This Noel was one of Erics' closest friends.
He was the very last of us to be with Eric, as he was the passenger
sitting in the back seat of the Firebird when the accident occurred.
It was Noel who eased my ache of uncertainty
 about whether or not Eric suffered,  when he assured me that not so much as a moan or sound of any kind came from his lips allowing us to know that Eric was instantly, instantly killed upon impact.    He thought Eric was unconscious when the officer arrived to help him out of the car.
Noel had a sprained ankle and no other injuries other than that most terrible wound to the heart of losing his best friend......

Noel wrote a tribute to Eric which appeared in the Iron Blade
and I am sharing that here.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Letters to the Editor

A Friend Will Not Be Forgotten

Dear Baker,
......It has been over two weeks now and it still seems that just yesterday we were hanging out in each others' rooms. I'll never understand how a simple trip to a grocery store could end so tragically, but what has happened, has happened I am going to miss you a

lot especially due to us having so many plans as a group. However, I am proud to have been one of your friends, and if it were not for you, these four years would have been a lot more difficult. Thanks to you, I have learned to appreciate music and film as well as several aspects of the American culture. 

I am never going to forget the good times and long discussions we had, and you will live on in the memories that we all have of you. Well, wherever you are, take care my friend and remember you will never be forgotten. Your friend always,
Noel Roy

..................................................................       .April 26, 1996

Dear Nina,

..................Once again, my sincere condolences.  It has now been over two weeks and I still can't believe that happened. It has registered in my mind, but I still expect Eric to walk through the door. Every night, after he had finished his homework, he would come visit Dave, Cardwell and me, and hassle us about not having started our homework.     He would mess with the stereo, plop in a CD and seat himself in our lazyboy.

..................It has become extremely quiet and I strongly feel that something is missing. Every time I go by his room, I remember...... But they are good memories - and a lot of them. I'll never forget the first time I met Eric. Or the one night when he came and wanted to crash in my room because his roommate had <excerpted here>

...................Eric was the closest I have had to family here, next to Vishalini, and in many ways, he was like a brother. He helped me through many a difficult time and was always there for me. If it had not been for him, a year ago, I would have been a nervous wreck. In a way, we were good for each other, as we shared similar experiences and we thought alike.

...................When I talked to Eric, it was not about music or movies, but about our personal lives and the problems we were dealing with.    He was always correct in his advice and an extremely good listener.   It was a great comfort for me to have somebody like him to confide in. I hope that I was able to aide him just as much in his problems, although his were always far more complex.

...................Nina, I'm sure you already know what a great son Eric was, but I'll never forget what he did for me and the great friend he was. I'm honored to have been one of Erics' friends and to have spent the last three years here at Ferrum with him.   It has been due to people like him that I have been able to live away from the family and feel comfortable here.
.................He will never be forgotten and will live on in my memories of him and I am happy to have spent the last three years with a good friend like Eric. I really miss him and things will never be the same..... but life goes on and I believe he would have wanted us to make the best of it.
...................If there is anything I can do, please do not hesitate to ask, and I look forward to seeing you all again sometime soon.

Yours affectionately,    ...Noel Roy

Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 10:16:47 -0400
Subject: Webpage

Dear Nina,   How are you?
Well through Dave I was able to hear about the wonderful webpage you set up for Baker(Eric).  I don't know what to say except for thank you for sharing your son with us.  Thanks to modern technology we are all able to now stay in touch, and I am glad that I have your e-mail address as well.   The page is really beautiful, it's obvious that you spent a lot of time to make it as perfect as it is, but it was worth every minute.  It's strange to think that it has been now over a year and a half,
but it seems that we have all somehow managed to get back on our feet, however, in our minds it is still like it all happened just yesterday.
Well, instead of dwelling in the past and wondering why such a good friend was lost, I have come to terms in dealing with how lucky I was to have met such a great person, and what an honor it was to be able to spend four years together with him.
I learned a lot, not only about music, literature, film, poetry, but also about the facts of life.   I know that I can say that Baker made my four years at Ferrum the most valuable and unforgettable years of my life.   Not only did he share his family with me, mine being so far away, but he also was ready to listen to my problems and share his time with me.
I am glad that I got to meet you Nina, and the rest of the family,  and to have gotten such a precious insight into his life and where he grew up.
I miss him a lot, there is no doubt about that, he was one of the few people who I could really open up to, and share my feelings and concerns with. There are very few people who could listen and give advice as he could.    I just believe that wherever he is he is happy and has no troubles anymore.   As said before, he is one of the best friends I ever made in my life and that is only a group of one other person. I am just glad that know we can now read more about his work, which previously he was always so reluctant to show. His true talents have finally been released for all of us to see, and for that I am once again grateful.

