From my current memoir-in-progress:
There must have been something too, about the child Etan Patz, or maybe about his plight. This was the six-year-old boy who disappeared in lower Manhattan, it was 1979, while walking to the school bus stop – on his own for the first time. He most certainly was kidnapped; his photo was in all the papers and on posters all over the city for weeks and months and then years. While I was working in New York at the Times, I was often on the subway on my way to an assignment, and in the rocking motion of the cars and this forced downtime, I would scan the faces of the people on the other side of the car and daydream a bit, as everyone must. And sometimes I would try to imagine if I would recognize Etan Patz, as an adolescent, as a teenager. Would I be able to spot that particular upturned smile? Could I recognize him and grab him and say, I know you; you are Etan Patz, you were taken away by a bad person, but your mother is still looking for you. Do you remember? And I’d pull him out of his bewilderment and restore him to his mother. It bothered all of us New Yorkers terribly, that story.