THE LAST TIME I saw Joe was the day before my family moved to Florida. It was March 1979. I was eight. Joe was ten. In the small Wisconsin town we lived in and were leaving, the snow was still three feet deep or more. The whole world was white, dead looking when the sky was gray, sparkling and blindingly bright when the sky was clear blue.
I wanted it to be gray that day. We were leaving, after all. But everywhere I looked the white lawns and icy trees sparkled like cutlery. It was beautiful, and as quiet as held breath, waiting for an old story to end and a new one to begin.
Everyone was busy inside the house with final preparations. I was the youngest and had nothing to do but get ready to jump in the van with my sisters,