Kathryn Waring

                                                                                                         APPENDIX: HOW TO BEGIN

“Like the appendix in a human body, an appendix in a book is information not strictly necessary to the main body of the writing. It is an addition or addendum.” –Wikihow: How to Write an Appendix

                                                                                                                          APPENDIX A

Begin at the end: with what is left over, still remaining, extraneous. Begin with me. Begin by understanding that this is not my story to tell. That this story is not necessary to the main body, to the whole.

Begin here, with the place itself: Craig Colony for Epileptics in Sonyea, NY. A place where tens of thousands of New Yorkers with epilepsy were sent between 1896 when the colony opened and the 1980s when it finally shut down.

Begin with this newspaper article, published by the St. Petersburg Times in 1960:

Picture

Begin with this: the truth of every story is fractured among those that experienced it. No one will ever know what happened down in that tunnel. No one will ever really know why the boys went down there, what they were looking for, what they were trying to leave behind.
                                                                                                                          APPENDIX B                                                                                                                           

To begin, let’s start with their names: Robert Jacobs, 14; John Schreck, 15; Richard La Rose, 13; Robert Neach, 14; Harry Ramsey, 14.

Or perhaps we should start before the boys and begin with the construction of the tunnels, where high pressure steam traveled through a network of pipes to buildings around the colony—water cooled or heated depending on the time of year.

Let’s begin with Kathy, the nurse who first told me about the boys and the tunnel.

Let’s start with this scene: I am sitting in an old wooden chair in Kathy’s antique store. Customers wander in and out during the few hours I am here. She greets them by name—has everyone’s story in this small Western New York town catalogued alongside her own in the back of her brain. And when Kathy begins to talk about the boys that get stuck in the tunnel, the timbre of her voice lowers. Her shoulders turn inward; her speech begins to slow. She looks down at the floor behind the counter.

To begin, you should know that this is a story that can’t be told. This story you’re getting is based off a single interview with one woman, and a newspaper article published seven states and sixty years away, because any articles written closer in time and place about these boys can no longer be found.

In the forest near the colony’s old buildings, there is an unmarked cemetery. There is no sign denoting this space—just a random website with a rough location (1.5 miles southwest of the water tower) and a reference in an online forum. I park my car where the dirt road narrows to the point of becoming a hiking trail and I can’t drive any further. Walking into the woods, I follow a stream so I don’t get lost and stumble across the site a half-mile or so later. Cast-iron stakes protrude fr