Skip to content




AYER/LITTLETON — In the epicenter of this storm is, among other sagas, the story of a strong single mother of one who keeps a beautiful smile on her face despite likely uninsured tragedy.

The woman has kept powering on, relying on a close network of Spectacle Pond neighbors sprinkled on either side of the Ayer/Littleton town line. They’ve collectively clung to each other to literally and figuratively keep themselves above water.

Other than a couple of summer camp homes that are submerged on the Littleton banks of Spectacle Pond, the home that is quickly being ruined by the rising pond waters is owned by Suzanne Boudrot of 7 Sandas Point. Her driveway is in Ayer, her home in Littleton. Over the weekend, she hosted numerous reporters for tours of her home, then accessible only by hopping on the back of her all-terrain vehicle.

On Tuesday afternoon, she was solo canoeing along Wagon Road in the rain to meet a friend who’d help her through the night. The ATV is no longer driveable through the deepening water.

“I haven’t had 3 nights of sleep, so forgive me if I’m a little slow,” she says, paddling along.

On Monday night, Suzanne rode out the rain storm at home alone, having sent her son Brandon to stay with a relative. “I couldn’t sleep,” she said.

Over the course of the night, the water in her basement rose another foot to 4 feet deep. The house was surrounded by the pond, breaching the foundation on three sides. She made two tough calls on Monday night: stop pumping water out of her basement and cut the power to her house.

“Your foundation caves in. I actually at one point let the water just come in. I gave up on pumping it,” said Boudrot, who despite keeping up a strong front and beset by three days without sleep, seemed genuinely shocked to hear words of loss come out of her own mouth.

As she paddles along, she floats by the Staples home at 1 Wagon Road, which turns her attention. “Ted and Margaret Staples have been my heroes,” Boudrot said. “They keep coming and checking on me. All of my neighbors have been offering coffee and showers.”

She hollers up to her neighbor on the front porch-turned-pier. “Hi Margaret!” and continues on her way.

Of the decision to let her basement flood, “it equalizes the pressure and I didn’t even think of that,” she said. Ted Staples suggested it. “Ted was one of the people that kept saying ‘you probably want to shut these pumps off.’ But you want to keep it out of your house. You just want to keep it out.”

Now, as she hunkered down for Wednesday night, there was less than a foot left before water comes in through the first floor floorboards. She hasn’t yet moved her furniture to higher floors. “It’s sort of been one step at a time. You can see the water rise. It’s not like at the ocean where you don’t see it coming. We’ve been able to see it for 2 weeks now.”

“We’ve just kept praying that the pumps would kick on.”

Boudrot is talking about the series of massive pumps brought in by the Mass Department of Transportation to draw down Spectacle Pond. The hope is that a network of pumps trucked in will provide residents relief in the face of the blockage of the one culvert that’s since collapsed. The need is to keep the water from swelling Spectacle Pond downstream into Gilson Brook in Littleton.

On Sunday, residents were looking for promises of relief at a meeting of Littleton, Ayer, State and MEMA officials. On Wednesday following another soaking day of rain, and despite a violent pumping regimen that threatened to max out Gilson Brook downstream, tributaries continue to dump more surface water into “Spec Pond.”

Boudrot isn’t satisfied with the speed at which the state addressed the affair, and especially the lag in getting the pumps in place and up to speed.

“It’s 15-16 days that we’ve been flooded down here now — since March 16 there’s been flooding in driveways and creeping up to our homes slowly each day,” she said. “I’m not really seeing anything significant as far as (water levels) being lowered.”

“Here it is Wednesday. You’re talking in excess of 48 hours here. Why did it take 60 hours to get those pumps going? It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Boudrot said. “Hours…minutes could mean loosing a home. That’s where I’ve been in the past 3 days. On the brink of possibly losing my home.”

Cracks have appeared on her foundation. Boudrot, the Staples Family, and neighbor Chris Hillman at 5 Wagon Road all reported Wednesday afternoon experiencing a one-foot rise in water levels over the past 24-hour period.

Staples and their three children have stayed put. Hillman and their three kids have evacuated, not being able to safely drive in and out of their home.

Earlier, Margaret Staples talked while driving her Honda Pilot down the end of NEMCO Way to park in the driveway of upland neighbor Bev Schultz. She walks down a landscaped embankment into her home. Groceries, bringing her children back and forth to the house, parking — it’s going to stretch longer than these last two weeks, she knows. Staples’ driveway generally continues onto Boudrot’s house. Not now.

A beautiful custom contemporary that’s being built by her husband, Margaret says he used his Bobcat several days ago to spread two truckloads of gravel he bought from Aggregate Industries on nearby Route 2A, and turned their custom garage doors into a dam. Sealed-off with plastic tarps and piled high with gravel, the barricade had held water out of their basement garage until Tuesday. A sump pump has kept up to hold levels low and steady at 4 inches deep.

We’re hanging in there,” she said. There’s 3-year-old Abbey, 17-year-old Ryan and 12-year-old Brynna, who is in the midst of her 6th grade MCAS tests this week else Margaret said she may have taken up a relative’s offer to go stay in the Boston area. Instead, the Staples, too, stay in the flood zone.

Neighbor Leon Weaver helped organize a sandbag brigade for Boudrot. Tuesday night, 15 filled sandbags at a time were ferried back and forth with two canoes but it was to no avail.

If they used to be able to see the lights on next door, they won’t tonight, Staples said. The power’s off for Boudrot, and the wait and watch is on.

“Last night she stayed there all by herself. Ted and I were very scared for her,” said Margaret Staples. “She’s a trooper, she won’t abandon her house.”