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In Memory of Norberto "Willie" Ortero (SHY147)
by COS 207

It was 1975, freshman year of high school, and I would sit on my stoop drawing outlines when one day a kid who lived in my building stopped at my stoop. He said he did graffiti too but wanted to learn how to piece. Before I knew it he was at my stoop everyday. Before long we wanted to get off that stoop and get up. We would hitch on the back of a bus and go over to E.J. Korvettes on Bruckner Blvd. and rack up. I wanted to be him after awhile. He had a certain presence, he knew things I didn't know. I was walking like him, talking like him, I was even smoking the same cigarettes as him, KOOLS.

The man was SHY147, I prefer to remember him as Willie. To most he was intimidating, but to me he was the brother I never had. He looked out for me. He always had a kiss for my mom. He always made everybody laugh even if you were mad at him. Sometimes I wish I had stayed mad at him. I wish I had understood him more and his pain. Maybe, just maybe he would be with us today. But we were all young and didn't know there was a monster waiting around the corner waiting to pick us at random.

Around late '84 I was up from North Carolina on a 96 hour pass from the Marines and I visited with SHY. It was SHY, MIN, and myself. And I remember just sitting in Washington Square Park and talking about ol' times and piecing and how there was an electricity in the air that everything was going to be alright. You see I was coming home soon and everything would be like it was... ROCSTARS forever. A few weeks later I received a letter from KEL stating that SHY has passed away. I couldn't understand why. My brother was gone and I wanted to know why. How can a man so full of life leave us like this.

After 15 years I know my brother is at peace and is right beside GOD.



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