If I had the time, I could report and write countless stories in follow-up to the more than 6,400 columns I’ve produced for the Sunpapers of Baltimore, morning and evening, since January 1979. I could compose a series of epilogues, telling you how things turned out for that boy who was arrested at age 8 for possession of cocaine (he’s doing fine) or that firefighter who, by wits and fitness, escaped death on a burning pier in Fells Point back in the 1980s (he’s probably retired by now).

Sometimes, you avoid learning the outcomes because you fear the worst. My reporting for this weekend’s column started out that way.

Years ago, I wrote a story about a Baltimore church’s celebration of the one-year sobriety of Curtis Sigler, a skid row alcoholic who used to sleep on the church steps. The editors of The Evening Sun ran the story on the front page, with a large photo of Curtis. An older Sun colleague, a regular at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, warned me that celebrating someone’s sobriety comes with a heavy caution: Relapse happens, and the fall from grace can be harder than the original sin. And for Curtis it was; he ended up on skid row again, despite his best efforts to stay sober, and his struggles and death remain profound memories of my early years in Baltimore.

Conscious of all that, I still think readers will be pleased with what I’ve learned about the recovering drug addict Aeric “Bubby” McCoy, the subject of this column five and a half years ago.

It’s a story of resilience, perseverance, friendship, trust and the power of small events to spark big changes in peoples’ lives. McCoy found a stolen purse on a vacant lot where he had gone to shoot heroin. Instead of selling it for badly needed cash, he found his way across Baltimore to return the purse to its owner, Kaitlyn Smith, and that gesture changed both their lives.

2 thoughts on “Epilogue: Story of the stolen purse five years later

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