Sorry, guys. I know I’m slacking and letting you down. For what it’s worth it would seem I’m letting everyone else down, too. I don’t know what is wrong with me this week, this month, this year.
There’s good news in the missing persons world, as told to me by a blog commenter: Zephany Nurse, an infant who was snatched from the hospital in Cape Town, South Africa shortly after birth, has been found alive and well and living only a few miles from home. She and her biological sister even attended the same school and apparently bore a striking resemblance to each other. The woman who abducted Zephany has been charged with kidnapping and fraud, and Zephany has been reunited with her parents.
It must be a very difficult time for the girl. She’s 17, old enough to know what this is about, and she’s got to be very upset by it all. I hope she gets lots of therapy.
This morning’s Executed Today entry: Harriet Parker, who murdered her lover’s two children to spite him. To be fair, her lover had treated her terribly, but if she was going to kill anyone it should have been him and not his kids.
The first one I didn’t really write; it’s just a broadsheet I came across. I was unable to dig up any more information on this case. The second was also written largely by someone else, a Austrian-Jewish writer named Oskar Rosenfeld; my contribution was basically an introduction to what he wrote. If you’re interested in the Holocaust I highly recommend Oskar’s book, In the Beginning Was The Ghetto. It’s just fascinating; I’ve read it twice even though I don’t own a copy of my own. I wish I did.
Well, all the death business is over and I have returned home. It was rather trying for me. The Lianezes are very friendly folks; I have yet to meet a hostile or indifferent person among them. But the fact is, Michael and his parents excepted, I know them only by sight and/or by name or not at all. I felt out of place. I had never been to a Catholic funeral mass either, though it was easy enough to just stand when everyone stood, sit when they sat, and bow my head silently when they prayed.
I look forward to rolling up my shirtsleeves and getting back to work.
Selected by Kat. I was going through old blog entries from years ago and I found one from before Select It Sunday was even a thing, where Kat commented and asked me to run Georgia Ann Clock Smith as my MP of the week. I’ll do this instead.
Georgia is typical of a certain profile of MP on Charley: an elderly person with dementia who may have just wandered away. She was on a trip to her summer home, over 100 miles. Her car was never recovered. The most likely theory is that she got lost, either because her usual route was blocked or because of her Alzheimer’s or both, and got into a car accident.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Mary Patricia Burns, missing since December 13, 1977 from Bothell, Washington. It’s pretty obvious what happened: she was abducted at gunpoint while working alone in a boutique. The police even have a suspect in her disappearance, but he died in 1979 while serving a 240-year prison sentence for another robbery/kidnapping. All that remains is to find Ms. Burns’s body. I doubt they ever will.
Michael’s grandfather, Louis, died about an hour and a half ago. As I understand it his death was sudden but not unexpected; he was ninety years old, after all. He leaves behind four sons, one daughter and umpteen grandchildren and great-grandchildren and two infant great-great-grandchildren. Michael’s other grandfather and both his grandmothers are all dead also. They died before I ever met him.
Tomorrow my dad and I are going to visit the Cleveland Museum of Natural History where Dad is their associate curator of paleobotany. His duties for this honorary, unpaid position consist of examining and cataloging their collection of plant fossils, which is going to take several years. Every couple of months he goes to Cleveland and takes home several boxes of fossils, looks at each one under a microscope and identifies it, and when he’s done he returns the fossils to the museum and they give him some more. This time I’m coming along for the ride and we will go see the museum properly; I’ve never been there before.
Anyway, I expect I won’t get back until quite late in the evening; it’s an eight-hour drive round trip. I offered to change my plans and go to Michael’s parents’ place to help out in any way that I can, since he cannot due to work. Michael said that wasn’t necessary, though. He said to go to the museum and come and take care of his father after I get back. He also plans to loan them our cat for a week or so; both of Michael’s parents adore Carmen and I’m sure she’ll make them feel better.
I didn’t know Louis all that well (I think we met no more than a dozen times in as many years), but I liked him well enough. He was a good man. I remember interviewing him for an assignment for one of my history courses when I was sixteen or seventeen, and he told me about his World War II experiences (he was in the Navy on the Pacific front) and having to deal with racist people (Michael’s family is Hispanic).
Sigh. This has put me in quite a pensive mood. When a person dies all their stories die with them, all the things they saw and experiences they had, and everything they thought and felt about it all. Ninety years on this earth equals a lot of stories. Right now I am wishing I had known more of his.
This week’s featured MP is Eric M. Apatiki, a young man who disappeared from Nome, Alaska on October 5, 2004 — my birthday, and one week before the Charley Project’s grand opening. I don’t have much on Apatiki’s disappearance, although he did leave behind a pregnant girlfriend.