“He was known for his smile,” said Fran Endres, Freddie’s mother, as she sat in her living room surrounded by friends and family after her son’s Memorial Mass on Wednesday, September 29.
His young life was tragically cut short when the bike he was riding was hit by a truck on August 3 at the intersection of Elliot Avenue and Fresh Pond Road.
“People always think when a kid is killed on his bike that he was a street kid," said Endres, "but my Freddie wasn’t.” Her eyes filled with tears as she reminisced about her son. “He was just such a good kid.”
The sentiment was echoed by many others who spoke fondly of Freddie. “There was a warmth and love about Fred,” said Monsignor Ryan while giving his homily during the mass. “To see his smile, to feel his hug was to be filled with joy.”
Endres remembered their weekly trips to the grocery store, which Freddie hated. She laughed as she recalled bickering with him in the aisles until he would ask if he could have some cookies. She could never stay mad at Freddie for long; during an argument he would always start laughing and then all was forgiven.
Laughing herself, she remembered a rap lyric her son once posted on Facebook: “I'm gonna tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.” She was so upset she told him to take it down immediately, telling him he had to respect himself and others, and writing something like that was disrespectful. That's when Freddie tried to explain how the rap artist Eminem had changed and his music was all about the lyrics.
When driving, said Endres, she always hears the same Eminem song Freddie quoted, "Love the Way You Lie." Now she actually enjoys the music, which reminds her of her son.
The September 29th memorial service concluded with a candlelit walk to the site of the accident, where hundreds of people stood, their candles burning bright in the darkness.
“When I go by here,” Endres spoke in front of the dozens of mourners, “as hard as it will be for me, I will see all your loving faces.”
Endres described her son as a generous individual who helped neighbors carry their groceries without being asked. Once when he learned that friends from down the block didn’t have enough money for school supplies, he gave them some of his own.
The walls in Endres' living room are covered with photo collages of her beloved son, dating from his infancy all the way to the tender age of 12. Endres pointed out she, her husband, and Freddie's 21-year-old sister feel a great void without him.
“He didn’t deserve this,” said Endres as she glanced at the photos on her walls. “Now that he’s gone we're empty; we exist but we don’t live.”
With a smile, Endres recalled that Freddie wasn’t afraid, even at the age of 12, to hold her hand in public. He wasn’t embarrassed about being so close to his mother. While she was recovering from back surgery, they spent their afternoons playing board games in their living room.
“When he left that day he gave me such a smile,” Endres recalled with a smile of her own. “He said I love you and winked at me.”
Endres mentioned that since the loss of her son, members of community groups have been pointing to his death as a reason why truck traffic should be banned from Maspeth streets.
“I want people to see that he was a person, a human being,” said Endres. “He was an average 12 year old, but he was my son.”