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Erin Grace

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Walter is one person whose identity I won't conceal. Early on, he had an idea of what was going on and I overheard him telling "K" to be good to me. Walter was about 4 years older than myself and had seen a lot of tragedy in his life. His family blamed him for a siblings death, when he was very young (I believe it was a sister). I always felt he and I had a connection and he treated me like a little sister. Walter would come over alone or with "K's" brother and his friends. He'd hang out with me and he'd smoke and talk but if "K" was around, I think it scared Walter and he wouldn't stay long. He was so sweet to me and my sister.

One day, during Spring (just before Easter I think), Walter, "K's" brother and another friend stopped at the apartment. They were excited that the local "outlet", as we called it (more like a small river that runs through that city), was really churning with water. They were taking small rafts and paddles and were going to do a sort of "riding the rapids"  through the outlet. "S" was headed off to work and I was with "K". The boys hung out for maybe 30 minutes and then they were off.

Later that day there was a call from "K's" family. The boys had gotten into more than they anticipated at the outlet and Walter was missing. The other boys made it to shore but Walter was carried away by the current. The last that was seen of him was when he was pulled under by the water.

Emergency crews searched for Walter; they finally found him. He had been pulled under and slammed against one of the large pipes that ran under the water in the outlet. Walter was dead.

"K's" brother was inconsolable. I remember going to the wake. It was surreal. Kids crying and going out on the porch of the funeral home to vomit. I had to leave, it was too overwhelming. I still have a little ceramic, painted creamer that I made in elementary school, that I let Walter use as an ashtray. I took a rose from his grave site and put it in there, with the cigarette ashes.

"K" and Walter are buried in the same cemetery. The extension of the cemetery (the smaller part) was the one that we lived next door to, in the apartment....the one that I used to ride "K's" motorcycle through and walk through, when "K would get really angry with me. It's strange how life goes. Who would've thought I'd be going back there to visit them, after spending so much time living so close and wandering around in it? When I lived back in that city again, years afterwards, I used to drive up to that cemetery and spend hours walking through there and visiting their graves, mostly Walter's though. I completely get the people who sit there, talking to people that are gone. It's actually kind of calming, at least for me. It helped me move on.

Miss you, Walter.

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