Sunday, March 12, 2006

You have found my second tribute page to Steve Lail/AKA Rainbow Kid.

I received these pictures from a very unselfish, and giving women by the name of Janet. Thank you Janet for trusting me with these precious and irreplaceable pictures. I am forever in your debt.


Stormy,

I am Janet T. Lake Taylor Class of '69, and one of Steve's "charges" that he so carefully chaperoned to Europe in the summer of 1969.
I knew him for those very short 6 weeks, as a teacher, chaperone, big brother and guardian angel. We were all scared, so young to go so far from home, yet so excited for the opportunity our parents had given us...."the trip of a lifetime". 190 high school kids from all over the United States, 5 from our own Hampton Roads. At times when I'm feeling melancholy, I pull out all the photos and my travel journal from that trip and remember, as if it were yesterday.
Steve and I met for a visit many times after we returned from our "European vacation". I have his poetry books, one which is autographed..."To Janet, my friend and fellow traveler for life, lucky me.
As a young girl you won my heart, and today as a fine woman you are still doing it. Love and kisses my sweetheart."
After Steve's accident, I visited him a few times in the hospital, but after that, I lost contact. Then I heard he went to Fishersville to a rehab center. I tried to contact him without success. Then I learned he had returned home to Hickory. I called him several times, asked permission to make the drive to visit him, but he said it wasn't a good time. After several attempts, I stopped calling. I felt perhaps it was too painful for him to see me, that I reminded him of that trip to Europe, of all he could do and all he was before the accident. There were many times after that, through the years, that I have thought of him, wondered if he was still in Hickory, wondered what became of him. Today I found out. Today as my Mom and I were taking a walk down memory lane, talking about that trip to Europe that was my graduation gift from my parents, we both asked, "wonder what ever happened to Steve?". I googled his name and found this website......and learned that he passed away 8 years ago, this month. How strange that I should learn this now....do you know the day of his death?
What a wonderful man, he should have settled down, gotten married and had children. When I fell on a gravel pathway in England, he took me to the clinic, stayed by my side the entire time the doctor removed all the pieces of rock and mangled flesh from my palm. He dried my tears as I cried for my Mom and Dad, and comforted me when the doctor said I might have some scarring that would fade with time. He made me smile when he said, "just think sweetie, it could have been on your pretty face, but it isn't, it's just the palm of your hand". And he wasn't even angry with me for sneaking out with my roommate to go play darts at a local pub, have a beer, which is probably why I slid on the gravel to begin with, to get caught and teach me a lesson. And he changed the bandages and applied the ointment, every day, til we returned home that week.
I am so very thankful that I am one of so many people who had the opportunity to know him, even as a teenager. He must have left an indelible impression, because teens usually forget teachers and chaperones and counselors after nearly 40 years. But I have never forgotten Steve, and I never will.
Thank you for posting this website, giving me an answer long needed, and helping me to remember a time and a person, tucked away in my heart, forever.
Janet

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