Dear Nina, I hope that you are keeping well.... and if you get some time please write back and keep me informed........thanks again for the page.....  

yours affectionately,  Noel

Subject: Re: Webpage

My dear, Dear Noel;

How wonderful it was to hear from you!
I just can't say how much it means to me!  I was hoping all last winter that you would be coming back to visit with us.   I think it would have been good for us both!   Do you suppose you might do it one day anyway? *smile*    Eric would VERY-much approve! *grin*
Thank you for your support of the page and appreciation of the work I've put into it too.  It is, as yet, only about 1/2 done - for there is much to be published of Erics' work yet.  Plus, I'm also working on a real-life (non-cyber materials) book as well.   I hope that the FIREBIRD section was not too difficult for you (If indeed, you went into that section) - but I'm sure that you, as I,  know that Eric would feel that something should come of such a tragic and senseless loss in the consequence of simple carelessness and neglect.   ~ It was the MOST difficult part of the production to do!   For I had to do all the graphic work (which I am pretty talented at dealing with) in making the best of the pictures and their presentation to speak the message primarily in picture form, bringing a message that will not be soon forgotten by anyone who sees it, I hope.   I am looking into a future CD video-production of the entire page when it is complete - for many, many people do not connect to the internet - but they could view it on their ordinary computers.   ~   L-A-T-E-R though, much later.
I spent sometimes 12 to 15 hours per day,  (with all the interruptions for real-life responsibilities in-between).   When I hurt or am melancholy enough - I stay up all night with it.   But it is a kind of therapy that has something to offer to others from it...     so that good comes of the bad that we cannot change but must simple work our way through.

I will be writing a lot more to you, Noel! And I SOOoooo want to hear all about YOU! And your brother, and mother and all the family!   In the tradition established between Eric and you (as well as others )- thought I'd mention that there is a movie that he would have thought was *Totally Awesome*.... it's called "Sling Blade"... Try to see it. Great movie... incredibly written, filmed acted and produced!!!

It's about dinner time - will write to you again tomorrow.    *BTW* - may I post your e-mail on his page?  Noel Burke just found out two weeks ago, that Eric was killed, when he contacted the college to get our phone number and address!  He wrote me a most beautiful and touching letter.    I hope to post it there in the next few days...    Please write soon, my ~other son~!

Love from, your GYPSY-mom..... (Nina)

From: Raj Roy
Subject: Re: Webpage
Dear Nina,

Well, lovely to hear from you again.
It seems to some extent that your pain has been comforted by the words and feeling of others.  The webpage has a calm, peaceful atmosphere to it and although I was overwhelmed with emotions that I previously had suppressed, I knew it was good to see what others felt.   Being able to share with others is the best way to express yourself as well as find comfort I think.   Anyway, I was even more pleased about the quick response.  You will have to excuse me taking a few days to answer to your message, but at the end of the day I just seem to have a few hours to eat dinner and watch some tv. Thus, once the weekend comes I am back on the comp.  Well tomorrow is a public holiday and that's why I am writing today.   

Well in June I was able to find a position as a trainee in a German pharmaceuticals company an hour away form home. After a six month period of waiting and numerous unsuccessful applications, I finally got this position, and I am enjoying every minute of it.   I have a two year program after which I will have integrated into the organization.     My brother transferred schools and is now at UNC, Chapel Hill,  it is a much bigger school, and it is the first time he is alone,   but he seems to have adjusted and one of his best friends from highschool goes to Duke, so he's not alone.     Ferrum unfortunately did not offer a good computer major and thus my brother felt he had to change. 

My mother is doing fine although was recently hard hit by the death of her father. She still is suffering although she has come to terms with the reality.   Currently her work as a kingarten teacher keeps her occupied and of course that helps a lot too.   Other than that she doing fine and of course, also asked about how you were doing, actually I think she will probably write to you some time.    It meant a lot to her to meet you, Nina, and I am also glad, that she met the mother of my best friend, and a person who opened her home to me during the breaks and treats me like a "son".  It was unfortunate, that I wasn't able to make it up to you,  Fall semester, but I hope to be coming to the States next year to visit my brother and I will then definitely make it up to Woodstock.    It means a lot too me that you see me as your other "son", Nina, and I am glad to have felt your warmth and hospitality, being in a foreign land wasn't easy for me but it was people like you and Baker who offered me a home and a family to go to that made me feel at home, and also gave my parents the peace of mind that I was being taken care off.

