By Patrick Chierichella, Educational Coordinator

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

Part of my youthful morning routine was always reading the funny pages in my family’s daily newspaper. Today, I do this on my computer. My server gives me the chance to peruse many strips not carried by my own daily. (I know, I know! You mean you ACTUALLY still get your news the old fashioned way? Well, partly, at least. See, dinosaurs are not really extinct!)

One such strip that I now read consistently is drawn by Jef Mallett. It is called Frazz. The character is a young school custodian who interacts with students and faculty. The Halloween panels show us a teacher and her student nemesis disagreeing about what makes a piece of literature a classic.  The student says he bases his Halloween costumes on classic stories. For this year he chose a short story. The teacher snorts that its length prevents it from being a classic. Caulfield, the student, tells the teacher, Classic isn’t how long it takes to read. Classic is how long it takes to forget.

Carlie Brucia died on February 1, 2004 at age 11. The moment is relentlessly approaching when the time since her passing will consistently grow beyond the duration of her days with us. We experience this in all our lives. For Carlie’s family and friends, for all children and loved ones taken by violence, the tragedy remains anchored to their souls and psyches. I remember this line from a song: There is a silence only they can hear.

The 1957 Chevy is classic. The World Series is referred to as The Fall Classic. The car was produced in only one year. The World Series can last anywhere from 4 to 7 games. It is all about what resides in our memories.

Carlie and the other child victims of brutality should not ever become mere statistics. They never grew to establish their voice.

I never heard the sound of Carlie’s voice. I choose to believe that through the efforts of our group the innocence and beauty of her soul is still evident. I believe, as described by Jef Mallett, she is classic.


About The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

Founded by Matthew J. Barbis after his 11-year-old cousin, Carlie Brucia, was abducted and murdered in Sarasota, FL in 2004. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation’s goal is to reduce the number of child abductions in the U.S. by educating and empowering young minds with the knowledge necessary to avoid abduction. Utilizing puppets and a formalized educational curriculum, the foundation provides elementary-aged children with the Stranger Safety Awareness Program, free of charge. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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