With your approval, McCallie Sports Camp would like to give a Smith Award in honor of Jeremiah and Drew. The award would go to the sports camper who has won the most sportsmanship and MVP awards combined during the session. The "Smith Award" would be our top camper award. The camper who wins the award will receive a plaque, and his name will be engraved on a plaque that will hang in the game room during camp and in my office during the year. This award would help us honor and always remember your boys as great sports campers. I hope you will approve.
John and I have been looking for the negative of the photo you mentioned of Jeremiah, and we have not found it. We will continue to look.
Our prayers and thoughts are with you, and if there is anything we can do for you please call. Take care.
Coach Mike Wood
It has been five and a half years. Many things have happened during these five and half years. Time usually makes people forget, good and bad; yet I never have forgotten and never will forget my two good friends, Drew and Jeremiah.
Drew and Jeremiah are like my two brothers, two younger brothers that I always wanted to have. We've had such good times together, but how time flies when you are having a good time. When they left us five and a half years ago, I not only lost two good friends, but also two brothers who are a part of my life which I could never have again. I think of Drew and Jeremiah often, I have even seen them in my dreams. I will never forget their smiles in my dreams. I know now that they are in a place, happy and peaceful. I also know now that they will forever watch over us and will always be remembered by those whose lives they have touched. I am thankful that they were a part of my live, a most memorable part.
I will always remember Drewís smile, that ďsignatureĒ smile. I remember that day when he introduced himself to me in the library on McCallie school campus, he had that smile. I remember when he played football with Jeremiah, Jordan and me upstairs in the attic and he scored a touch down, he had that smile. I remember that day when we took a ride to Lexington in his new red Miata, he had that smile. I remember that day when he graduated from high school, he had that smile. Whenever I saw him with Erin, he always had that smile. That smile can make everyone's darkest days seem brighter. Drew was probably the nicest and most easy-going person I have ever seen. Drew was unique. He was sincere, friendly, and hard working, and always had a passion for rock and roll. I never have any doubts that he would one day become a famous rock star. Before I came to the U.S., I never really knew any American bands. It was Drew who introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Guns Ní Roses, AerosmithÖ To this day, whenever I hear a song by Guns Ní Roses, I would see Drewís smile before my eyes.
Anyone who has ever met Jeremiah will probably never forget him. He was always beaming with warmth, energy and talent. In fact, he had so many talents that I had a hard time imagine what he would be when he grows up. But I knew everything is possible, a successful businessman, a top sports star like Tiger Woods, although not just in golf, but in many other sports such as skiing or basketball as well, or a rock star. Jeremiah loved his drums and he was an excellent piano player. He was such a quick learner and probably one of the smartest person I have ever seen. Once I saw him doing algebra homework and I taught him a few tricks, he grasped those in less than five seconds while some of the students I tutored in college never did grasp those concepts. Jeremiah had such an out-going, witty and charming personality that no one could forget. I remember the day when he rushed downstairs to greet me. I remember that Fourth of July, at his birthday party, I was sick, he came to see me with many of his friends. I remember all the fun we had in New York City with his best friend JohnÖ
I was in denial for a quite a while when Drew and Jeremiah left us. I could not believe that they have left us. And then I was very depressed and very sad. I did not know what to think, what to do or what to say, just very sad. Over the years, I gradually learned to understand, but I still constantly missed them. Drew and Jeremiah, and their love for live have inspired me in so many ways. Now I understand that Drew and Jeremiah never really left us, they are still among us. Their presence is everywhere. Their smiles live on, in our memories and will always be a part of our lives.
How and when does one define the loss of innocence? How do you narrow down a period of time when you go from being a child to a man? When you realize there is a bigger world out there than your little universe?
My name is Sendil Krishnan and I can do it, I can define the single moment in my life when my world changed. It was July 23, 1992, when one of my closest friends in the whole world died. His name was Drew Smith.
