I know I said, at first, I wasn’t going to write about the terrible events that I covered as the crime reporter, but sometimes there are stories about real people that need to be told.
Back in the ’80s, someone killed a couple of crack-head hookers. Those women took a special place in my heart. When the body of the first one was found, frozen in a plot of woods in Auburn, N.H., naked, the night crew at the paper handled the original, breaking story. She had tattoos which, because the newspaper published them, identified her.
I was working days, and got her identity: Rose Miller. I tracked down her brother, who talked with me on the phone about her hard life.
When she was about 12 years old and living in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, someone came to their front yard and shot and killed their father. Rose saw this happen and never really recovered from the trauma.
And, according to the brother, the shooter was not convicted of killing their father. I wasn’t able to track information that far back, but I had little reason to doubt what the brother was saying.
Just after I got off the phone with the brother, my colleague who had worked the nightside of the original story walked into the newsroom.
“Hey, just another dead hooker,” he said.
I grabbed his shirt at the throat and said:
“No one goes to eighth grade career night and says, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a crack-head and a hooker.’ ”
We don’t have any idea where circumstances will lead us.
So, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for those who became, for whatever reason, the short-shrifted, marginal folks in society. It has not always been your fault. There are those of us who back you.