The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 05, 1996, Page 5, Image 5

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    In memorium
Easter a reminder of tragic anniversary
One year ago today, my friend
died in a drunken driving accident.
The truck he was in whipped around
a winding road and flipped. Keith’s
neck was snapped and he wa&
thrown from the truck. He died
Yes, it was a glorious evening
for me, I had just returned to UNL
after a semester internship in New
York City.
I slammed the suds all night, and
had to stay at a friend’s house.
Around 11:00 a.m. Saturday
morning, I returned to my temporary
fraternity room.
Feeling like hell, I sat down and
rubbed my face, then pushed play on
the answering machine:
“Bobby, I have some bad news
from home, it turns out that Keith
Lundstrom was killed last night in a
car accident, please call us soon.”
1 stood up, rewinding the tape,
making sure my mother had just said
was what I thought she had.
I reached for the phone, only to
listen to my mother tell me again
and then start crying. I was on the
next plane out of Omaha — Chicago
was a short one hour away.
Keith was a backup quarterback
and second-string safety for the
Illinois State football team. He was
always laughing: he made me feel
like a million-dollar comic.
He was the kind of guy everyone
knew and everyone liked. If I ever
heard one bad thing about him, it
was probably out of jealousy..
Finding a flaw in my friend Keith
was hard.
The night 1 arrived home, I drove
to the accident scene with a few
friends. We walked around the site,
picking up car pieces and wondering
how and why this was all happening.
Many of us came together that
night, we sat around, talking and
crying. Except for me, I tried to
make everyone laugh, I couldn’t cry,
and I hated it.
Sunday morning, I woke up, put
my suit on and drove to the wake.
Bob Ray
“Many of us came
together that night, we
sat around, talking and
crying. Except for me, I
tried to make everyone
laugh, I couldn't cry,
arid I hated it."
More than a thousand people came
to say good-bye. It had to make his
family proud.
Keith’s father had coached us in
sports for many years, and Keith
was his idol. I walked in and hugged
Mr. Lundstrom, he cried and cried.
He told me Keith had just called
him one week earlier to tell them to
watch for me on the David
Lettemian Show, where I was
interning. Keith’s father told me
how proud Keith was of me.
I had no idea what to say, I just
hugged him hard and told him I was
sorry, over and over. The line of
people to walk up to the casket
stretched out the door and onto the
I stood patiently, my hands
folded and my heart broken, yet I
still could not cry. Everyone around
me was crying loudly. I felt rude and
upset at myself.
Finajly, It was my turn to say
good-bye. I walked up to the casket
my friend lay in, he was grinning.
People were talking about his silly
grin, it was so like him. I kneeled
and bowed my head. 1 told him that
I would never forget him and that he
was the most popular guy I would
ever know.
That night, Easter Sunday,
Keith’s closest friends gathered at
my parents’ home. We sat around
laughing and talking, it was like
everyone forgot that our friend had
been killed.
As the night went on, people
began to leave. Eventually, there
were only a few of us left. It was
then that I broke down, in front of
three great friends and my mother.
I was crying like I did when I was
a kid. My throat hurt, my mouth was
dry, I couldn’t breathe.
The next day was the funeral.
The procession of cars was like
something from a movie — it was
glorious. Everyone Keith knew was
driving behind him as he lay with
that grin on his face.
It was cloudy and rainy all
morning. As we all stood at the
cemetery and touched the casket to
say farewell, the sun came out and
the clouds cleared. Everyone had to
laugh — it was Keith, it had to be.
Keith Lundstrom was 21 years
old. He was kind and wonderful.
But most importantly, he was a
friend, a son, a brother and someone
to look up to.
Like many, many people, I loved
Keith Lundstrom, and there’s not a
day goes by that I don’t think of
Keith will never be forgotten, not
by me, not by his relatives, and not
by all that knew him.
