After putting aside for several months my novel-in-process based on events in my father’s life, Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time, I came back to it. I went through it page by page. Made some minor changes. Leanne my editor did a copy edit. Ready for layout.
So what am I waiting for? Is it perhaps that I’ve lost some of the energy and enthusiasm? Or is it that I can’t face actually publishing and sharing the book and what that entails? So just put it aside and pretend I’ve done it.
With the help of my spouse, Jim, we did the layout in InDesign and submitted it to Lulu in mid January. I ordered a proof copy. Now at the end of January it never arrived. So I ordered another copy for the final proof reading.
Here’s the front cover:
The photo is of my father W. Lon Hutchison on the left, his sister Margery and brother Jack. Lon was the first born. I believe this picture was taken in Tulsa, Oklahoma about 1917.
More soon on planned launches later this year in Canberra, Australia, Oakland, California, Kansas City, Missouri, and Vinita, Oklahoma. Watch this space!
Please keep in touch if you would like to attend any of the book launches. Thanks!
Poems in the haze of bushfires
25-27 December 2019
Camping at Pinch River, Kosciusko National Park NSW
25 December 2019
Blue sky above
after weeks of
The world on fire
or at least
a continent on fire
The glory of clouds
only visible when
against blue sky
as a red ball
grey smoke haze
The sounds of
and the cicadas
In the stream
water rushing over
a rock dam
Orange ball sun
Shrouded in smoke haze
White tipped wings
when in flight
Waiting in trees
Will they drink
at the stream
if I leave
Dried up forest
Two juvenile roos
Forage by the creek
Stream colour changes
brown green gold
Boulder colour changes
grey blue orange pink
The sun decides
In Tulsa Oklahoma in the 1925 probate records of my grandfather, E.S. Hutchison (the murdered “Love Pirate”), I discovered that W. Lon Hutchison, my father, the firstborn child, had been disinherited by his father. Many decades later, my father did the same to his firstborn child – me. In this family history, I found a pattern of revenge and rejection that I want to change.
That’s why I went on this journey – to uncover the mysteries of my father’s life as a basis for reconciliation. The journey has an end point: writing a novel, Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time, based on events in my father’s life.
Continuing my search for information, I left Tulsa, Oklahoma and drove to Krebs. I could hardly tell where the larger town of McAlester Oklahoma ended and the tiny town of Krebs began, except for a sign, The City of Krebs welcomes you.
My father was born in Krebs in 1907, when Oklahoma was still Indian Territory. Today Krebs is a very small town in what was once coal country.
The population of Krebs is about 2,000. Because of several restaurants and a specialized grocery story, Krebs has chosen the nickname “Little Italy”.
According to Wikipedia, Krebs was founded in the late 1800s. The first post office was established in 1886. The town began as a coal-mining camp, housing European immigrants who came to work in the mines.
On January 7, 1892, an explosion in the Osage Coal & Mining Company’s No. 11 mine killed 100 workers and injured another 150.
Here’s a photo of the memorial to that explosion listing all those killed in the coal mine explosion.
I visited the Krebs Heritage Museum, a hodgepodge of stuff from peoples’ attics. I found a record of the birth of the Gilpin girls – my grandma’s maiden name, but nothing more. I bought a tee shirt of the Krebs Heritage Museum and went to look for a cheap motel to spend the night.
The next day I left Krebs to drive back to Vinita to find out if the woman at the Forensic Center had found any records relating to my dad… She hadn’t.
Weary of travel and digging for information, feeling somewhat frustrated, I drove back to my friends’ home, outside Lawrence, Kansas.
I had gone to the Tulsa County Court House to try to find out more about my grandfather’s killer. Instead at an annex, I found probate records of my grandfather’s estate. I was surprised by the size of my grandfather’s estate, (over $200,000, a sizable fortune in 1925) and that he had disinherited his first born child, my father.
Disappointed that I hadn’t been able to find out more about my grandfather’s killer, my next stop was nearby – the Roseville Cemetery.
Through online records I found out that my father had been buried at the Roseville Cemetery. I got there while the cemetery was open, but the office was closed. In the very extensive grounds, I could not find my family’s burial plot. There was no guiding information posted. It would have to wait for the next day.
The next morning, the office was open and I got directions to my family’s burial plot. With some difficulty, I eventually found the Hutchison family plot. The Hutchison plot was right next to the Purdy family plot, which was the surname of my grandfather’s killer.
I avoid cemeteries and have never attended a funeral, but I stayed awhile, talking out loud with everyone who is buried there, including my dad. There were gravestones for my grandfather, grandmother, great uncle, uncle, aunt and my father.
I went from grave to grave, greeting each person. I spoke with each of them and shared what I was doing. I told them I was researching my father’s history to understand the man I didn’t know and that I was writing a novel, Tracking the Human, based on events in his life. I explained to them that my project was a work in progress for reconciliation for all of us.
Driving out of the Rosehill Cemetery, I noticed a gun shop and firing range directly across the street.
My next stop would be Krebs, Oklahoma, a very small town just outside McAlester Oklahoma, where my father was born in 1907. I had no particular leads, but thought I would go and take a look at his birthplace.