DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Jody Arno wanted the event that remembered her son’s life to be a happy one.
“Today isn’t going to be sad. It’s going to be happy. Happy memories,” Arno said on Friday evening in front of a crowd of approximately 250 people at Kiwanis Park who were there to remember Dacano Arno.
The teen drowned on Monday evening after pushing a friend to safety in the heavy current in the Sebec River. He was a 17-year-old junior at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.
Those who attended obliged with Jody Arno’s request and shared memories of Dacano’s adventures.
It started to rain lightly as Jody Arno began to speak. She told stories of Dacano and his twin brother, Darango, who were inseparable from the start.
She said the twins were placed in separate cribs as toddlers, but when she got up in the morning, they were in the same crib.
“I couldn’t figure it out. So I stayed up one night and I watched,” she remembered. “I put one in one crib and one in the other and I went out and I waited. One of them was standing on the side of the crib and the other had his feet braced and his brother had his hands and the other is walking up over and pulled him in. That’s how they were. They were just inseparable.”
Jody Arno said the duo were tough on baby sitters.
“They used to do all kinds of crazy stuff. Those poor baby sitters,” said the mother. “I had one who was peed on. One had her thumb broken. My dad had to go and save one baby sitter because they locked themselves in the bathroom and couldn’t figure out how to get them out.”
Many stories were met with laughs from the crowd.
As they got older, Cano and Rango, as they were affectionately nicknamed, would shovel neighbors’ driveways. Sometimes in kindness, sometimes to use as barter.
“They would sneak over and shovel the neighbor’s driveway and the boys weaseled that into hot tub time, so they could go hang out in their hot tub,” she said.
Aspen Victoria Maquera, Dacano’s older sister, said he would never let her leave without giving her a hug.
“He was one of those people who would force me to give him a hug when I was leaving. Even when I was mad at him, he would bearhug me,” she said. “I’m going to miss him so much.”
The twins were goofy, she said.
“I was coming home one time and I saw these two girls in front of our house and they were dressed really provocatively,” said Maquera. “As I got closer, I realized they were wearing my clothes. As I got even closer, I realized they weren’t girls, it was Rango and Cano. They were trying to hitchhike.”
Jody Arno wanted those in the crowd to try to live life with a smile, just as her son had done.
“It’s one life and I want you do something and affect someone else’s life,” she said. “He had the biggest smile. Whenever he had the motor on his bike, he’d ride through town and people would tell me afterwards, ‘Oh, I saw your kid and it made me laugh.’ Share that smile. It could be someone having the worst day. You may not even know them, but just that one smile may mean the world to them and will help them through. You don’t know what people are facing, and that’s what he was about.”
She also didn’t place blame on anyone or anything for Dacano’s death, but she did make a request.
“One of the things I do ask is someone take it upon themselves to go down to Sebec Bridge. I know, even after this tragedy, kids are still going to jump [off it to the Sebec River below, but] put an emergency hardline [telephone] that can be gotten to,” said Arno. “Because one of the things that happened, as everybody knows, there’s nothing down there [for cellphone reception]. There’s no service. I ask all to do that one thing.”