June 1, 1988. The house then belonged to Cushing's parents.
He tells the story while sitting at the kitchen table. "My mother was laying on the couch there watching the
Celtics, when there was a knock at the door. My father was sitting at this table. He got up and answered the door, and there
were two shotgun blasts."
Robert Cushing was dead, the victim of a senseless murder in the doorway
of his home. The home now occupied by Renny and his family.
well ask, why live in a place that holds such a bitter memory? But Renny Cushing isn't your average guy. He fights for things
he believes in. As a teenager, he was an active opponent of the Vietnam War. After high school, he spent several years bumming
around North and South America. Then he returned home and became a leader in the Clamshell Alliance, the grassroots organization
that fought the construction of the Seabrook nuclear power plant.
And, in the wake of his father's murder, Renny
Cushing adopted a new cause: abolishing the death penalty.
So he's a fighter. But
still. To live in that house? To pass through the front door several times a day?
it a matter of principle: he doesn't want the house to be defined by his father's murder. "My parents bought this house
in 1951 on the GI Bill," he says. He was born the following year, the first of seven children. "I was brought home
[from the hospital] to this house. My grandfather built part of this house. My cousin Charlie was the bricklayer who built
"My father died here -- but my kids learned to walk here. I'm not
backin' down. I'm not gonna get run out."