The loss of the young Iowan, Mollie Tibbetts, has triggered much controversy, sorrow and hopelessness, but for me it has refreshed the memory of another young Iowan also tragically taken far too soon. Mostly, I want the family of forever 10 year-old Pamela Powers to know I have never forgotten her.
Just as most of us will keep Mollie in our hearts, though we never met her, I will never forget the young, innocent face of Pamela from news accounts in December 1968. She was just like me with a pixie hair cut, freckles and a wide smile. I was 11 and already aware of frightening dangers. I had barely recovered from Richard Speck’s 1966 slaughter of eight Chicago nurses when, suddenly, something similar was in my Iowa backyard.
Pamela was at a Des Moines YMCA with her family on Dec. 24, 1968 when a trip to the bathroom marked the beginning of the end. The crime shocked all of Iowa, and cast deep sadness over Christmas.
It marked the end of my innocence, understanding sheltered life in Iowa was not exempt from predators.
I am sure Pamela loved many of the same things I did, and dreamed of her future life as most 10-year-olds do. I carried Pamela in my heart, into my future, remembering she would have loved having the chance I was given. Just as Mollie would have.