Letters From Readers
- 6 December 2001
- Ed Boring writes, I found the poem class ring on your web site and found your story of what is known of its origin interesting. I thought you might like to know more about where it came from. I'm, in fact, the author of the original version of the poem. [Note: Sentence was "bolded" by the Site Editor.] I don't recall the exact year I wrote it but I have proof of authorship from 1985 when at that time I included it in a handwritten book of my own poems I gave to a girlfriend at the time. I made a copy for myself and have a journal entry indicating I gave it to her for Christmas that year. I'm guessing that I actually wrote it in 1980-82. I'm still searching through what remain of my old journals to see if I have the original date. I don't recall ever officially publishing the poem anywhere, but I did include it in several collections given to friends.
The original version of the poem was not about a drunk driving victim, but about Editor's Response to a dream I had concerning the death of someone I cared about. The versions I'm finding on the web are actually probably better than the original. The original version was:
The Class Ring
Close by the doorway he pauses to stand
as he slipped the class ring from her hand.
All who were watching did not speak
as a silent tear ran down his cheek.
And in his mind memories ran
of moments together they had spent
But now his eyes had grown suddenly cold
for her hand he'll no longer hold
They watched in awe as he bent to whisper "I Love You".
Then, with his ring on his finger he kissed her good bye.
Knowing she had worn his ring for the last time
he started to cry.
Then the door flew open and the wind began to blow
as they carried her casket out into the snow.
The popular versions on the web have of course changed some of the content (for the better in terms of rhythm IMHO) and added the drunk driving message. I'm really happy to see that some of the original poem is being used to deliver such an important message and very pleased to know that some of my work is being used for some good. At the same time I'm a bit sad that there are several people claiming copy write or authorship on various versions published on the web and those claims are being made without mention that there was previously existing source material (whether they knew who the original author was or not).
Anyway, just thought you might like to know, and please keep up the work on delivering the message about drunk driving.
- October 21, 2001
- GanoNgb writes, Reading your website was hard for me I was almost killed by a drunk driver on August 26, 2000 and it's not something that I will ever forget for the rest of my life, the man that hit me ran a stop sign on a highway and broadsided the car I was in my boyfriend and friend were in the car also, there's nothing more painful than to lose someone in this type of a tradegy but I know from my family and friends that it's hard to watch someone go through this as well. Surviving this accident was the toughest and most draining thing that I think I could go through and I'm only nineteen, my deepest sympathies to you.
- June 19, 2001
- RobertsFather writes, I also lost a son to drunk driving. My deepest condolences to you on the loss of your son, Mark. I am one of those who can say I truly know the pain you deal with daily. I buried my 20 year old son last September. Unlike Mark's tragedy, my son lost his life because of HIS decision to drink and drive. Thank God he didn't take an innocent life with him.
I am a firm believer that education is the key to reducing the huge number of lives lost each year because of impaired driving. The attitude our young people have of being invincible must be challenged, and I do this when I speak at alcohol awareness classes, schools, church youth groups and
A few months after my son's death I created a website that tells the circumstances of his fatal decisions, in hope that by putting a face behind a statistic, others might learn from his senseless and entirely preventable death. Based on the email I have received from young people, some of them seem to get the message after reading my son's story.
I hope you will consider adding a link on your site to my son's web page. Although the circumstances of our losses are somewhat different, the results were the same; two young lives were cut short because of someone's decision to drink and drive. Our mission of public education on the consequences of drinking and driving are obviously the same.
My son's URL address is: http://hometown.aol.com/robertsfather
I am in the process of having my son's website expanded to include many educational links, as well as memorial sites that show the many faces behind those who did not survive an alcohol related crash.
Again, I offer you my deepest sympathy on the loss of Mark. God bless.
NOTE: The address of the "robertsfather" web site has changed to http://www.arrivealive.com/
- June 1, 2001
- barry writes, I happened across your lovely site this morning that also happened to bring a tear to my eye as I read the words so carefully written and was taken back to the night that a class mate of mine lost his life in a Drunk Driving crash...
I love seeing a site such as yours that has been put together so well.
- May 30, 2001
- Aqua690 writes, I have read this poem before, but was looking for it to print it out tonight. Out of all the times I have read this poem to myself and to others there has not been once that I have not cried, and cried hard! I think that every person should read Death of an Innocent and imagine themselves in the car and this poem running through there head. Thank you for posting and/or writing these poems for people to read. Keep doing the good work!!
- May 17, 2001
- Kittie24k writes, i love it im totally against drunk driving my little cousin was 9 years old when he was hit by by a drunk driver and he died also his best friend the guy that killed them only got 5 years in prison thats murder hopefully in the future we can do something about this
- May 17, 2001
- celynna writes, GREAT POEM TESSA SHARP!!!!!!!!!!!!
- May 16, 2001
- Hipnhappenin21 writes, I was looking through your site, as I was writing a speach on drink driving at school, and found all of the poems very sad. When I was ten years old, I was in a car accident and the other car which crashed into us, the driver - who dies at the scene - was three times over the alcohol limit. The accident left me paralysed from the chest down and although, unlike many of the victims in your poems, I do have a normal life,
it has taken many of my hopes away and my life has been much harder than I ever anticipated. I will send you one of my poems so the organiser of your website could read it. Thank you for listening, Ella Provan
Note: Ellas poem, Drink Driving is No Fun is now on this site.
- April 27, 2001
- maya_68 writes, Thank you for your permission on the poem. I have to tell you that everyone was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. As I concluded my presentation with the poem, I almost started to cry. Several people told me they got goose bumps and chills. I believe they realized what kind of consequences could occur when driving under the influence. Thank You again! Have a nice day.
- April 16, 2001
- dasrari writes, I just found your web site. My son, Danny,18, died on I-5 March 15, 2000. The driver, 19, did have a BAC of .09%. He admitted to arresting officers that he had a drinking problem and often drove drunk, but yet had never been caught. I argued and argued with the prosecuter who felt he could not ask for the higher end of the sentencing guidelines because this was a first offense. I can only imagine your frustration. I whole-hearteledly agree with the .00 BAC, because everyone is affected differently by alcohol. An elderly woman probably is severely impaired by a small amount of alcohol. By the way, I live in Wa. too, in Tacoma. Im a member of the new M.A.D.D. group that just got started in Tacoma. My deepest sympathy on the loss of your son, theres nothing worse is there?
- April 10, 2001
- mfb00 writes, My name is Kim I kinda understand what you went though. One of my best friends was killed by a drunk driver. Also the drunk guy killed a guy in another car. He served 3 months. He still drinks and drives. My friend was only 17. I really like your poem and i hope u find the guy and put him back in jail. Sincerly, someone who understands.
- February 26, 2001
- Jessica Wettig writes, Hi. My name is Jess. Im 13 and ... Id like to say, I love your site. The poems really get to you, and make you wanna cry. Im against drunk driving so much. I understand the consequences. And these poems have inspired me so much in my writing. Im a writer. And I have a poem about drunk driving, myself. I was wondering if maybe I could send it and you could put it on the site. Id greatly apreciate it. Im wanting to get some of my work posted.
Note: Jessicas poem, Okay is now on this site.