Well, I hope to hear from you again Nina, please also convey my greetings to Peach, and take care of yourself.....

yours affectionately,    Noel

Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 15:32:41 -0800
Subject: Re: Webpage
To: Raj Roy

Hello again, Noel;   So good to hear from you and especially to hear that you like what you are doing and where your life is going!   *smile*

I had asked about posting your ~tribute~ to Erics' memory in the section I am working on right now - ~Tributes~ May I?   And if there are any special memories, cute, interesting, unique, heartwarming... whatever... would you send them along and I will make a composition by you?  Did your injury from the accident leave any lasting effects?  *I hope not*.

In a bit of a rush today, will write more again...
but please do let me know about the tribute... would you?

By the way... did you enjoy the section on Erics' baptism?    Perhaps you haven't done the entire page yet?    It IS quite large - over a hundred pages so far!   And.... did you click on that ~DON'T CLICK HERE,  WHATEVER YOU DO~ section on the front page?   If so - did you enjoy the music and special effects?  Did you laugh?  I
know that Eric would have LOVED it! *grin*

Your GYPSY-mom, (Nina)
Hello Noel....   
I've been so concerned when I didn't hear from you!  Are you okay, son?  Please write soon so I won't worry....

When I see you again - I have a very, very special gift which I am afraid to send in the mail... It has been waiting for you since last year when you were going to be coming down.   I should have tried to get up there to see you, Noel... but it is really hard for me to face..... seeing that tree... going along that road... you know - I'm sure.  I often thought how terrible it must have been for you to be there
and have to go past it again and again!

Tell me more about your work!  Your plans!  Your life!   How are your parents - etc. etc.

Love from and hug from,

Your GYPSY-mom, (Nina)

Subject: Where are U?

Dear Nina,  I apologize my period of silence,  just been kinda of preoccupied the last few weeks. Well have been in the finance section the last few weeks, and although it was not one of my strong subjects at school, I seem to be doing fine....
I am also fine.  This is all a new experience, especially as I m doing everything in another language, given that I have lived in this country for 12 yrs, there is still a difference between everyday German and business German.   Oh well ,gradually I am getting the hang of it, but it just means I have to put in that little bit of extra effort.    On the other hand,   my fluency in English puts me at an advantage.
So enough about me how are you?   Your messages always seem to full of joy and life, it's always a pleasure to receive one.   In terms of my `suprise', sounds exciting, but really not necessary, there is one special treasure that is on my shelf that Baker gave me in Christmas '95, a rookie M. Jordan baseball card....
that and my memories of him are more than enough!   But nevertheless,  if everything works out and I am in the US next year,  we will be seeing each other anyway.  The family is fine, my mom still wants to get around to writing to you, but after the passing away of her father in Aug. she is having a difficult time.   She's much better now, but due to her previously only writing letters to her parents, this is a painful reminder for her every time she writes. Nevertheless, she always talks about the strength she gained from your presence and what a wonderful mother and person you are. I am glad that you were able to meet, even though it was so brief.   
Well, I am going to end here, but hope to hear from you and wish you well... take care...

yours affectionately,   Noel :-)

Subject: Re: Where are U?
My Dear Noel:   What a relief, dear one.... I guess I felt some fear about the page possibly bothering you!   Especially since I did that section on the Firebird.   It was something that I chose to do rather than pursue any kind of lawsuit.   I never have really understood the point of many of the ~Wrongful Death~ suits and awards. I DID, however, feel a pressing need to exhibit how a simple act such as the failure of those people to secure those leftover building materials which lay (until that fateful night) in the rear of their home, a hundred yards from where it blew into the path of the Firebird that night...........for an entire year.