It truly was the best of times. In May of 1992, we graduated from high school. It wasnít just a normal graduation. Drew, myself, and over a hundred of our friends were leaving the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. For three years, we all hung out in the dorms, becoming more than friends, becoming brothers. We all knew more about each other than some of us even wanted to. By May, life for Drew and myself was at one of the highest points it had ever been. We were both headed for wonderful schools, Drew to Rhodes, myself to Johns Hopkins. We were both dating wonderful people and although I hadnít realized it at the time, Drewís love for Erin was beyond anything I had known. And it was time to go.
As I said in May, we graduated. A bittersweet experience, and I donít remember if I understood what it would mean, how we wouldnít be a daily part of each otherís lives. Afterwards, we kept in touch. I talked to Drew at least once a week, and in June, I saw him again when I visited Chattanooga. He was with Erin still, and they seemed happy. We spent time together and on my last night, we said our good-byes. However, the next day we bumped into each other while visiting McCallie, just a passing hello. No formal good-byes this time, maybe a wave. It was the last time I saw him. In July, Drew called me often. He was nervous, and something was going on regarding Erin. She was visiting him and one night he called me about something important. I never returned that call. I myself was going to India for a family vacation. It was my little world remember? I could always talk to Drew after I got back in August. It wasnít until I returned to the States that I found out Drew asked Erin to marry him. At some point on some day, my parents told me. Someone called my house and talked to someone who called my family in India and they told me. Drew was killed in a car accident.
I remember closing my eyes and hurting and then locking it all away. I remember thinking I had to hold it together, for everyone elseís sake. I would be home two weeks later, and someone would need me to be there for them. I never once thought I would need someone. I would need someone because my best friend was dead. I didnít want to deal with it. I didnít. Two weeks later, I returned home. Drew was dead and so was his brother. The funeral had happened. All of his friends had mourned, and I was not there. I wasnít there for him. I donít know what happened that month of August. All I thought of was Drew. I isolated myself from everyone in high school. I wanted to just get away. Drew was my friend, my best friend, my brother. And he was gone.
I couldnít wait until college started. It would be a chance for me to start life over. It was denial, pure and simple. But what was I to do? Drew and I had gone to prom together. I was there when he and Erin first went to dinner together. Nothing would be the same. That first semester, I hurt. Every second of every day, I thought of him. In time, the hurt grew less, and I was able to get on with my life. I talked again to my high school friends and to Erin and I put things back together. In time, I made peace with Drew and his memory and his death. And now five and a half years later, I am writing this. I am not the same, and I will never forget him. How can someone understand that someone older than you will now and forever be at an age while you get older and experience life?
I have never visited Drew and his brother, Jeremiah, where they are buried, and someday, I will. I talk to his family more often, and it hurts less than it did. A picture of Drew and Erin is on my desk, and Iíve had it ever since I began school. He was my friend. I miss him.
The passing of lives and friendships can be a struggle that no one ever seems to get over. I suppose after quite a long time there is a need to go with what happens and take one day at a time. I donít think that I could grasp the thought of someone my age dying. It doesnít seem right. At least I can say that, others donít have the choice.
It was early one morning in July. The phone rang and my dad answered it in the other room. I couldnít hear what he was saying except a muffled, "Iíll tell her, sheíll be fine, donít worry." As I heard my dad hang up the phone, I began to get this terrible feeling in my stomach. I turned around to see my dad standing in the doorway of my room, his face was as pale as a ghost. As he sat down on my bed I could sense that something was not right. I canít ever remember seeing my dad the masculine person that he is, looking so scared. I remember him saying, "Joy, if there was ever a time in my life that I didnít feel that I could tell you something, it would be right now." I replied, "Dad you know that you can tell me." Dad said, "There was something bad that happened this morning. Two of your friends were in a car accident and things arenít good." I looked at him and said, "Dad, please tell me who it is. Are they going to be alright?" Dad looked down at the floor and said, "No, sweetheart they arenít. It was Jeremiah and Drew Smith. They were both killed." I replied, "What do you mean, Dad, what happened?" I began to sob. Dad consoled me and began telling me what had happened. He said, "Their car left the road on the way from a concert in Ohio early this morning. Drew fell asleep at the wheel and the car flipped over. Neither of them were wearing seat belts so they were thrown from the car." At that moment I didnít know exactly how to react except frightened. I couldnít understand why God felt that he needed to take two innocent teenagers from the lives of so many loving people.
