Tombstone Silver

Crazy Eddie

Crazy Eddie died in 1929 and it's pretty safe to say that no one was sorry to see him go. Then his story was told...

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It was April, 1929, when Crazy Eddie passed on. Eddie owned a small house between Tombstone and Benson and it's pretty safe to say that no one was sorry to see him go. Once a land developer from Phoenix had offered a lot of money to several families out that way, but Eddie fowled the deal when he refused to sell.

They call him "Crazy" because he would come to Tombstone a couple of times a month for supplies, and he carried on quite the conversation with an imaginary friend named Elizabeth while he was in town. He would mumble something to Elizabeth, wait for a short while, and then laugh at some joke only he heard. He would often barter with a merchant over some babble, pause, and then crank his head around and mumble, "If you say so," and then turn and pay the merchant. Like I said: crazy.

After Crazy Eddie died there were no family or friends, so the court appointed a Mr. Sappington to go through Eddie's things. He later told his friends that Eddie's house was surprising. As gruff and unkempt as Eddie was, the house was immaculate. There wasn't a spot of dust or dirt anywhere inside; and the furniture was perfect antique, about 40 years old. The living room, dining room, and kitchen looked like someone had stopped time about 40 years earlier; the paintings on the wall, even the doilies on the couch were perfectly maintained. No one would have imagined that Crazy Eddie would live like that.

As Mr. Sappington cleaned out Crazy Eddie's bedroom, he found a journal on a small writing desk. He opened it and began to read. It seemed that Crazy Eddie had recorded all of the days of his life for about 40 years. As Mr. Sappington read his story, he began to understand Crazy Eddie.

Crazy Eddie had married Elizabeth in 1880 in west Texas. They had come to the Arizona territory together seeking a new life for the young married couple and the child that Elizabeth carried. They found the perfect place near the Dragoon Mountains about halfway between Benson and Tombstone. They bought a bit of land and Crazy Eddie built a house for his young family. They had some furniture that they had brought with them from Texas and soon became comfortable in their new land.

They had been here for only a few months when Elizabeth caught smallpox, and that disease took both her life and that of her unborn child. Crazy Eddie was left alone.

Shortly after he had buried Elizabeth he was sitting at his kitchen table, staring at the floor, thinking about how unbearable his life had become; and he was thinking of ways to end it. He looked up and there, across from him, was his Elizabeth. She told him that she would always be there because that was her house. She said that she would always help Eddie; anytime he needed it. He only needed to ask. In return, he promised to keep the house just the way that she had left it.

Over the years Crazy Eddie and Elizabeth had many discussions over that kitchen table; and Elizabeth always assured Eddie that she would be there to help him. Once a wildfire broke out in the desert and for several days Eddie watched it grow closer to his house. During the day the smoke would blow in his direction and at night he could see the flames getting closer. When he spoke to Elizabeth that night he admitted that it looked like the house was about to burn to the ground, but she told him to take a shovel and axe and clear all of the brush from around the house. He complained that he was only one man, he couldn't do all of that in time. She told him he had to try; and she would help. That very night Crazy Eddie went outside and started clearing brush. If anyone had seen him work they would have said that he looked inspired; like he was doing the work of two people. In the end, the fire got very close to the house, but because of the fire break Eddie had cleared, his house was spared the flame.

In fact, Elizabeth seemed to be with Eddie every day; even when he would take care of banal tasks like shopping in Tombstone. They would walk down Allen Street laughing about things. When Elizabeth would spot some new lady's fashion in a window, she would ask Eddie if he could imagine her in that; and after a short pause, they would laugh about that ridiculous sight.

Eddie learned one day that some land developers from Phoenix were looking to buy property in his area. They were going to tear down all of the houses and build a new community. Eddie and his neighbors stood to make a good bit of money; but Eddie couldn't stand the thought of letting someone tear down Elizabeth's house. He talked to her about it that night and she told him that if he intended to resist then she would be there to help him.

One day, the doctors told Crazy Eddie that he had some condition whose name he couldn't pronounce; but they said it was incurable and would lead to his death in just a few months. Eddie couldn't tell Elizabeth what was on his mind when they sat and talked at the kitchen table that night. She asked what was wrong, and he just said, "Nothing." That was the first lie he had ever told her in more than 40 years of marriage.

Mr. Sappington turned the page and read the last entry in Eddie's journal, and he wasn't surprised. Eddie wrote: "Elizabeth, I'm getting old and can tell that it's about over. I'm having a lot of pain and it's hard to just get out of bed in the morning. I'm scared. You've helped me for more than forty years and I need to ask that you help me one more time. Please, bring me home."

Mr. Sappington replaced the journal on the writing table beside two simple gold wedding bands, one completely nestled inside the other; just the way Eddie had left them. The larger band was worn by forty years of life, but the small one seemed to be brand new. Mr. Sappington slipped those two wedding bands into his pocket. He wasn't sure what he would do with them, but he knew that he couldn't let Eddie and Elizabeth's rings be sold at auction.