I’ll tell you what the tragedy is —
Keith was young and full of life; his
dreams were alive, and the world
would have been a better place with
him in it. We human beings are so
damn self-destructive, sometimes
we forget how good it is to be alive.
Ray is a senior broadcasting major and
Daily Nebraskan columnist.
Adoption show sparks unsurfaced feelings
It was one of those priceless days
last week when you had to run the
heater AND open the windows.
Outside, sunlight fell on the lawn,
the color of iced tea. Dirty snow lay
all over the place.
I was home, flipping between
charismatic fundamentalism and
daytime drama on TV, my mind
drifting, something about
televangelist chutzpah—how it’s
all been turned into talk shows.
So off I go, to surf the talk
And lying there on the couch,
sort of taking mental notes—all
cynical and knowing—I realize
suddenly that this one particular talk
show, this infotainment with a
gospel minister in drag as the host,
is about me; it’s a show about my
life, and it’s going to make me cry.
I don’t like to cry over trash TV.
It was a show about adult
children of adoption seeking their
biological half brothers and sisters.
Worse, Oprah was reuniting half
and even full siblings — a brother
and two sisters, three brothers—
about every 30 seconds.
I was mesmerized.
Now, I already have a mother
and a father. They live in Texas, in
the ancestral condo; I picture them
in their pajamas, reading this.
But I don’t even know what to
call the two strangers who produced
me, like a rabbit out of a hat, just
over 30 years ago.
Did I mention yet I was adopted?
Am adopted. I never have known
which way to say it. But I was never
alone; in my family, the adopted
children outnumbered the “natural”
ones (a term I love for its 19th
century charm) at something like 1.5
to 1.
I’m not related to anyone in my
family; we share no genes. But
somewhere in the world, if she lives
Mark Baldridge
“...I don’t even blow
ivhat to call the two
strangers who produced
me, like a rabbit out of a
hat, just over 30 years
ago. There is no good
word for my relation to
them. ”
yet, I have a sister, a half sister, my
“other” mother’s first child. I have
never met this person, yet I have no
trouble thinking of her as a sister.
Meanwhile, Oprah is pulling
them out of her ass, a whole string
of children with one mother and a
dozen different fathers, each child
uglier than the last, ending with
some sort of pinhead. I felt as if I’d
burst into tears at a freak show.
Of course, I wasn’t the only one.
Oprah kept saying things like
“That’s why I love God so much”
—thanking her “angel.” Really, it
couldn’t have been more bizarre; I
don’t know when I finally turned the
damned thing off.
But suddenly, out of nowhere, I
had a sister. 1 mean, I’d always
known I had one — I probably have
other half siblings out there some
where—bul until Oprah hit me
over the head with it, I’d never felt
Or I’d felt a level so
deep that it had just never surfaced.
An innocent afternoon at home
had spilled all of these feelings out,
and now 1 had to deal with them. It
doesn’t seem fair.
A couple of years ago, my “little”
brother (a strapping U.S. Marine)
sought out his biological mother on
doctor’s orders.
I watched from a distance but
with a lot of attention. The part that
seemed best to me was when he got
to meet his uncles, a whole bunen of
them, at some kind of family
reunion. He said it was interesting to
be among people who looked like
I can imagine. And they shared
more than looks, from what 1
understand—being, like, a family
of sharpshooters or something.
But I choke on what to call his
brand new mother.
I’ve never met her, never even
seen a photograph, but I can tell you
one thing. She was never his mother.
He and I have the same mother, the
same father. At least we always used
to have had.
Now things are different, and I’m
sure he’s found it at least as confus
ing, at close range, as I And it from
my more disinterested vantage
I have to admit to a certain
curiosity about my biological
parents, but any feelings I might
have about them arc really opaque.
But this sister thing’s got its foot
in the door now, and I can see it’s
not going to be easy to shut it
And maybe I don’t want it shut.
Baldridge b a sealor English major and
a Dally Nebraskan colnmnist
Indoor/ outdoor?