I remember lying on my bed that night staring at the ceiling above me. Each thought that ran through my mind was of Jeremiah and Drew. I wondered what I could have done? Could I have saved their lives by protecting them or was this what was supposed to happen? I couldnít even imagine what their parents were thinking, what was going through their minds. I wanted to help them get through it but I didnít know if I could.
I sit and think of all the things that their fellow classmates remembered about them. There were so many times that we sat around together and all we did was talk and share precious memories of Jeremiah and Drew. Some remembered their dark brown hair and brown eyes while others remembered both of their energetic personalities. They were both really mischievous. Some people even mentioned their impersonations, they always watched movies and picked some actor to imitate. I remember how I admired Drewís integrity and his personality. He was always willing to help anyone in need and make them feel so loved in the process. I never will forget his long inspirational talks that he was always happy to give out. I also mentioned that Jeremiah was a person that could always say something funny just to make me laugh when I was down. He was the one that made the best impersonations. The one that I remember most was Freddie Krugar. He would dress up in this outfit and hide in the closet at their house and scare all of us. I couldnít believe that out of the two hundred or so people that knew the two of them each had something different to remember them by. I guess that goes to show their popularity and the effect that they had on people.
The funeral lasted about two hours. It was an Episcopalian service so there were several rituals performed during the service so it seemed the longer it took the tougher it became. I remember my mom squeezing my hand like a gift of strength to make it through the remainder of the service. Then the funeral procession traveled an hour to the graveside. I couldnít go because I felt that I had enough grief for one day.
Three years have passed now. Another era has moved by. Jeremiahís class graduated this year, my graduating class. It seems like things get better every day, but I still catch myself wondering what the exact reason was for them deciding to take that journey home that morning. There will always be that piece of emptiness that can never be repaired from the loss of two very important people.
I guess that I came to realize the importance of friendship when I lost the two of them. I also realized that there are thousands of automobile fatalities each year and most are the cause of not wearing a seat belt. I keep thinking, what if they were wearing their seat belts, would they be here today or would the same thing have happened? I guess that is one of Godís great secrets and no one will ever know. I still may want answers but I have to learn to accept the situation and go on with my life, thatís what they would want. It is one thing to have lost them but it is great to have the knowledge of two majestic angels looking over my shoulder.
Joy C. Tirey
Sendil Krishnan told me about this site, and I had to check it out. I found out about Drew and Jeremiah's death right before I boarded the plane to Germany for a year. I have regretted missing the funeral and losing contact ever since. Gradually we've been getting back in touch with each other throught the internet and are recreating our bonds from McCallie and GPS. It's been hard for many of us to face their deaths. During the class reunion this past year many of us were together in a hotel room: Dan Updike, Margaret Hebert, Sendil, Jeff Martin, Kevin Newman, my wife and myself, Ted Webster, and Erin. Sendil pulled out a photo album with all our old pictures that we haven't seen in over five years. When we got to the pictures of Drew, we all grew silent. Most of us never had a chance to actually face what had happened. Up until then it was some dream, a nightmare, that didn't exist in the real world. Thank you so much for putting up this site. I remember Drew having some of those childhood pictures in his room. Jeff Martin has a site dedicated to Drew (www.cococo.net/pub/jeffrey), and I have a link to this site on my McCallie page (www.bama.ua.edu/~mcphe002/mccallie.htm). We all thank you for creating this site.
Let me wrestle with memories
Rooted deep within my being
That I have cast away, away
After the War of Fight
How I remember the young struggles
The jealousy and competition
When whole galaxies we juggled
And life was more than
He was my friend in golden fields
Who left before the rain
Tempered me and now he shields
Arrows of this worldís
His memory is a warm confusion
Defining all I am and am to be
His rebirth was a conclusion
Of this childís way
And now he grows within me
Demanding room he spreads my wings
Brotherly, be bends my knee
So I can listen as Jeremiah sings.
(Written on July 23, 1997, the fifth anniversary of the death of Jeremiah and Drew Smith by Jeremiahís close friend Chris Lauer.)