Baby Walter — that’s what everyone called him since his dad was also named Walter and no one much liked the sound of “junior” — spent most of his single-digit years tethered to one heavy object or another.
His older sister Tina was one of my closest friends. We grew up in the 1970s and 1980s at different ends of the same rural road in Ohio, an unlined swath of blacktop connecting old farmhouses to the fields of green soybeans and sweet corn planted in between.
Baby Walter and Tina lived in the last house on the right before our road crossed over Interstate 71, the busy freeway connecting Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati.
And Tina’s mom — not overly protective of Tina or her older brother — worried constantly that Baby Walter would run down the slope of their side yard and onto I-71 where he would almost certainly…
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