Even for Slats Grobmk, it was
a strange question. “Hey, you
ever use an outhouse?”
You mean an outdoor toilet?
“Yeah, like they used to have
on farms in the old days.”
Well, it’s been a long time,
but, yes, I have used them.
“So, what do you think?”
About what?
“About an outhouse?”
Think? I don’t think about
outhouses. I can’t remember
when a thought concerning an
outhouse last crossed my mind.
“Then c’mon. Give me a
curbstone opinion. Arc they good,
bad or in between?”
Well, I suppose they get the
basic job done, but I definitely
prefer in-house comfort and a bit
of tile here and there. But why are
we sitting here discussing
“See? Sometimes you don’t
keep up with the issues. I guess
you don’t even know that the
outhouse is one of those liberal
and conservative things?”
That is news to me.
“Then let me straighten you
out. I was reading a column by a
liberal lady pundit in Washington.
You know, the kind who is full of
compassion and love for the
Yes, 1 m laminar witn me
decency and capacity for love of
liberal pundits.
“Right. So she says that
President Clinton is a real true
blue liberal and the outhouse
proves it.”
What, is Clinton putting an
outhouse outside the White
“Nah. She says Clinton is a
true liberal because he don’t like
Well, I don’t consider that any
kind of liberal/conservative
litmus test. I’m sure Pat
Buchanan doesn’t like outhouses,
although I’ve never asked him,
“You still don’t get it. See, this
liberal lady pundit says that when
Clinton puts together his federal
budget, he wants to get rid of the
Whose outhouse?
“Everybody’s outhouse.”
What do you mean,
everybody’s outhouse? Is there
some sort of national outhouse
I’ve never heard of?
“Uh-uhli, what she means is
that there arc some parts of the
country where people still got
outhouses because they don’t
have the right kind of plumbing
so they can stay home and pull
the chain. And she says that
Clinton wants to fix things up so
everybody has got an indoor
Well, that makes sense. As the
greatest nation in the history of
the world, we have the amazing
capacity to put a man on the
moon, so we should be able to put
every man, woman and child on
an indoor toilet seat.
“Yeah, that’s what I’ve always
I’m sure you have. But I still
don’t understand how indoor and
' outdoor toilet seats become some
Mike Royko
"As the greatest nation
in the history of the
world, we have the
amazing capacity to
put a man on the
moon, so we should be
able to put every man,
woman and child on
an indoor toilet seat. ”
kind of liberal and conservative
“Because this liberal lady
pundit says it takes a real liberal
president with a big heart to
figure out that it’s the job of the
federal government to worry
about the little guy who ain’t got
an indoor toilet and to make sure
that he gets one.”
Ah, now I understand. We’re
talking about the liberal belief
that the federal government
should provide the basic needs
that have been neglected by local
“Yeah, something like that.”
And where are all of these
outhouses? Not in Manhattan or
Palm Springs, I’m sure.
“Right. The liberal lady pundit
says that in the Texas panhandle
and in some parts of Mississippi,
you still got people who get up at
3 o’clock in the morning and hoof
through the darkness to get to
their outdoor john.”
“But why should I pay taxes so
some guy in Texas can sit on an
indoor toilet seat?
In other words, you are taking
more of a conservative position
that Texas and Mississippi should
be responsible for providing the
plumbing facilities that would
make it possible for its citizens to
sit comfortably indoors.
“Right. And if they don’t do it
on their own, then they ought to
be ashamed of themselves.”
But what if the states don’t
have the funds?
“Then they should put in a
toilet tax. Everybody in Texas
and Mississippi should pay a few
bucks for every indoor toilet.
“And a state toilet tax would
mean the federal government
wasn’t getting into the toilet
business, which would make the
conservatives happy.”
But that would deprive Clinton
of an opportunity to demonstrate
his liberal generosity.
“Hey, he can always try for
(C) 1996 by the Chicago Tiibaae
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