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Remembering Hannah Joseph

by Mariah Parker

photo by Johnny Slaff

This semester I’ve been thinking a lot about leaving Warren Wilson. I came to Wilson to live in community with others, but after discovering the inherent difficulties of that act, I feel I’ve fallen out of love. Returning from Spring Break in Austin last week, I found myself begrudging the familiarity of life in our little bubble. “I get so sick of seeing the same faces every day,” I told a friend.

There are many faces I see often but rarely seek out. Hannah Joseph was a sophomore psychology major from Atlanta, one of the coolest chicks on the planet, and, until Monday morning, one of those faces I always took for granted.

Hannah’s match-quick wit and indomitable verve always intimidated me, but this time last year I fell out with a few friends and into Hannah’s tilt-a-whirl life. We spent the spring smoking Marlboro Reds on the roof of Dorland and ooh-ahhing along to the Motown songs we both loved. She adored the Flaming Lips, and after school got out we went to see them together in her Georgia hometown. The sea of shoulders nearest the stage was impossibly dense, but it was Hannah’s favorite band! She had to be close to the action. Adrenaline coursing through us, I grabbed her hand and dove, a flock of pardon-me-excuse-me-sorries bursting forth as we burrowed and burrowed. The fight was worth it, though; I remember the shine in her eyes when Wayne Coyne rolled over our part of the crowd in his human-sized hamster ball, the same shine as when Hannah spoke about the brain or comic books, the same shine I saw in her mother’s eyes when we drank white Russians together in their kitchen. We danced to Ray Charles on the hardwood floor, she, her parents, and I, and I remember how Hannah’s toes pointed perfectly as she flapped and spun, the way she shook and snapped her shoulders in complete sync with the hi-hat’s tinny clash.

I had never met someone so perfect before.

It’s not always about the community at Warren Wilson–the community’s great and all, but it’s the individuals here that truly make one’s experience. Whether you’re strengthening the community at Caucus or breaking its rules on the roof of Dorland, the times we create with the persons here are what we remember the most.

I was not your closest friend, Hannah, and that’s what really kills me. If I could I’d spend every second of every day with you, but all I can do now is write this and hope that you know that I loved you. Yours is a face that I will never see again, and its beauty has woken me up to the beauty of all the faces I see everyday. Wilson life may be small, but it is so, so fleeting–and you’ve got to hold it tight while you can.


2 Responses to “Remembering Hannah Joseph”

  1. This is beautiful. She’s probably grinning ear to ear at ” I have never met someone so perfect before”.
    and thinking…Dude yeah…duh…
    I love you and so does Hannah. Miss you!! Now, Laugh, love and live life.

    Posted by Harlyn Joseph | March 27, 2012, 5:53 pm
  2. I bought a card to mail you, but I could not find the words to say. I cannot find the words to say what I feel. This so difficult to comprehend. She was so beautiful inside and outside. I knew Hannah as a little girl and I miss her so much.

    Posted by Maxine Ford | April 24, 2012, 11:51 pm

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