|Current Residence: Michigan, USA|
[Ink, No.2 pencil, and permanent marker--I really messed up the fingers/hand holding the dog's head!]
Meet Molly Rae Hakkarinen. Molly was one of my childhood classmates, but she's been dead for almost a quarter of a century now. About half-past-midnight, early on Friday, August 19th, 1994, she was out walking with another young woman when the pair decided to try crossing US Highway 41. Molly never made it to the other side. Donald Ranta, a 59-year-old man, hit her with his car, near the National Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, claiming that he didn't see her because she was wearing dark clothing. Molly was badly injured by the impact, in critical condition, and, despite everyone's best efforts to save her life, she died two days later at the hospital on August 21st. Molly had only been fifteen for a little over a month. Today is also her birthday; she would have been thirty-nine this year.
If you have children, never feel foolish for warning them to watch out for traffic, no matter how old they get--tragedy is never more than a single step away.
After all this time, I'm not sure why I still care so much, but I do. Beyond seeing each other in the hallways, at recess, etc., Molly and I barely knew each other. I didn't have the hots for her or anything like that. The one time I can even remember her speaking to me, she was quite cruel. And yet, I couldn't even type this up without tears and snot running down my face. All I really know about Molly's interests in life are that she was a member of the local Ishpeming branch of the Salvation Army, loved Dalmation dogs (although she never had one) and enjoyed the music of the bands Poison, Slaughter, and Skid Row.
I've never forgotten Molly, I'm sure that she's never far from her surviving family's thoughts, and I hope that our other classmates think of her from time-to-time as well.