16 September 2010
My Uncle Gordon
He had a debilitating stutter.
As the oldest of six, he bore the brunt of the physical and verbal abuse doled out by his father, my great-grandfather.
So he stuttered.
And he lived alone.
Gordon worked as a pilot in Alaska, flying hunting parties to obscure locations.
In the late spring of 1955, he dropped a party off on an Alaskan island.
Flying back, there was a storm. He crashed into the mountainside and died. It took three weeks to find the hunters he'd dropped off; by that time they were on the verge of death themselves.
My great-aunt Cherry, the youngest of the six kids, kept his two kittens.
A friend had given him the cats that spring, to keep him company.
My mom wasn't born until 1957, so everything I know about him, I know from his siblings.
And from the picture in my parents' hallway.