Valden J Ellis Interview about Wade W Ellis
Contributor: Pianomom3 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Wade W. Ellis is my uncle whom I never got to meet. He was born in Idaho falls, Idaho on October 8, 1970 and lived to be seventeen years old. He passed away before graduating from high school. So I decided to interview my dad, Valden J. Ellis, to learn more about him and I want to share the story he shared with me when I asked him what a spiritual experience was that he had with his brother, and this is what he said: “When Wade was sick with cancer, he had a brain tumor on the right side of his head that caused the loss of the left limbs, he couldn't use them well; I don’t know if you call this a spiritual experience or just the love of a brother. But he loved to ski; that was the thing he and I loved to do the most in high school. We didn't have enough money to go very often and we didn't own our own skis, but that’s what we wanted to do.
And in fact, when he first discovered he had cancer, he was up skiing and he couldn't get his left boot on, he was really struggling with it, and all day long and he would fall over when usually he was a pretty good skier and had control of his skis, so that’s when we first started looking into it to find out that he had cancer. It took a while to discover it, but that was the first clue. Anyway, in our family, when a kid would get his Eagle Scout badge, our parents would buy us something that was worth a few hundred bucks and it was a big deal. When I got my eagle scout I wanted a stereo. I got this pretty decent sized stereo and played records and cassettes. And when Wade got his eagle, he had already had cancer and a few surgeries, he could hardly even walk with braces and things so the family was pretty certain he was never going to be able to ski again and wasn't going to even live very long. So computers had just come out, not many people had them at the time, in 1983-4. But he was really good with computers. We got this commodore 64 computer; it was a piece of crap, a flip top phone probably has more ram on it then these did, but my aunt Jane got one probably for nothing and gave it to us. You could hardly do anything on it, but somehow Wade took that thing and found a way to connect it to a cassette recorder and he somehow made a game, I don’t know how he did it, but he made a maze game.
I think he was probably going to be a future computer whiz had he not gotten caner and died. So we thought for sure he was going to want his own home computer for his eagle; and with him pretty much bed ridden half the time and not being able to get out and had to be in a wheelchair eventually, we all knew he should just get a computer, and sometimes I wished he had. But he wanted snow skis. My mom tried to talk him out of it...he insisted on the skis. She tried many times and suggested a computer, and of course everyone knew he’d love one; but he wanted the snow skis and wanted his name engraved on them. So she got them, and they were engraved right underneath where you step into your boot, and he just gave them to me.
Everybody knew he was never going to use them, but he said ‘The only thing I want is for you to go skiing and then come home and tell me all about it, tell me what you did and walk me through your day’, so I did and I’d come home late at night from Targhee sometimes after and he’d be in bed and would wake up while I was getting into bed; I wouldn't turn the lights on or anything he’d just know and ask, ‘How was it, tell me all about it’. So I’d spend the next hour telling him how my day skiing was and I’d have to make it out to be more fun than it really was just to make it more exciting for him. I’d tell him I did all these jumps and flips; I didn't like jumps but I’d tell him I did just so he’d go ‘whoa’…yeah I lied, but it was worth it cause he liked the stories. That might not be classified as a spiritual experience, but it is to me. Because it just showed how much he loved me. It’s a very moving experience for me.”