The friend (owner of the storefront where we leased our business location,) Bill Holtzman, paid $1,800 to a private investigation enterprise to have the accident thoroughly reconstructed and all the factors identified..... felt that I should turn the report over to a legal agency.    But Eric was the most precious and beloved part of my life - and neither money or punitive action could restore his life - so I took it no further.   I was very appreciative of his gift to have the report done... for it felt good to have Erics' integrity of character and driving skills (of which he was deservedly proud....)...proven beyond a doubt and laid out in a very complete booklet which examined and reported it all so well. It gave me a peace.... But when I didn't hear from you - I'd feared that you had a problem with it.    I felt that the example and exhortation that now stands in that section - would be appreciated and approved of by Eric - for perhaps there will be many other lives or harmful events which may be avoided by that small pictorial tale being portrayed (with that intent) -  brings something of value out of an otherwise senseless, unspeakably painful and tragic waste. Even if only one other - then the effort and emotional price of creating it - is worthwhile.   I am so glad that it did not have a negative effect on you.    I'd felt that you would see the value and importance of that section anyway.  But if you did see it - I am sure that it was a most difficult experience too.
The fact that you were safe and relatively unharmed - speaks loudly of Gods' hand in taking Eric home where their relationship could be at last restored for eternity (which had been adversely effected by mortal men - but Eric was sealed and belonged to God - and there is much to be said of the mercy of Eric being taken home to his Heavenly Father and out of a world where he suffered much and in the near future would have suffered even more pain and adversity in the blindness that we `kind-of' knew was to come.... 
Also.... There would have been no way that a spirit as deep and sensitive as Erics' - could ever have lived with the agony of what he would have felt if he had survived and either you or Eric C. had been killed!
In many ways - Eric was too ~Fine~ for this world which he saw stark and real and walked a stranger therein....   He died with a special kind of innocence which was never torn from him by having to bend to compromises that life would have pressed him severely to resist!   That is one of the good things I see in his leaving so soon.
He was of such integrity and intellectual greatness that the world would never- ever have been comfortable for him!    Thank you for the ~strokes~ ... they felt good...  and I too, am so glad that we are in contact with each other.   I don't know if you read what I put up from your letter to him in the Iron Blade - or the one to me shortly afterward.... I hope that you approve - and that if you are uncomfortable with it - you will let me know.    I would also like to publish that one I asked you about when you viewed his page and wrote to me... May I?  There is a scripture by which I base my reaching out to others in this time and experience... 
It is 2Corinthians 1: verse 3 & 4.....

Better close - time for dinner.

Oh... and the gift that I have for you is the one thing that you requested and I had such attachment for myself - I want you to have the Lone Ranger.     If I sent it in any sort of shipping... there is the remote possibility of its' being lost - and it could never be replaced - and so I want to put it from my hands directly into yours to be sure that you have it.    In going through his things - I discovered that there was a second one among his collection of action figures.     Having already given Jon the music - I wanted you to have the Lone Ranger - for I felt that Eric would like that too.  Facing (November 11th) the longest and most difficult of the series of surgeries which I have had to undergo.. (this being the last, I hope)...  I made it known that if anything should happen to me - it is my desire that you have this - so it IS yours.....

Until next mail - I remain... your ~other-mom~, (Nina)  and am sending hugs {{{{{{{Raj/Noel}}}}}}} and love along too. *S*

Your GYPSY, (Nina)

Date: Sun, 9 Nov 1997 08:30:30 -0500
From: Raj Roy
Subject: Hi!

Dear Nina,
Well once again time has flown by and you're probably wondering, why the delay, well this time it's due to my computer.   It had to go to the workshop.  I am currently using the old one, but it needed a monitor which I just recently bought, but I am back on-line now.
I don't know what to say, about your gift, except that I know how much you treasured it.  I am glad you found a second one, and I hope that is the one you are keeping for me and not the original....... I could not, especially knowing how precious it is to you, accept it.    The Lone Ranger was the first thing that came to mind when you asked me what I wanted, because I was so used to sitting next to him in the backseat of ~the bird~. The fact that it was there that day as well was what makes it even more important to me.   However, I think it means more to you then me because I do not know the history.    I am more than grateful for the pictures you sent me and the memories that I have, and nothing for me is more precious than these.
Actually, strangely enough, last summer here, (I can't quite remember the situation ) I found a Batman figure, and although it was not Bakers',   I felt... because of his love for Batman I should keep I have that figure........strange.... But Nina, I will accept the SECOND Lone Ranger,   and can't wait to then see hopefully next year......  About my previous e-mails,  yes you can post what ever you think fit for your webpage,  I would actually feel honored to be on your page.
Well, I will end here, hoping that all is well with you, and that you are keeping well. I am fine here, although not looking forward to the winter. So herewith , I remain, and hope to hear from you soon.....

yours affectionately,   Noel :-)

My dear, Dear Noel

Thank you for permission to share here.!!!
It is so very special (and somewhat rare!) when people can/will communicate about their feelings about a lost loved one they share! Often - (sad to say, I have learned first-hand) it is too uncomfortable for most and that is so tragic and painful, for that is like having your loved one die over and over again.
It is such a joy to remember the good and cherish all that they were and can remain being to you if you keep them in your heart, minds, lives and inter-relationships around you.
Surgery is Tuesday - so I will be a few days away (in hospital) and don't know how soon I will be up to using the computer (casts on both feet! - and will be in bed a lot with them elevated due to the subsequent swelling) ...    But I have a laptop and will be on-line wherever I am! *G*

Say hello to your mom for me! I have been praying for her.

Sorry to be so brief tonight........
I love you, son........ (((((((RajRoy)))))))

Your GYPSY-Mom, (Nina)

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