Remembering Joan Matlaw
August 15, 2006
Thank you for printing “Celebrating 125 Years” on Friday, July 28.
You chose to remember the year 1977 and the anniversary of Joan Matlaw’s death caused by the errant bullets of neighboring boys’ target practice nearby the music tent. The article described exactly how it happened.
I was the unnamed witness you quoted. I distinctly remember giving The Aspen Times and the police this story on that fateful day. Joan Matlaw tragically died in my arms.
We had been walking together, though strangers, along the back path of the tent at intermission when she was struck. It just as easily could have been me. Her death and the sheer panic of flying gunfire deeply affected me for many, many years. At the time I was 20 years old and a student at the University of Denver. This was the first of a life long of summers and winters my family spent in Aspen before my parents enjoyed an early retirement and moved permanently to Aspen.
I never met the Matlaw family, but I heard they had a daughter my age. I identified with her in my thoughts for many years.
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I am pleased that The Aspen Times chose to remember the 29th anniversary of this innocent woman’s death and not let her memory slip away.
Bess Altfeld Taubman