"We went on adventures in the woods, too. She'd take me to the river tucked in back there. We used to go on camping trips every year. Jigger Johnson was our favorite spot. Sometimes she'd go with her father and I'd come along. Sometimes they just went themselves."
When he'd travel there with Maura, they would jump off bridges into the river together. There was a rope swing for a while, at the Jigger Johnson campground, too. Maura was fearless, he says. "She'd always put on a show. She'd jump off that rope swing and do these all twists in the air before falling into the water."
The routine of running the home eventually fell to Maura when the older kids moved out or got jobs and she would shop for the family's groceries, taking Kurt along with her to the local Shaws. She turned it into a game, leaving items at the end of isles for Kurt to race to and then return to the cart. She taught him to bargain shop.
"I hated running, so when she'd go running, I'd ride my bike along with her."
Kurt came home from school one day and the whole family was there. Maura was missing, they told him. Everyone packed up and drove to New Hampshire. They stayed at the Wells River Motel for a bit and then at a condo in Lincoln owned by Fred Jr's boss. The siblings searched for Maura, or her body, in the woods, though Kurt once told his aunt it would crush him if he ever were to actually find her remains.
It makes sense that she would have gone up there with the intention of clearing her mind, he says. "I think she needed a break. All this talk of suicide...why would she drive all the way up there to do it? Doesn't make sense. That place was special for us. I think she went up there to take a breather and then something happened."
When their mother, Laurie, got sick, Kurt moved back home and took care of her until the end, dropping out of school so he could work to help with living expenses. The kid's been through a lot more than most, but he still has a quick smile and a laid back disposition. He's more than a little inspiring to tell the truth.