Today is Curt’s 57th birthday. It was 16 years ago, just 6 days before his 41st birthday that he was taken from us in a callous, senseless act of violence. Through the years we’ve pleaded on this website and in the media for help to bring his remains home. All to no avail, as the people in Seabrook who know what happened let the man who did it walk free.
Our request still stands, but on this year’s anniversary and birthday I’ve been thinking about Curt rather than the injustice that remains. In the years before his death, when the MS made everything he loved difficult or impossible, he wasn’t always easy to be around.
But today I want to tell a story that shows who my brother really was: a generous and kind human being.
Through college, whenever I needed some money, I would ask him for help. Often, we’d make a deal where I helped him clean his apartment in exchange for the cash. Sometimes though, he would give me the money I needed, with no strings attached, just a “Pay me back when you can”. He covered me when I needed it, and when I was too scared to ask my parents (again).
In my junior year he gave me the best gift ever. He had leased a new sports car (I don’t remember the model), but had kept his GMC Jimmy too. He let me drive the Jimmy for much of the year at school, again with no strings attached other than I take care of it while I had it. In more ways than one, his car was a life saver – or at least a sanity saver.
That year I was renting an apartment with three other girls. Two of them were friends, but we needed a fourth so we found someone else we didn’t know. My two friends stuck me with the stranger while they shared a room together. I wasn’t happy about that. As it turned out though, the new girl was nice, but very different than me.
But anytime you get that many girls in a small space you’re going to have conflict. I’ll spare you the details, but you get the idea I’m sure. In order to escape the mayhem, I would get in the Jimmy and drive, for hours and hours. I’d drive up and down route one along the beaches. I’d head up north on route 16. I’d go at all hours of the day, whenever I couldn’t take it anymore.
It was the freedom that car gave me that saved my sanity that year – and at least one friendship. And it wouldn’t have happened if Curt hadn’t been willing to lend me his Jimmy. While he sometimes had a rough exterior, he had a generous heart underneath. I miss him.
Happy birthday Curt.