Even her name sounds like a whisper – Emilie
Her father says she loved to draw; that she carried markers and pencils and would surprise-gift you with her sketches
She looks like a child model, the kind you find on stock footage of the life you’re supposed to try to attain
The one with the white picket fence, the Golden Retriever, the younger brother, and the mother and father (who had not yet divorced)
Her face was the first and the one that will linger – but seeing:
- Noah Ponzer, 6 – sturdy, handsome – even for his age, with a bush of dark hair, thick eyebrows, and head cocked to the side, just so. His corduroy jacket with the wide shearling collar… would he be at home in a barn, a cowboy? Or throwing long passes, the football quarterback? Or commanding orders, a construction foreman? Already, a little man.
- Grace McDonnell, 7 – proud of her pink hair bow, perfectly placed above her temple. Her round face, her smile – with lips unparted. The look of trust, of vulnerability… softly pierce through her blue eyes.
- Catherine Hubbard, 6 – her fiery red bangs touching her eyebrows, her innocent grin. Freckles on the apples of her cheeks, the color of the trees in autumn behind her. I imagine her in her ancestral land of Leicestershire, England, where her surname tells us what we already knew: Hug-bright.
- Jessica Rekos, 6 – looking, her eyes tinged with longing, the way a puppy’s might be. I imagine her playing with American girl dolls, with her friends… and later, with dark blue and gold pom-poms, cheering on Newtown’s teams.
- Charlotte Bacon, 6 – with the white snow and skinny bare trees behind her, a missing front tooth – a free spirit. This bundled-up artist in the making, with polka dot hat and curly hair, breathing in the open air. Would she have chosen water-colored brush strokes? Ink or tablet to write her words? Silk fabric for long dresses? Hydrangeas in garden landscapes?
- Olivia Engel, 6 – so tiny. Might she be a diminutive ballet dancer? She looks younger than the others – truly, just a little girl. Even the shirt draping her little shoulders bears ruffles; a velvet headband, in her hair. Nervous to take the stage and remember her steps, but excited and ready. So pleased, when post-performance, her parents scoop her up and say how proud they are; how well she’d done.
- James Mattioli, 6 – could he be the class clown – crouching behind a pumpkin, his dark brown
eyes, looking like he just might be about to get into something. I wonder if he could be, as discovered by Pietro Andrea Mattioli in Siena 500 years ago, allergic to cats, and whether instead, there may be a chocolate lab at the Mattioli home.
- Josephine Gay, 7 – gap-toothed with glasses, a spunky little leprechaun in her green St. Patrick’s day plastic hat. Her pink shirt, ensconced with a pink embroidered heart over her breastbone. Her curiosity brimming beneath her smile. She looks as though she, one day might be a teacher or librarian at Sandy Hook.
- Caroline Previdi, 6 – such long eyelashes, her chin-length hair – her smile so wide you can see inside, they’re still baby teeth – that they’re still growing. Her light blue plastic barrette, pulling back the soft hair her mother smoothed each morning. Might she have had three children of her own.
- Dylan Hockley, 6 – Eager, composed… would he be the next class president? – He leans forward, his clear blue eyes, his bright red shirt shining, “Here I am.”
And the women – Principal Dawn Hochsprung, Psychologist Mary Sherlach, Teacher Lauren Rosseau, Special Ed Teacher Anne Marie Murphy, Teacher Victoria Soto, …. and finally, we remember Rachel Davino and the mother of it all – Nancy Lanza
Without pictures, we remember:
Daniel Barden, 7
Ana Marquez-Green, 6
Madeline Hsu , 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
and Allison Wyatt, also 6
Today we speak these names of those who were lost – the innocents who were taken, and the maternal instincts that kicked in to protect them.
I wish for these children, for these women, to be rooted together in a new tree.
Their lives, not chopped down by a man whose name I will not speak.
No, we shall remember these faces instead.
We shall always speak their names.
The above was courtesy of local poet, Francesca Marguerite Maxime.