiting to sleigh down it. Tommy was there and asked me if I was his friend. We rode down the hill on the sleigh together.

Rest in peace Tommy.

J A Hines