Pocket Change
June 10, 2010 2:35 PM   Subscribe

"Reading 'Our tribute to a brave little boy,' you will also find 65 cents in nickels and dimes melded to the plaque." Some mismatched bricks on an unremarkable building in Park Slope and a plaque in a hospital are the clues to an astonishing story of two airplanes, a mid-air crash, and a little boy traveling alone.

And from the New York Times: "What has happened since to Sterling Place?" asked an article in The New York Times four months after the crash. "To Jimmy Moy, the Chinese laundryman who vanished shortly after the crash, leaving the lights burning and neatly packaged shirts on the shelves of his seared shop?"
posted by Astro Zombie (28 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
for reasons I’m not eloquent enough to put into words, I hope Stephen Baltz is never forgotten.

word.

..................................................................................................................................
posted by chavenet at 2:38 PM on June 10, 2010


Very touching.
posted by darkstar at 2:46 PM on June 10, 2010


Thanks. That was a good un.
posted by ZakDaddy at 2:53 PM on June 10, 2010


I’m one of those people whose concept of the afterlife is that we live on until we’re forgotten – and for reasons I’m not eloquent enough to put into words, I hope Stephen Baltz is never forgotten.

If I could pinpoint the number one reason why I love New York City, it is this. The stories, the people, the history that has happened on every single corner that for 99.9% of the time go unremarked and forgotten, they are always there. I spent a rough night in Methodist hospital with a very sick child, and seeing the plaque in that post was yet another reminder of all the things I don't know about this place, and will never even notice, but still imbue the streets with such a buzzing vitality. Take the time to actually consider the little stories like Stephen Baltz and you wouldn't even be able to walk 5 feet without being humbled and inspired. It's almost like the number of possible things you could learn about New York that would make you look the place in a different light is infinite. Thanks for this post, it was really touching.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 2:59 PM on June 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


You had to go and make me cry, didn't you?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:00 PM on June 10, 2010


I did know about this though. Via said picture, framed, in the Buff Patty on Myrtle.
posted by iamck at 3:04 PM on June 10, 2010


.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:04 PM on June 10, 2010


Man. Thanks for sharing.

.
posted by brundlefly at 3:11 PM on June 10, 2010


Don't make me cry at work. :(
posted by GuyZero at 3:12 PM on June 10, 2010


infinitefloatingbrains: "I’m one of those people whose concept of the afterlife is that we live on until we’re forgotten – and for reasons I’m not eloquent enough to put into words, I hope Stephen Baltz is never forgotten."

This evoked a story in David Eagleman's book Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives (on the Blue) for me. Metamorphosis says that there are three deaths, the third being when someone speaks your name for the last time.

Stephen Baltz will be in that waiting room a while longer, I suspect.
posted by yiftach at 3:14 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh WOW.

There seems to be something in my eyes.

.
posted by zarq at 3:14 PM on June 10, 2010


it's a lovely little story as far as it goes. why this child should never be forgotten escapes me, though. what makes his end any more tragic than the end of any other child's life?
posted by kitchenrat at 3:25 PM on June 10, 2010


It's no more tragic; just unusual, and, in it's unique character, poignant.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:30 PM on June 10, 2010


He was photographed dazed and scared under a passer-by's umbrella in the snow, a living symbol of hope to frame the horror for posterity, but he lived only a day.

Those pictures are awful. Definitely don't go looking for them if they could be a trigger for you.
posted by pecknpah at 3:30 PM on June 10, 2010


Wow. Thank you.
posted by gummi at 3:37 PM on June 10, 2010


Another good Times article here, on the memories of the nurse who was with him the night before he died.
posted by dd42 at 3:43 PM on June 10, 2010


> Definitely don't go looking for them if they could be a trigger for you.
I should listen to advice like this.
posted by dabitch at 4:09 PM on June 10, 2010


As should I.
posted by brundlefly at 4:29 PM on June 10, 2010


News reel report on the crash here.
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:29 PM on June 10, 2010


I didn't listen either.

it's a lovely little story as far as it goes. why this child should never be forgotten escapes me, though. what makes his end any more tragic than the end of any other child's life

Stories like this, of an individual, stand in for the corporate. We cry for the one, because it's impossible to cry for all, and yet when we cry for the one, we DO cry for all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:35 PM on June 10, 2010 [31 favorites]


Well that was a total bummer.

Good post.
posted by Artw at 4:39 PM on June 10, 2010


Jimmy Moy became the replacement for a Scottish man who was tired of pushing a button in a bunker on a magic island. He had many adventures after this, but in the end it was all just purgatory after all.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:23 PM on June 10, 2010


Sir Edmund Hillary had booked a seat to fly on one of the planes involved in the crash, but missed the flight after arriving too late at O'Hare airport. 19 years later he was scheduled to fly on Air New Zealand Flight 901, which crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all on board, but pulled out at the last minute due to other commitments.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:48 PM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Aww, bless his heart. It's even more sad and amazing to read the nurse's story that dd42 linked to and realize that the boy was able to speak about the accident even with all his injuries. And he wanted a TV.

I was very happy to read in that nurse's story that the parents did arrive before he died. I was wondering about that. And how it was his father who had the presence of mind to donate his son's pocket change even though he had just lost his child.

Wow, just wow. Thank you for posting this.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:41 AM on June 11, 2010


Thank you for posting, Astro. Well done. For some reason, I really needed to read this.
posted by belvidere at 2:33 AM on June 11, 2010


This is especially for St. Alia of the Bunnies:

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

G.M. Hopkins
posted by kinnakeet at 8:30 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


His mother died in 2000. His father died in 1996.
posted by anniecat at 11:33 PM on June 11, 2010


Here's an abstract of his obituary from his town's newspaper.
posted by anniecat at 11:35 PM on June 11, 2010


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