Nicki Weisensee Egan, PA

Premium Writer

An award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist and the author of Chasing Cosby, Nicki has covered some of the nation’s biggest stories. She was a senior writer at PEOPLE magazine where she specialized in stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and a crime investigative writer at the Philadelphia Daily News. She has a master’ degree in criminal justice and is about to publish her second book. Nicki moved around the East Coast a lot for her father’s job as a child and now lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, two dogs and cat.

As a Story Terrace writer, Nicki interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

My Childhood Ended that Day

I can still hear my mother’s screams.

It was around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 18, 1984. I was 16 years old, in the middle of my junior year in high school, when the phone rang in my parents’ bedroom, jolting me out of a deep, peaceful slumber.

“It’s probably Billy wanting to come home,” I thought to myself, by now more than used to the chaos my older brother brought into our lives.

Just two months before my parents had finally thrown up their hands, at an utter loss about what to do with him. He was 19 years old and drifting through life in a haze of alcohol and drugs. He’d already been in three drunk-driving accidents. After the most recent one he somehow managed to walk the mile back to our house. He’d forgotten his keys, so he rang the doorbell. Though it was 3 o’clock in the morning I answered it and found him standing there bleeding, the top of his nose peeled off by the impact of the crash.

Not long after that my parents took my grandparents up on their offer to have him come live with them in Vero Beach, Florida, where they spent the winters. But they soon tired of his drinking and carousing too and kicked him out. They helped him find an apartment; he got a job and had started attending community college so it seemed like he might finally have gotten himself on track.

But I didn’t trust this latest turnaround. How could I? He’d done this time and again over the past seven years; promising to do better and keeping that promise for a while before falling into his old bad ways.

So that’s why I thought this phone call was him calling to ask my parents if he could move back home. It would fit his usual pattern of behavior.

But then I heard my mother cry out, “No! No! No!” through the walls that separated my bedroom from theirs. A few moments later my father came to tell me the news.

My brother had died in a drunk-driving accident. He’d passed out at the wheel after drinking a quart of vodka and a case of beer. His car had flown over the canals that run parallel to some of the roads in that part of Florida and smashed into a small bridge.

My childhood ended that day.

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