I took this Halloween photo on our deck, around 6:15 p.m. For about 10 minutes, there were these shocking pink clouds, and then–in less than minute–they were gone.
I am always introspective on Halloween. Since we moved here, we haven’t had trick-or-treaters (might have something to do with the 750-ft uphill driveway and not being able to see the house from the road). But the night is always filled with a kind of sorrow for me; I resonate more with All Souls/All Saints–the thin time of year–than costumes and candy.
In 1972, 49 years ago today, I was living in Mio, Michigan. I was newly married (may he RIP), and had a job at the drugstore in town. I worked with a teenaged boy, Jerry, who came in after school to sweep and clean up before we closed at 5:00 p.m. It was a boring job, but I liked Jerry, who was learning to play saxophone in Mio’s new band program.
I heard, from neighbors and teachers in town, that Mio kids went on a rampage every Halloween. The owner of the drugstore boarded up his windows, as did many other businesses. I was a little skeptical of the stories I heard, which seemed to be many levels above soaping windows and rotten egg-tossing. More like smashing windows and spray-painting buildings and slashing tires.
I made myself some coffee (a new pleasure for me) and waited with candy but nobody came. I could hear kids screaming in the streets. And then, around 9:00, sirens.
We didn’t hear the story until the next morning. A group of kids (five or six of them) stole a car. None of them had a drivers license. A 15-yr old boy drove the car a few miles out of town and hit a tree, while going at a ridiculous speed. All but one of his passengers (a younger sister) were killed in the crash.
I have looked for the story since, in newspaper archives, but could never find it, to clarify my old memory. I believe four kids (the oldest 15) were killed and the youngest girl survived.
One of the kids who was killed was Jerry.
I have had many happy, joyous Halloweens since 1972, especially when my children were young and we lived in a family-friendly neighborhood.
Tonight, seeing the beautiful sky, I was reminded that if Jerry were still alive, he’d be old enough to retire.
Stay safe out there, everyone. It’s a beautiful world. Stick around as long as you can.