The Past Stays Present

junior high

I’ve written about this topic before, but it is on my mind again. I don’t know why. It stays with me.

A classmate of mine was murdered in 1981. We were in the same 8th grade history class. I’d spoken to her only once or twice. She was just a girl who sat in the back row, but she comes to mind frequently. I read in the newspaper that she had pet rabbits.

Her case is written about here. A few months before her death, a man tried to break into my bedroom. I was 13 too. He stood near me and watched me sleep. I woke up and he ran off. My mother packed my suitcase and sent me to stay with my grandmother that afternoon day.

There’s no reason to think this man was the same man talked about in Tina’s story–the man who stands over girls while they sleep. But I can’t shake the possibility that it was.

I think about 13-year-old Tina and her last night. I think about another girl who was attacked months later but survived. It would be nice to say that her death had a huge impact on the school or that my classmates talk about her to this day. Her friends must, but as I recall, our school did nothing to remember her. Nothing. And no one I know seems to remember. What? They say. Who?

It’s sad. It bothers me even now.

5 thoughts on “The Past Stays Present

    1. Most likely her killer was the now dead convict, but it’s a shame to have no trial and conviction. I doubt such a thing would give her mother closure…not sure anyone gets this thing called closure after something like that, but she deserves any bit of satisfaction.

      And I’ve never understood why one person is lucky and another not when neither is any more deserving than the other. There doesn’t seem to be an answer to that.

  1. It’s devastatingly sad, which is why, on the anniversary of the children who were murdered last year in Connecticut, I posted the poem I wrote at the time to keep their tragedy in heartfelt memory. Not many people read it, so I guess people want to forget and move on with their lives. Why should they suffer for others?

  2. I don’t know if people want to forget exactly. I think people sometimes can’t cope with the horror of it. There have been 26 school shootings since Sandy Hook. 26. ( we still can’t manage to do anything about this problem here. It is maddening. I’m angry that we (and by we I mean American society) are so obsessed with guns. And I’m angry that we don’t acknowledge or do enough for all children (and adults) who go missing. I don’t know. My son school has lockdown drills in addition to your classic fire drill. He knows what to do in case there is an “incident.” When I went on a tour of my son’ future middle school, I saw a room labeled “safe room.” It’s hard to think too much about. If I did I’d never let my kid leave the house.

    I’ll go look for that post of yours. There were a lot of Facebook posts that day about Sandy Hook. I tried to avoid most of them because of the overwhelming anger and sadness.

  3. Pingback: Dear Llama – Marta Pelrine-Bacon

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