Dozens brave cold and walk Anson to school one last time
LOCK HAVEN –It was cold, dark and gloomy … eerily quiet … perhaps reminiscent of the final hours and days that a little boy from the lower end of town suffered a horrible death two weeks ago.
Those attending the memorial walk Tuesday night carried 9-year-old Anson Stover in their hearts taking him on his final walk to nearby Robb Elementary School where he was in the fourth grade and then returning to the East Bald Eagle Street residence where he died.
More than 200 people, many of them children who Anson played with at the local playground or walked to school with, braved the cold windy conditions to honor their friend and pay tribute to this child, whose death has left a community trying to understand how such a tragic event could have happened to such a sweet boy.
Many of the youngsters brought hand-made signs, some with pictures of Anson on them and others with messages of love and friendship to Anson written from a child’s perspective in their own primitive handwriting.
They carried the signs with them on the walk and then placed them on the ground, making a memorial surrounded by lighted luminaries and including balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, cards, special messages and other small items that brought back memories of Anson.
One was a luminary with the word “JOKES” printed on it. It was explained that Anson liked to write jokes on little pieces of paper and pass them to his classmates. Others were decorated with hearts and other works of art symbolic of Anson’s life. “It’s awesome … just awesome,” one mother said of the turnout.
“The kids wanted to be here. They wanted to do something for Anson. We all did. This kind of thing shouldn’t happen to a little boy,” she continued, tears in her eyes as she talked about the child’s death.
That was the comment from many among the group as they shook their heads in disbelief and wondered aloud why anyone would harm this little boy.
Parents held their children a little closer on this night, kissing them and hugging them as they thought of the little boy who was not with them.
As the clock neared 6 p.m., the crowd gathered nearer Anson’s home as Robb Elementary Guidance Counselor Robin Lavrich took the microphone.
“This turnout is absolutely wonderful … for our friend Anson … one of my students. A tragedy has brought us here in honor of Anson,” she said.
“He was a friend to everybody. He was polite and kind and a good student. He had the best character. He loved to draw … even when he shouldn’t have been drawing,” she said with a smile.
“Anson had the best handwriting and I was jealous,” she said, remembering a Thank You note Anson put on her desk one day after she helped him with something. “He was a terrific young man who loved to read. ‘Goosebumps’ were his favorites.
“A tragedy like this causes a lot of trauma as we seek to understand and want to do something. Tonight that’s what we’re doing … we’re doing something on this walk tonight. We are here to honor Anson’s memory and I hope all of you will have a little more peace and feel a little better because you’ve done something,” Lavrich said.
Her final words came from her heart and her strong faith, saying she knows Anson is in heaven and is no longer suffering or in pain.
“I tell you this, Anson is in a grand place… a fabulous place. He’s with his mom,” she said.