This Night Wounds Time: The Mysterious Disappearances of Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley
Shortly after midnight on March 20, 1988, Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley, two seniors at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, Texas, ventured out into the night. Their destination was Forest Lane, the legendary cruise strip known to every Dallas teenager as the premier hot spot for meeting up with friends. The girls were never seen again. 22 years later, their disappearance remains perhaps the most infamous unsolved mystery in North Texas history. The product of the author's original research, this book, which the Carrollton Police Department credits with revitalizing its investigation into this cold case, examines: the lives of these two young women; what is known about that fateful night; theories and speculation regarding their final fates; the person of interest original case investigators insist was never "properly eliminated as a suspect"; and the impact this haunting event continues to have on the Carrollton community. For additional information, see http://www.thisnightwoundstime.com(less)
This wasn't the blog I intended for today but thanks to a craft project that is giving me fits, you will have to wait for my latest crafty/DIY blog. :( That's okay because I feel like this blog is much more important in the grand scheme of things.
If you knew me, you would know that I am a true crime fanatic. I can't get enough of the stuff. This book is different however, in so many ways. I went to school with these girls. Susan and I were in several classes together throughout High School. We were all suppose to graduate in the spring of 1988. I did, Susan and Stacie never got the chance.
Personal persepective first:
This book is written by an author (Who I do not know) that graduated a few years before we entered Newman Smith High School so while he knows the area, he did not know the girls. First, I want to say a little about this event from a personal perspective before I talk about the book. While Susan and I had several classes together and she was always very kind and polite to me, we were not friends. It was a graduating class of something like 500 people that year so to know everyone was not really possible. I don't remember Stacie and I ever having any classes together but I can't swear we didn't Still, the girls were known to me. They were both in one of the popular groups. I wasn't. I was the fat, shy, insecure, quiet girl. To say that this particular event did not touch most of us graduating that year however, is just plain wrong. The girls apparently disappeared from a popular hangout at that time and the place where they may have ended up was another place that many of us hung out, granted it was a cemetary but we were 17 and 18 years old and just mostly looking for a place to drink a beer and not get in trouble. Because of the details of the case, I am sure this crime was personal but to say that this could have been any one of us at that time, is just truth. I will never forget Senior Night. The girls had disappeared several weeks before and it was tradition in our school that the seniors spent one last night as a group before graduation. We got together, had dinner, watched slide shows, and I don't remember what else. During the dinner there was a point when they dedicated a song to Stacie and Susan. I want to say it was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" but really, it was almost 27 years ago (GASP!) so I don't know that my memory is right. I do know that everyone got very quiet as they showed pictures and everyone was sad. Senior year was hard for me. I 'broke up' with my two best friends right before prom. Don't ask me why, the only thing I recall was that I had lost a bunch of weight and was starting to get the attention of boys and suddenly they were telling me that I was ugly and I needed a reality check. I think I probably let some of it go to my head. The attention from boys, not the ugly part. Additonally, I was leaving school early that year to go to The University of Texas for summer school. Talk about stress! I followed this case while at UT and have continued to Google it periodically throughtout the last 27 years. In fact, googling it was how I found this book.
First let me say this book was hard for me to read. Hard because I found the author was including information that, to me seemed unrelated to the events, although after finishing it, I realized he was simply trying to give the reader a feel for how innocent Carrollton, Tx really was at the time. It goes without saying that even though it is a suburb of Dallas, Carrollton at that time, had no experience with anything like this. To be honest, I don't think it has had anything like this happen since. Carrollton-Farmers Branch, in spite of the fact that Vanilla Ice (yes he makes an appearence in the book) wanted you to believe otherwise, was an upper middle-class suburb and at that time, Newman Smith was the school where the upper part of the upper middle-class sent their kids. The book was also difficult to read because it is a self published and therefore doesn't have the benefit of fancy editors and people who fix all the little stuff. The author seems to have quoted a lot of people the way they speak and I found the way they speak kind of distracting and repetitive. Aside from that, the book was filled with information about the case that I found both shocking and unsettling. It may not be the best book you ever read. It may not be the fanciest, but it certainly should be something you are touched by and remember. I finished it in one afternoon and I think it is also important to state that the author is selling this book at cost. He truly wants the mystery solved because like most everyone in Carollton, Tx in 1988, he was touched by this event.
Why I think you should read this book:
First of all, you are not going to have the memory overload I received. Second, you never know who may be out there reading who might have some crazy piece of evidence that could finally bring Stacie and Susan home. Third, it is important to preserve the memories of these girls and for me personally, it is important that anyone touched by the case have some closure. 27 years is a long time for parents to wait for their daughters to come home. 27 years is a long time for brothers and sisters to wait for their sisters to show up. 27 years is a long time for friends to miss someone. 27 years is a long time to investigate a missing persons case and have no answers. 27 years is a long, long time for whoever did this to get away with murder.