January 10th, 2011 by Conor
Some thoughts from Julie Hamlin, Danny’s aunt (Ellen’s sister) from Washington, DC.
So…I went through some old photos and tried to find one that captures Dano’s spirit. (He is Dano to us—I am not sure if we gave him that nickname, but I like to think so—I would welcome corrections here.) In the photos there were common themes: Dano doe-eyed and gorgeous, curious, laughing, dapper (his Ralph Lauren phase), snuggling, on-the-go… Through the years, Dano also seems to have a thing with hats. He even went through a visor thing. (Go figure!) Anyway, I went through the requisite birthday and holiday shots, but chose this picture of him with his cousin Jesse, my sister Carol’s son. In the photo, he and Jesse are at my parent’s house in New Hampshire, and Dano is doing wheelies in his diapers. I love this photo. I think Dano has never met a wheel he didn’t like. (See: scooter 2009). It reminded me of a time when he was five or six years old and I “escorted” him on his bike ride on Old Bartlett Road. The last stretch, which runs perpendicular to my parent’s house, is steep, and people even walk it cautiously. But Dano was on his wheels—and when he rounded the corner and saw his grandparent’s house and that hill, he knew he had hit the jackpot. He took off over the hill and left me in the dust, running breathlessly after him. He executed the descent flawlessly, blasting over the bridge at an age when most kids are barely off training wheels. That day, I loved Dano’s boldness, unfettered joy, skill and pride. He thought it was so funny that I had raced after him; he is always a little mischievous. From early on it was apparent that he was going to approach his life much the same as he approached the Old Bartlett Road hill. We love you, Dano, and know you will channel that gusto to your recovery. We’ll be right there with you–or probably chasing after you breathlessly.