Time is Running Out
I keep telling myself that time is running out. For nine months now, I’ve been trying to build a patchwork story around the significant murders that have occurred within my family, near my family.
Much of the story of my uncle Bruce is reliant on the memories of my father. All the rest of the family is now gone. And in my time with any of them, they rarely spoke of him or his passing.
Maybe at times, when my grandfather was lonely and drunk, late at night he would break into tears and through the gushing, tell me a little about my uncle. He would pull old articles from detective magazines and spread them out on the floor. At the time, I was too young to think much of it. I wish I had those magazines and articles now. I still remember the exploitative black and white pictures.
I had no idea that this would be a story, his story that would absorb me for some time. If only I had the forethought to record these conversations. But this was before cell phones or digital recorders. It would never have occurred to me to need to collect anything because in my youthful mind, everyone was going to live forever.
Now, with my father once again in the hospital - this time with his brain function impeded, I think that I may never have the chance to get to the bottom of all of this.
Who was Bruce Alan Peterson? What interested him? What made him interesting?
Was he gay or was this something crafted later, through the 50 years since his passing. Maybe as a way to explain away the ways my family chose to remember him. In 1971, I assume this would have landed flat. Either way, he may have been private.
If I could just have a little more time with my father, I would be more diligent and a lot more abrupt and aggressive about this. This is a story that needs to be recorded so that it won’t be lost.
With my father goes his whole family history. That feels too much to lose at this time.