I think the last time I sat down and had a conversation with Marcia Marinek was when Christina Gosselin suspended a student in relation to a bullying incident at the high school. The Herald team always made space for youth in the Leadville community, which is a journalistic element that unfortunately seems to lack in the bigger cities.

My mom gave me an article Marcia wrote in the Herald recently about the “old days” in Leadville. At the end of the article, Marcia revisited the night Nick Palmer was brought back home from Iraq.

I remember this night as well. My mom thought it was important my sister and I were there, and as a kid I was just excited to go out downtown with my mom “late.” I was 10 at the time and felt a lot of confusion that night. I saw Noreen crying and I think I remember her saying she didn’t know Nick well but was sad regardless, which made me cry. A woman on the street was screaming and throwing her body and arms around, and I was trying to make sense of why, not understanding anything about the war itself, what it meant to lose someone in it, or really to lose someone altogether.

That was my first experience seeing grief. I reflect on that memory feeling very somber, recalling that downtown seemed darker than usual and very quiet for the amount of people there (with the exception of the woman in despair, which echoed down Harrison Avenue).

Later that same month, on the 23rd of December, our family dog died. That was my first big loss myself. What a heavy December carried in community that year. I think that December shaped a lot of my understanding of loss as an adult, and it feels important that it was experienced in a small town and carried in community.

I live in Denver now but hold such a special place in my heart for Leadville. I try to complement every Melanzana I see on the street and still haven’t found any hikes that even closely compare to the beauty surrounding Leadville.

Anyway, I wanted to reach out and thank Marcia for her article. It’s nice to know that these moments are shared and appreciated by someone who remembers the one liquor store, when Alco felt like the newest thing, and for heaven’s sake when Leadville didn’t have a Taco Bell.

Kess Hirsheimer


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