The Howe Street Soldier


Brooks Handy and Jacob Deziel

Kenneth Keamy was born in Methuen, Massachusetts in 1930. He was one of seven siblings. Before he was enlisted at the age of 18, he enjoyed working with his father as a carpenter. Keamy loved sports, golf being one of his favorite.

Keamy grew up with his five best friends Robert Defresne, Al Pacheco, Philip Carpentito, Ernest Piccirillo and John Kopacz. The six of them called themselves “The Howe Street Gang.” The close group of friends grew up on Howe Street in Methuen, and  when it was time to enlist at the age of 18, they all decided to do so together.

Keamy was in an infantry unit in reserves during the Korean war. During his downtime, he enjoyed dancing to keep busy. Keamy loved his base, and Motor Pools, because “it was the place where all the best food and best visitors came through.”

Keamy remembers that all of the instructors were nice except for one, who made him scrub floors because he would not move fast enough. Ken enjoys making people laugh, a quality we noticed almost immediately after he told us this story. Keamy emphasized that at the time, he thought he was doing his duty as an American citizen by fighting for his country.

Now, looking back at it, Kenneth realizes that “War is ridiculous… There should be a better way to settle it.” He also added that he “hopes future generations don’t have to go to war. It’s just awful.” Because Keamy was never actually in a combat scenario, he never really had to adjust when coming home, and mentioned that he loved being greeted by family and friends. Keamy looked for a job and ended up finding one in Connecticut for a typewriter company that paused their manufacturing of typewriters to make rifles for the war instead. He didn’t know how long he would have that job, but ended up staying there for 39 years and retired. When Keamy’s wife passed, he said golf saved his life. He is apart of the Veterans Administration and says he’s not happy with the service of it, but is grateful for what they’ve gave him. Another good memory he had was when he had a hernia surgery, a clown came to cheer him up. He enjoyed it but refrained from laughing because it hurt to laugh. The overall message that Keamy made clear was that war is a horrible thing, and that he hopes no future generations have to experience it. Keamy is one of many that believes that there must be a less barbaric and brutal alternative to international conflict.