author photo Alumni Obituaries:
East Carolina University

by Dawn Wilson

Lee R. Bradbury (MA 06) worked toward his PhD at some school in Barcelona no one has ever heard of. Went AWOL to work backstage with the Lipizzaner Stallions. Didn’t get to ride, just picked up their crap and polished the rider’s boots. Sometimes stole a pair of boots. Sometimes stole a horse. We think he did it to impress the ladies, but why the hell does Lee do anything? Died tragically after being kicked in the head. We think by a horse.

Chris McDonald (MA 06) got a local access cable cooking show. Had to get a gimmick, so he planned his first show around a Kentucky Derby theme (don’t ask us why). Got a great deal on a pair of professional dressage boots on eBay. Show flopped. He died several years later, but since he never sent in his alumni notes, we’re not sure what he was doing at that time. Let that be a lesson to all of you to send in your alumni notes, so that when we write your obituary we’ll actually have a clue about what to say

Leanne Smith (MA 06) sold the movie rights for “Sadie’s Shop” but got into a fight on the movie set with the leading lady about wearing the improper hose with riding boots. Apparently the actress thought she said, “improper ‘hos get the boot. “ Leanne was found the next day wandering Sunset Boulevard mumbling something. She died several days later at the Orange County Hospital. (Ooops. Sorry. She’s still alive. My bad)

Nadi Bishop (MA 06) Despite having a name that 70 percent of white people cannot pronounce, Nadi was a successful poet after the debut of her first chapbook, “In these shoes, a sole sister.” She was arrested for allegedly stealing some expensive equestrian riding equipment. Oh, and she died.

Jimmy Michaels (??) Never went to East Carolina University, but dumped Dawn Wilson just when she thought they had a future together. After kicking her heart with his steel-toed boots and leaving her babbling on some therapist’s couch, he moved to Wisconsin. But that’s fine. We hear it’s really cold there.

Erica Plouffe-Lazure (MA 06) joined hoarders anonymous after playing bingo and round robin two, tree times a week---but not until after she won a jackpot worth about $500,000. She started buying strange things –a John Deere tractor, 5 motorcycles, 300 Pez dispensers, 20 horses, riding equipment and 451 copies of “Fahrenheit 451.”

Chris (we’re not sure which one) (MA 06) Arrested for stealing 50 copies of the movie “Armageddon” from a local video store. There’s a pending lawsuit about police brutality, claiming they left heel marks on his back. Settled out of court for some free food. Hypnotized people with his wonderful voice. ECU has placed a moratorium on the number of guys named Chris that can be in a class at the same time (Especially if they’re dead.)

Erica Plouffe-Lazure (MA 06) Erica’s dead, BTW. Forgot to mention that.

Dawn Wilson (MA 06) gained corporate success by becoming the national spokeswoman for Prozac. Career was fine until she stopped taking their product. Said something stupid during a press conference, and she’s stuck her foot in her mouth so much it’s like her tongue has got tread marks on it. And she died.

Luke Whisnant (professor) Haven’t heard from him in a while, but we’re pretty sure he’s dead, too. Went hiking somewhere near Mount Mitchell and bought all this swank camping gear and boots and crap and…we hear he died tragically…(as if there’s any other way to die?)


Dawn Wilson is a creative writing student from Asheville, NC. About “Alumni Obituaries,” she says, “Our seminar really challenged me to write outside my comfort zone. It takes courage to try something new. I was inspired by Donald Barthleme and Joyce Carol Oates, especially the way they bordered on the outlandish — and maybe even ridiculous — to create their stories. With ‘Alumni Obituaries,’ I wanted to breathe life into the cliche of walking in someone’s shoes. Fortunately, my classmates have been very gracious.”

Copyright 2005 by Dawn Wilson. Photo by David Weaver.