December 11 1955 – August 21, 1991
Cousin Eddie is what I called him. He was two years older than I and he was my father’s cousin. When we were kids, we were best friends, or at least I thought so.
When Edward was eight or nine, he wanted to be a Rocket Scientist when he grew up. I remember one Christmas Eve he tried teaching me about the physics of rockets with a rocket model he had just assembled. When we were kids, he introduced me to all kinds of boy topics, like setting ants on fire with a magnifying glass outside of Grandma Keck’s house, or the life cycle of tadpoles in the creek that was across the road from Grandma Kradel’s. His favorite card game was War, which we could play for hours while sitting at the dining table at Grandma Kradel’s house.
Edward’s hair was often a topic of conversation between us. He didn’t have hair like the rest of the family. His hair was kinky curly. I liked it. I always wondered where it came from.
As we got older, he got shy, or at least he seemed to become that. He took up music and played trumpet – at church, at school, in marching band, in the Vagabonds. We had a study hall at the same time in high school, but when I would sit with him, he’d tell me to go off and be with my friends.
The last time I saw Edward was in a bar one night in June of 1986. I made a stopover in Butler to visit the family on the way to my first trip to Europe. I went up to the bar to order a drink and there he was, standing right next to me. He looked great. And he didn’t shoo me away.