Literature about Doug

A True Hero

He made us smile

It was like he radiated

A Supreme happiness

A happiness that amounted to no other

He made us see the real meaning of life

A peaceful, meaningful life

That gave us serene delight

He is our hero

He fought through sickness

He gave us strength

Crest Memorial's number one fan

Every game, whether rain or shine

He'd be there, sitting next to the team

Cheering us on

Even in what seemed like the hopeless games

He instilled in us the hope

The hope that we needed to win

We all love him

Douglas Raucci

You are forever in our hearts and souls

Your memories will stay with us

'til the end of days










Today I have literally been asked to do the impossible: Sum up Doug’s impact on this world in five minutes.  Even if I had all of the time in the world, the task would still be Impossible. Accomplishing this job is unfeasible not just because there is no one “Doug Story” to capture his entire essence, but also because there are people outside of 121 West Forget-me-not who have loved and been loved by Doug far longer than I have.    I definitely was not there when the Malkowski’s moved in next-door when Doug was nine months old.  I played no part in helping Patrice teach Doug to walk.  I definitely have not spent the time in the hospital with Doug that Aunt Debbie has.  The influence that I have had on Doug does not even come close to paralleling that of the aids and teachers Doug had at Cape may County Special Services.  The bond I developed with Doug can’t match that of classmates and life long friends like Edie, Holly, Winnie, Annie, Paul, James “The Rock” Winston, and John Bennington.  Like Mrs. Ferguson, I like lurk in the shadows behind the place reserved in Doug’s Heart for the many, many people from Crest Memorial. Looking forward to Tuesdays had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Mrs. Maloy and her miraculous injection. If one thing is for sure the time I have spent in the Raucci’s living room does not even come close to touching the records set by Uncle Joe, Aunt Beth, Joseph, Elizabeth, Mary-Kate, and Matthew Schiff.  And while I received many phone calls from Doug, the 3:10 call to Grand-mom was clearly Doug’s daily priority for a reason.


Relatives constantly surrounded Doug from both Mr. and Mrs. Raucci’s side of the family.  He was also surrounded by other family members like the Malkowski’s and Schiff’s that served to thoroughly confuse household visitors about who was related to who and how.  And then there are people like me, who fall into a group of people in Doug’s life that truly represent the enormity of the impact that he had.  I represent many people who have coincidentally met Doug, and been forever changed because of it.  While the love given to Doug by his family members is a shining example for all, it is the love that this young man gave to and received from his community that represents how truly special he was.


God blessed the Raucci’s with the most amazing gift in Doug.  Parents of special children are often reluctant to let go. But Mrs. Raucci had complete confidence that her sweet boy would be safe and well cared for by this community, whether he be at school, an Elks game, or in the living room with one of Melissa, Mandy, or Kyle’s newest friends, by letting go just a little bit, the Raucci’s gave people like me an experience like no other. The experience afforded to us by the Raucci’s gave us all a glimpse into the life the Amazing Oglethorpe.  


In getting to know and love Douglas we learned quickly that he did not deal well with change. Lets just say Doug did much better dealing with the news that Mandy and Adam were back together, than when Mandy told him about the break up.  While it was tough for Doug to see his sisters leave for college, it was even tougher for him to adjust to the Yankees playing a West Coast game.  The time between his exit from the bus and the pre-game show at 9:30 was a perfect opportunity for Doug to remind his mother that while patience is clearly not hereditary, somethings, like pop-pops quick wit, are.


But whatever patience Doug lacked, was clearly balanced out by the creativity he displayed in the activities he chose to pass the time.  His totally irrelevant comments have redefined the meanings of modest, tacky, and nail-biter, among others.  Whether it be a picture sorting session with his flavor of the week, the creation of an episode of “The Famous Naked Baker” produced by Kat Sweeney, or, my personal favorite, a quick round of “The Hairy Game”, with a heavy focus on the ruthless Mrs. Ferguson, Doug knew how to pass the time.  The irony and importance about the love and memories that Doug created with so many is that they took place in the time between what we often think of as the important stuff.


It has been said that special people have special kids.  Our God definitely knew what he was doing when he placed Doug in his parent’s Care.  From his parents we can all learn, not just from their amazing example of love and loyalty, but from the sheer joy they took in the accomplishing the tasks and conquering the obstacles that so many of us would naturally fear.  The source of Mrs. Raucci’s never ending patience and energy no doubt comes from the amazing love she has for her family, especially Doug.  For Mrs. Raucci, no time spent on Doug was a waste of time.  From the Doctor’s appointments, to clock round cake, everything with Doug was her first priority. In the wake of his wife, the energizer bunny, Mr. Raucci’s quiet example of dedication and consistency have given us a totally new perspective on how to love and be loved, all he needed was the two of them.


Doug was the man he was because of the household in which he was raised.  This family’s foundation of love, patience and their ability to delight in the simplicity of just being together is not only to be admired, but dare we say envied.  Family Dinners, Yahtzee, Sorry and 100 piece puzzles were the crux of their evenings and weekends, unless of course there was a show to put on or a dance to be choreographed; all video taped by mom or dad, of course, for never ending reruns.  How many times could Doug watch the same video?  No better siblings could be had for Doug.  Sisters with such contrasting personalities yet so constantly intertwined in each other’s lives that surely they shared the same heart.  Sisters Melissa and Mandy, who made long trips from college to watch a Duke or Yankee game with their father and brother.  Sisters who brought friends home from school to watch their younger brother’s baseball games, treated with all the buildup of major league playoffs.  A brother Kyle, who never once had a problem with the attention paid to his older brother Doug at events where he too was shining.  Whether it be at a performance of Grease, or an Elk’s baseball game, it didn’t matter to Kyle that all eyes were on Doug, because Kyle knew that no one was more proud of him than Doug.


In a world where “everything” is never enough, and we are all grasping for more, the Raucci’s had all they needed; they knew it and embraced it.  We knew it too, and wanted to be part of it as much as possible.  Is there a more welcoming home on the island then the Raucci home? Is there a more recognizable living room?  How many of us were there at any given time…yet isn’t it odd that it never seemed crowded…. there was always room for “one more”.  While Mrs. Raucci ushered us in, Mr. Raucci never hesitated to slide over on the couch to make room for one more person, whether he knew them or not.   It was as if the room got bigger to accommodate all of the love and laughter that was generated.  So, so many of us were drawn to the light of this family.  And in the center of the family was Doug, with his ability to make anyone and everyone feel as if they were the only person that existed in a packed room.  What a list of memories and legacy he leaves us.  Did you know that Doug was special?  Yet who learned from who?  We have become addicted to his smile, love and laughter. He has become our heart, our humor, and ultimately our hero. We will all miss Doug. He is now being embraced by his Pop-Pop Raucci, and meeting his Uncle Frankie for the first time, so we must be grateful for the time he shared with us, and remember to live by the wisdom in his simple ways.