They were young and full of plans.
Channel Dorsey was eager to start pre-kindergarten; her sister, 7-year-old Keisha Dorsey, was ready to break the boys' hearts. Their cousin, 8-year-old Darian Hough, wanted to learn how to swim and his younger sister, Jasmine Little, was set to go to kindergarten.
Those plans will never be fulfilled. All four children were killed yesterday when a car veered off the road and plowed into them at a Woodlawn bus stop.
"Why does God let some children grow up, but not these?" said a weeping Valerie Sweat Miller, the great-aunt and baby sitter of the four children killed yesterday.
The Dorsey children's mother, Kim Linair Dorsey, also was killed, and Mrs. Dorsey's stepson Charles Jr., 8, was injured. Another woman, unrelated to the family, was injured.
The children were heading to Mrs. Miller's apartment on Aisquith Street in East Baltimore, where she was to care for them while their mothers worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She had planned to take the children swimming at the Chick Webb Recreation Center. Instead, Mrs. Miller was called by police and found herself watching in horror as rescue workers lifted the bodies of Jasmine and then Keisha off the ground.
"They were like my babies," Mrs. Miller said later at her home as she ran her hand over a photograph of some of the children.
She wept as she looked through clothing the children had left at her home: Channel and Keisha's flowered bathing suits, Darian's gray sweat pants. On the floor were several children's books and crayons.
She picked up a plastic bag filled with Darian's toy action figures. "I told him today I was going to teach him to swim," she said of the boy, who was to enter third grade at Johnnycake Elementary School.
Since June, Mrs. Miller had been a baby sitter for the six children, including Darian's brother Michael, who was not injured in the accident, and stepcousin Charles Edgar Dorsey V, 8, who was critically injured.
Smiling, Mrs. Miller recalled 4-year-old Jasmine's sweet shyness and how she always had her fingers in her mouth.
Channel, who knew her address and phone number at age 3, was the one with the beautiful eyes, Mrs. Miller said, adding, "If you seen her, you would have fallen in love with her."
Keisha, the outgoing one, "would make friends with anyone," Mrs. Miller said. Keisha would have started third grade at Johnnycake Elementary School in the fall.
Friends and relatives gathered yesterday and remembered the young victims.
In the Woodlawn apartment complex where the victims lived, Samone Johnson, 14, said she was a close friend of Keisha and Channel.
They sometimes spent the night at her apartment, she said. The girls loved to watch cartoons, play with stuffed animals and climb atop a bunk bed in the apartment.
"I was like a big sister to them," she said. "When they came outside, I would watch them. I would take them inside and give them ice cream.
"They were sweet little girls. They had manners."
Calvin Dorsey said he keeps seeing the image of his nieces, Keisha and Channel, as they appeared at his wedding six weeks ago.
"I can picture my brother's daughters walking down the aisle as my flower girls," he said, weeping uncontrollably after arriving yesterday afternoon at the Woodlawn police precinct to support his brother, Charles.
"I'm just asking for God's help in dealing with this tragedy because it's just not fair," said Calvin Dorsey, who had just come from visiting his nephew, nicknamed Chas, who was at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "Things like this shouldn't happen."
A memorial fund for the victims has been set up. Contributions can be sent to the Dorsey/Field Fund, c/o Bryan H. Potts at 1102 Court Square Building, Baltimore 21202.