Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm so glad you didn't knock! Part II

In 1972, I entered the graduate program in cultural anthropology at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. By this time my parents had divorced, my mother was living in Spain, and my relationship with my father, who was still in Indiana, was beginning to wear thin. But my friends in Laguna opened their door to me, so that's where I went for any long weekend away from school. The drive was "only" 450 miles, but in those days the speed limit was 75, and I had all the wakefulness and stamina needed to do it within eight hours or less and to turn around to do it again back to Tempe a few days later.
All the kids were growing up. Mike was almost a man; his younger brother Wally was doing well in high school, and the four girls were blooming. 
I was fortunate to be able to spend lots of time with them, their wonderful mother, who by this time was the energetically devoted director of the Laguna library, and Grandma. I got to know the area well, and had many opportunities, for example, to take Grandma and one of the girls to see Grandma's friend, another grandma, in Hopi. While in Hopi we were blessed to witness the famous sacred Snake Dance, something most outsiders never have the good luck to observe.
Then one day I got the call from Elizabeth. Wally, distraught by a love interest's rejection, tried to take his own life. He managed to shoot out the roof of his mouth and one eye, but survived. Good surgeons restored his face, his speech, and, with an artificial eye and lots of good therapy, his mental and physical health. Soon, the affectionate and playful young Wally happily went off to attend college at New Mexico State, but in 1973, in a snowstorm, his car was struck by a jack-knifed semi-truck, and Wally was killed.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, more tragedy. I'm so sorry to hear about Wally. But it's wonderful how your lives have been intertwined throughout the years.