ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fifty years later

Cuzzin Annie,

My father’s current haunt. Er, whereabouts.

Before we get into this, let’s take a trip back into the past.

When I was a sprat of ten or so and spurned my step-dad’s efforts to legally adopt me, he became very, very angry and told me that if what I wanted was my real father, I should look him up in Dearborn, Michigan. I was stunned to hear that being that my mom repeatedly claimed she had no idea of what had become of my father after the kidnapping incident in Florida. Time passed.

After my mom passed away, I scrolled through this little green address book she always had in her purse, seemingly forever. And listed in there was an interesting name and phone number: Martha Maser, XXX-XXXX...Dearborn, Michigan. And if you remember, Martha was his new love interest and my custodian during the majority of the kidnapping period. My interest piqued, I called the number fully expecting it to have been disconnected some decades ago.

Instead, it rang. And a man answered. After I asked to speak to Martha only to be told she had just stepped out, the man asked who was calling. And when I said my name, he said “no sh*t” after a lengthy pause. It was Gerald, Martha’s son who had actually lived with me when we were on the lam.

He told me that Gene and Martha had divorced in 1982, and that he, Gene, was headed off to Seattle, presumably to seek a position with Boeing. What I have learned during the past couple of days is that Gene probably never made it all the way to Seattle.

When I found the booking photo from Oregon, I emailed the Benton County sheriff’s department, the very folks who had taken Gene into custody and charged him with criminal trespass. I provided them all the pertinent facts and requested a response. Over a week passed with no response and I figured it was worth a shot, even if it didn’t deliver the desired result. But this past Thursday, the arresting officer from Benton County, Everson XXXXXXX, gave me a buzz.

Benton County has approximately 60,000 residents, with two cities armed with police departments. The remainder of the backwoods county is policed by the sheriff’s department. Everson is the one and only Forest Patrol Deputy, with tracking as well as search and rescue a couple of his primary responsibilities while patrolling well off the beaten path.

He encountered Gene on a railroad property of some sort, and after Gene refused to identify himself, he was taken into custody and transported to the county jail in Corvallis where he refused to speak, but ate like a pig. When asked if he had ever been arrested, he said he hadn’t been. But after his fingerprints were taken and run through the computer, an ages old kidnapping charge from Florida came back to bite him on the ass.

Anyway, once he was outed, he told the sheriff that he and his female sidekick---Lisa Ahne---have been living in the mountainous forests of Alsea, Oregon for the past thirty years. They have constructed a series of heavily camouflaged bunkers of sorts, and they hurriedly shuffle from spot to spot to spot when civilization comes infringing on their bucolic turf.

I’m told that Gene does not collect social security, but he does construct woodsy ornaments which he and his honey trade for supplies down at John Boy’s “Alsea Mercantile” in the unincorporated outcropping of a few buildings in a nowhere town named Alsea. In addition, Lisa is said to have a P.O. box number in town, a number that the sheriff said he will work to acquire and pass along to me. He also told me that while Gene looks a little worse for wear, his mind is still sharp.

This is where I’m at.

Despite Peace’s best efforts, she couldn’t come close to finding my dad. But after the conversation I had with Gerald twenty years ago and the advent of the Internet, I always concentrated the bulk of my search efforts on the Pacific Northwest, the heart of Boeing Country.

And now that I finally know where he lurks, I’m supremely proud of the fact that through tireless efforts spanning more than a decade, I did it. I found him. And as you and I both knew all along, he never expected nor intended to be found.

He had the well-heeled parents, the multiple university degrees, the air force stint, the electrical engineering patents, the senior engineer guided-missile exploits and the like, while all I had was a fading black ‘n’ white booking photo. And after thirty years of intentionally being off any known grid, I found him.

Who’s the genius now?



D.B. Echo said...

Holy crap.

Honestly, that's a far better outcome than that booking photo from last year led me to believe. I saw a strung-out crazy old man and thought that he had left his marbles unattended a long, long time ago. This...this sounds like he's got resourcefulness, and from the report of a sharp mind, perhaps he's held onto said marbles.

I don't know if this gives you closure or opens up new quest opportunities. Any plans to acquire one of those woodsy ornaments?

Congratulations. I was once able to extract the identity - and learn the fate - of a random individual from a partial tattoo visible on her arm. But I doff my cape and cowl and bow ever-so-slightly in acknowledgement of your superior Batman-level detective skills.

Mark Cour said...

As far as closure is concerned, I'm thrilled, I'm saddened and I am thoroughly annoyed.

When I was a boy being physically, verbally and mentally abused by my first step-dad, I yearned for my father. I watched for him. I waited for him. I knew he'd come and finish what he started.

And now I learn he was much more interested in slipping far under the radar and staying there than making like an adult with real life responsibilities?

And it's not just about me. The aforementioned Cuzzin Annie from out west there a ways has always wondered, as did her mom and her/my grandmom before her.

You nailed it with the woodsy ornaments question. I will get one. I have the phone number of the general store as well as the post office.

It's like this...He never made contact. He never paid child support. He was never there for me. My sister Rebecca is in a grave because of him. And now, at this late date, even if I have to drive to Oregon and scale a few hills, he will answer my many questions.

The way I see it, he at least owes me that miniscule pittance.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mark, do you have an email address where you can be contacted? Wanted to email you about your father. Such a fascinating story!

Mark Cour said...