Sunday, February 26, 2006

Charles Walker Heywood

For the first 5 or 10 years after Walker died, I’d have these dreams where we’d be discussing what was wrong. We couldn’t figure out the problem but it hovered there in the dream, and we knew it was bad. Then, when I woke up, I’d have that one weird moment when you’re awake but you aren’t up to speed on events. Then it would hit again: What was wrong was that Walker was dead. He had been killed in a terrorist strike on a Pan Am jet while it was on the ground at the airport in Rome, Italy on December 17th, 1973.
All these years later, the dreams have evolved to the kind last night where Walker returns. Last night he appeared in a cab – not as young as when he died at 19 – but around 30 in appearance. I walked up to him and said, “You’re Charles Walker Heywood. I haven’t seen you in over 25 years.”
The best part of the dream was the absence of pain. He was amused, and so was I, just the way we used to kid around back when we were best friends growing up in Arabia. He even jokingly disputed the facts of his own demise. When I’d say how it had happened, with a phosphorous bomb thrown in the middle of a jet full of people, he laughed it off, saying no, that was not how it had happened at all. We didn’t have the right date, we didn’t have any of the facts correct. We were mistaken, otherwise how could he be here now? I didn’t dispute any of this but I sort of knew he was kidding. We went out to the car and started carrying in all sorts of amplifiers, for Walker and I had been in bands together since 6th grade, almost continuously till he was a college student at Stanford.
I even glanced briefly at these strange amps, knowing they had to be vintage, but not recognizing any of them.
The mood was one of relief. We were actually quite irreverent and lighthearted as before the attack. Walker had returned, he was older now but still much younger than me, and the best part was that he was alive.


12 Comments:

At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Doris said...

This was difficult to read, but I am glad you wrote it.

 
At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I was amazed to read this as for the last 16 years, since the day I named my son Walker in tribute to Stanford friend Walker Heywood, I have been trying to find his parents to let them know that I had done this in Walker's honor. Do you have any information on how to reach them if they are still alive? I just randomly entered Charles Walker Heywood into a Google Search and up came your blog. Amazing.

Rocky

 
At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping my brother's memory alive. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him and tell him I love him. God bless you.

Patricia Ann Heywood Tyler

 
At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Chip said...

I've been reading through some of my old journals from my days at Stanford in 1973 and 1974, and came across my entry about Walker's death. I couldn't remember the exact date (my entry was from Christmas Day, 1973) so I Googled Walker Heywood and came across your beautiful and moving posts here.

Walker's death hit me really hard. I worked at the Coffee House on campus where Walker was a regular, hanging out, making great, witty conversation, and playing chess. He and I were learning to play bridge together. I didn't know him well, but well enough to know he was one of the warmest, sweetest people I've ever known. I got to know him better just now, reading your posts, and like his sister said, thank you for keeping his memory alive!

 
At 1:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walker was the love of my life even now.. almost 40 years later. He was a great drummer , scholar and lover. i adored him and still wonder what life would have been with him in the World of today. We called the him the Pres ...because. We all knew he would Turn out to be great. We would talk. On the beach. In. Arabia late. Into. The nite about the future. But. Then. His life was cut short. Un. Forgivable to me that the side he defended would shoot him down when so many loved him so. much.. Look into that face. ..if you knew him....

 
At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you , Bill ....Anita

 
At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Scott Page said...

I knew Walker in prep school- great guy! I saw him months before his death when he was most full of life. I was quite sad the morning I saw his name (reversed) in the SF Chronicle among the passenger list. I phoned the airlines and actually spoke with someone who said he would have lived had he not left his seat to take photos of the hijacking taking place in the first class section. His curiosity killed him. I was astounded to find this blog in a google search. I'd love to know his thoughts on the 9/11 event. I'd bet he'd smell a rat.

 
At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Scott Page said...

I knew Walker in prep school- great guy! I saw him months before his death when he was most full of life. I was quite sad the morning I saw his name (reversed) in the SF Chronicle among the passenger list. I phoned the airlines and actually spoke with someone who said he would have lived had he not left his seat to take photos of the hijacking taking place in the first class section. His curiosity killed him. I was astounded to find this blog in a google search. I'd love to know his thoughts on the 9/11 event. I'd bet he'd smell a rat.

 
At 7:16 AM, Blogger D. Bodell said...

On this anniversary of 9/11 I am remembering others who lost their lives to terrorism long before al Qaeda came along. Walker was one of my brother's best friends and very close to our family. My mother still has his army jacket hanging in the garage. The picture you posted is wonderful and really brought me back. I was 16 when he was murdered but it still feels raw.

 
At 7:43 PM, Blogger David Schwartz said...

Walker was a brother to me.
Scott Page, if you read this, contact me dschwa8059@yahoo.com
David Schwartz

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger brain injured said...

Well, you're not going to believe this but I am writing a book about the Pan Am attack. I put Walker's name into Google and up he came. I was the last person to see him alive. I watched him dart up the aisle with his camera. Yes, I am one of the survivors of the Pan Am flight that he was on. I am now 62 years old and have waited all these years to write this book. The night before the terrorist attack, Walker and a few other girls and I went out dancing and drinking together. He was wearing his "stock" jacket with the elbow patches and we danced til the Piper Club closed down. The taxis were not running that night and he walked back to the hotel. When we got on the plane the next day, he was sitting in the row in front of me and to the left. I asked him if he wanted to move forward with me where there was more room--only 52 people on the plane. He declined but when the shooting started he ran to first class. I have written one book called Headache: How to Survive a Head Injury and the Headache Caused by Insurance Companies, Doctors and Lawyers by BJ Geisler. It is currently available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback. The book where I talk about Walker is called "It's Time to Go Now" about my near-death experience on the plane. No wonder I hadn't published it before. I just needed to read some of these posts first! Thank you.

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Glenn Ball said...


Are you the Bill who, along with the very blond and pale Jim, stopped by to see me at Marco Island FL in March 1972, while on the way to see a friend in Tampa?

I lived in a dorm at Andover with Walker for two years, and spent a January with him in Gloucester MA renovating the old Fisherman’s Institute. The last time I saw him was at Meddybemps ME in August 1972, when he, Joanie Lichtman and Lila Wills were on a trip up to Nova Scotia.

The above book was mentioned in the winter 2013 alumni magazine, which led me to your blog. Thanks for posting these wonderful photos.

Walker was, simply, just a great guy – smart, funny, interesting, caring and totally unpretentious. A great loss for all of us who knew him.

Glenn Ball


 

Post a Comment

<< Home