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Newton woman writes about Vietnam War protest

HER STEP IN HISTORY: In February 1971, Newton resident Louise Bruyn read an op-ed piece describing the escalating carnage among civilians in Vietnam due to the United States’ foreign policy in Southeast Asia.

“I said to my husband, ‘Somebody ought to walk to Washington, D.C., and tell them they’ve got to stop this,’ ” Bruyn recalled. “He told me that’s the kind of thing it may take to make people really listen to what’s going on. The next thing I knew, I was looking at a map.”

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Now 83, Bruyn tells the story of her 45-day, 450-mile journey on foot from Newton to Washington in her new book, “She Walked for All of Us: One Woman’s 1971 Protest Against an Illegal War.” With a preface by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Bernard Lown of Chestnut Hill, the 250-page book is based on the journal she wrote about the people she met along the way, the kindness of strangers who fed her and invited her into their homes each night, and the impact of her experience on others.

Bruyn walked 10 miles a day with a borrowed backpack, wearing a black armband but carrying no signs or leaflets. She was occasionally accompanied by supporters and members of the news media, and was joined by her husband, Severyn Bruyn, children George, Rebecca, and Susan, and a busload of her fellow Quaker Meeting members from Newton when she arrived at the Capitol on April 2, 1971.

She was greeted by two members of the Bay State’s delegation in Washington, Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Representative Robert F. Drinan, Bruyn said, and she then gave a short speech describing “how many people told me I was walking for them, and that people everywhere wanted an end to the war.” When President Nixon had still not responded to her request for a meeting five days later, Bruyn flew home to Massachusetts.

In addition to serving on a number of local government committees in the ensuing years, Bruyn founded Green Decade/Newton and helped establish Newton at Home, which supports seniors who wish to remain in their own residences as they age. Even though 42 years have passed since her one-woman walk, Bruyn thinks it may still resonate with other ordinary citizens who want to make a difference.

“I hope my story stirs something in others to think that things can change, and then get involved,” she said.

Bruyn will discuss her book next Sunday at 2 p.m. in the community meeting room at Cabot Park Village, 280 Newtonville Ave. in Newton. Audience members are invited to bring Vietnam War-era memorabilia for display.

HITTING AGAINST ALS: The Ketchum family of Newton will host the third annual Ketchum Classic charity tennis tournament on Saturday at the Longwood Cricket Club, 564 Hammond St. in Chestnut Hill. The event benefits Augie’s Quest, an initiative of the Muscular Dystrophy Association that funds research at the nonprofit ALS Therapy Development Institute in Cambridge.

The round-robin competition will begin at 3:30 p.m., to be followed by hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and a silent auction at 6 p.m., and a live auction at 7 p.m. The two previous events raised more than $320,000.

Todd Ketchum, the 47-year-old founder of Agility Partners in Framingham, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — in 2010. Due to the progression of his disease, the once-active outdoorsman is reliant on a wheelchair, feeding tube, diaphragm pacing system, and a communication device that tracks his eye movement.

The oldest of Todd and Laura Ketchum’s three sons, 17-year-old Sam, recently completed his second summer internship at the ALS Therapy Development Institute, a research lab dedicated to developing therapies to slow and cure ALS. A senior at Newton North High School, Sam said it has been rewarding to see the family’s fund-raising in action while learning the science behind his father’s disease.

The experience has also inspired him to pursue a science career in ALS research. In the meantime, he is looking forward to the Ketchum Classic, which he said is a source of inspiration for his entire family.

“It’s overwhelming, in a good way,” Sam said. “It’s so uplifting to know how many people really care and want to help.”

For more information, visit www.mdaevent.org/ketchumclassic.

POET LAUREATE: Poet Marian Kaplun Shapiro of Lexington has won the 2013 Massachusetts Senior Poet Laureate Award in the 21st annual national competition for American poets age 50 and older. Her winning poem was “Instructions to My Children.”

“It’s always exciting,” Shapiro said about receiving the honor for the fifth time in the last seven years.

In addition to her 2007 book of poetry “Players in the Dream, Dreamers in the Play,” Shapiro has 255 published poems, 41 of which have won prizes (including 28 first-place awards). Most recently, she was nominated by Chicago Poetry Press for the Pushcart Prize for her poems “Spring Sunlight” and “Finding You,” which were published in the Journal of Modern Poetry last year.

Shapiro has also published works related to her work as a psychologist in private practice in Lexington, including a 1989 book, “Second Childhood: Hypno-Play Therapy with Age-Regressed Adults,” two book chapters, and approximately 200 journal articles on hypnosis and multiple personality disorder. She said her work in psychology is often reflected in her poetry.

“My patients’ experiences of being lonely, widowed, unsuccessful, traumatized, or whatever their struggle is, goes into my own psyche and comes out in my writing,” Shapiro said. “We all share the same human experiences, and it’s wonderful to be able to find the right words to transmit them out to the world.”

QUALITY PLANNING: Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts members Thomas McFarland III of Harvard, Caroline Coderre of Newton, and Ira Rapaport of Sharon were recently named recipients of the Boston Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Award by Minneapolis-based Five Star Professional for providing quality service.

McFarland, a certified financial planner, is founder and owner of the Darrow Co., with offices in Concord, Boston, and Los Angeles. Coderre is a certified financial planner and a certified divorce financial analyst with the company.

Rapaport is founder and CEO of New England Private Wealth Advisors LLC in Wellesley. He is a certified public accountant and personal financial specialist, certified financial planner, and certified in-vestment management analyst.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@ globe.com.
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