There’s Always a Sad Story

Yesterday during choir rehearsal we took our break in the Honor Room. The last time I was in here it was undergoing restorations and everything was covered in tarps. I’d wanted to take a picture of this boy’s name: Harry C. Smith. ¬†While exploring the Grace Church archives I’d come across two small articles about an ex-actor named Harry Chancey Smith who was found strangled in his bed in a rooming house on the upper east side in 1949. Someone had handwritten across the article that Harry was from the first class of Grace Church choir boys, from 1894-1898. So of course I researched his story. I’m not sure if it will make it into the book, it’s not relevant, but I just had to know.

I’m guessing that Grace Church will be preserved as long as there are humans to care for it. Which means Harry’s name will stay on this wall, going through periodic restorations, long long long after anyone who remembers him is gone. I wonder if any relatives remember him. He was the most famous boy in the country at one point.

Here we are, taking a break from A Sea Symphony.  Guess how many people glanced at the names behind them.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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