Home is a happening place when the household boasts three teenagers. Though it’s now been four years since Frank Stevens’ passing, and though each one in the family still misses him, time has once again brought them vitality and activity and the normal ups and downs of young life in America. There have been school assignments, after-school part-time jobs, friendships and adventures. And parties.
It was nothing out of the ordinary for nineteen-year-old Kelly to join his friends at a party across town. It was a Friday night at the beginning of February, cold and miserable—just the kind of weather that makes you want to go out and do something. There was a get-together at a friend-of-a-friend’s house that evening, so why not? Kelly caught a ride with some friends and headed to the party.
It would have been nothing out of the ordinary, except that the next morning’s headlines ran four years to the day after publication of Frank’s rosary announcement on another cold February day in 1966.
A 19-year-old Albuquerque youth was listed in critical condition Friday night after an accident earlier Friday in the Northeast Heights. John Kelly Stevens, 2800 Cuervo Dr. NE, underwent surgery Friday night at Presbyterian Hospital.
Patrolman Arthur R. Thompson said Stevens was a passenger in a northbound vehicle driven by Kenneth A. Dodge, 19, of 4906 Comanche NE. The car jumped a curb at 3510 Monte Vista NE and veered out of control through a yard and crashed into a tree, Thompson said.
The front end of the car was completely demolished, the patrolman said. Thompson said Dodge told him that Stevens dropped a lighted cigaret on the front seat. Dodge said he looked at it and brushed it off the seat. When he looked up, the car was jumping the curb, and he could not avoid hitting the tree, he told police.
Dodge was listed in good condition Friday night at Presbyterian.
Of course, Norma needn’t have waited to read the news in the Albuquerque Journal. She had already received notification late that Friday night. A long vigil at Presbyterian Hospital, with prayers for a best outcome for a complicated surgery, took her into the wee hours of Saturday morning.
And that would be only the beginning.
News article originally published in the Albuquerque Journal, Saturday, February 7, 1970, on page B-8.