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Posted by on 2012/05/05 under Uncategorized

Tonight’s prom. Tonight is also the 13th anniversary of my uncle’s shooting. I didn’t get to go to prom, so mostly I just sat at home and thought about uncle Kelvin. Not a lot of people know his story. So I’m going to share it. I know this isn’t likely to be read, but that’s all the better. I don’t know if Dad would like me talking about this online.

Uncle Kelvin was autistic. He lived with two roommates and was on his second trip through collage, since the first one refused to graduate him. Something about wanting to keep up an image that Kelvin didn’t fit into. In the time and area he grew up, autism wasn’t a real diagnosis yet. He was always just the weird kid. So getting into the second collage was a big deal, because this time, they had a word for what he was. He’d been diagnosed autistic, not just strange, and the collage would happily accept and graduate him into whatever field he chose. Life was really looking up.

One day, he and his two roommates went up to a group of hot springs in northern Idaho. There’s a road running right by them now, but back then it was pretty well covered with forest. Once they got there, his roommates pulled a gun on him and demanded his information. Social security number, bank info, etc. My dad tells me that later in court, they confessed that the first gun had jammed and they had had to go back to the car to get a second one. They held Kelvin there, in that hot spring, knowing one of them was coming back with another gun. They shot him in the back of the head and left his body there to be found by police. They’d had to interrupt my grandmother’s birthday dinner to tell her the news.

Kelvin gave them the wrong information; they gained nothing from the murder.

They were finally sentenced to life in prison after being arrested for smaller things, a theft and a drug deal. Their fingerprints matched the ones found around the scene of the murder, and they both pleaded guilty. Neither one would confess to actually pulling the trigger.

So tonight, while my friends are at prom, I’m at home thinking about the only time my mother ever saw Dad cry. My uncle is dead. The little boy who snuck a machete into boy scout camp and rode his bike all the way to Nevada before finally calling for a ride home. The one who made my Catholic mother laugh out loud at her birthday party when he got her a Mary statue because “I know how much you people like her.” The boy, the man, my dad grew up with. The “strange” kid.

Never take people for granted. Never turn your nose up to someone who’s “weird.” And always remember that even the most perfect-looking family has some sort of tragedy behind it. Be kind. And enjoy prom.

One thought on “05-05-12(6:37:08)

  1. Sensitive Soul says:

    Hi, Thank you very much for sharing this story. I would always think about it. We should always respect other people, consider other people’s feelings. never hurt anyone ‘cos they are different.

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