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Seeing the mug

Bette’s Ocean View Diner

I think of

my mother

Bette Hutchison Silver


I am the connection

of every member

of our family

to my mother

Bette Hutchison Silver (date 1996?)

I am becoming

the connection

to my father


Constructing that connection

began seven years ago

after my mother’s death


Discovering documents

hidden in her attic


Researching online

to write

a book

that is and is not

the story of my father


So remember

through me

you are connected

and ever shall be


29 June 2018


Carpet shampooing

brings change of venue

Moving furniture

to shampoo carpets

Spring cleaning in winter

to welcome VIP visitors

Son and daughter in law

coming from Kenya

Sitting in the kitchen

with my computer

Different outlook

than at my desk


Sometimes I ride the bus

to the Canberra CBD*

or the Kingston public library**

to write

Not for inspiration

but for change

of venue

of thought

If I set out to write

some place other

than at home

I am a writer


What has brought

the most change is

support from two women

in our writers’ group

AND writing the blog

Life Expectancy:

searching for reconciliation***

Reliving the time and travel

to research about my father’s life


Writing the blog

makes the story

the book

I am writing

Life Expectancy

come alive

I recognize

my own commitment

appreciate it

accept it

and will continue

My father W. Lon Hutchison as a young man                  
photograph with artificial colour added


*Central Business District

**Kingston is a neighbourhood in Canberra, Australia

***Life Expectancy is the title of the fictional book I am writing, based on some events in my father’s life

A certain numbness

trying to recreate

a family

both living and dead

Thinking of

my brother Lon

my only brother

Four years ago today

Riding his bike

in Mazatlan, Mexico

Waiting on a street corner

for the light to change

A bus clipped him

Down and dead

within minutes

Charming, intelligent

talented, difficult

My brother Lon


Lon with wife Olivia, stepdaughter Josefina, 2000


where the wind comes

sweeping down the plain

Invaders of territory


in perpetuity

to displaced Cherokees

Snatched away

leaving only the washed up


failed elsewhere

to wait on the border

wagons lined up

the pistol shot


race to take over land

repossess the stolen

broken promises




to raise a family


extreme cruelty

three young children

barely beyond teen age


not promising soil

for raising a family

constant migration

mostly men

moving moving

looking for work


jumping on and off freight trains

not belonging



rough camaraderie

no questions asked

ethical code of hobos

persuade runaway children

return home

he refused

age 13

jumped a freight

joined the hobos

on his way to California


no writing for this blog for months

not that I’m not thinking about

my mother

my family

my brother

my sister, who recently died of cancer

my nephews

my sons

What is taking up all of my writing thoughts, time?

my father

working on a novel

based on events in his life

events I never knew about

events that appear in documents

as if he were a stranger

I am still trying to get to know him

45 years after he died Lon Hutchison young man

I have been writing

short pieces




Scanning books

upon books

upon books

Living in a different reality

that of my father

But not of my father

I am living it intellectually

He was living it viscerally



I feel phantoms

of pain

awareness of





being shut out

being kicked out

a reject

Yet with tremendous will

to be different

in his own life

using the template

of Christian Science


I have to start over

I will go through his life


with more depth

more understanding

Organize the research

get back into the routine

of writing


In a university seminar

a transitional community

with people

thinking of

talking about




like a jump into a cold river

on a hot day


Narrative joins the dots

between facts

The story of my father

Connections to find meaning

Calling out to my father

Come home, come home

it’s suppertime

Character development

a man chooses hope

a man chooses a template

a way of life to climb out of the depths

of the snake pit

Lon Hutchison young man


Bette Hutchison Silver, photo taken November 2010

Bette Hutchison Silver, November, 2010


I wasn’t there

for her birth day

March 10 1922

How could I be?

I am her daughter

I was there

for her death day

March 1 2011


I was there

when she asked

am I dying?

I was there

to tell her

yes, she was dying

I was there

to tell her

not to worry

everything was

taken care of

She could go

leaving us behind



Bette Snidow Hutchison and Pamela, 1945

Bette Snidow Hutchison and Pamela, 1945

Bette Hutchison Silver (date 1996?)

           Bette Hutchison Silver (date? 1996)

How to heal a hole

in the heart –

a weak spot

placed there

two generations ago.

Lack of love

lack of caring

lack of support

passed down

and across

the generations.

Talk of

mental illness

on both sides

of the family.

Hole in the heart

or hole in the head?

Lacking love

how to pass on

what you never had?

Turning to

Father Mother God

Loving me.

Heavenly love

could not heal the hole.

Material wealth

could not heal the hole.


Tucacas, Venezuela, sunset

Tucacas, Venezuela, sunset

Start practicing love

Everyday love

everyday suspension

of the hole in the heart

that cried out

Me me me

Love me now

right now.


don’t cry out

don’t listen

to harsh words,

Stay neutral or positive

every minute

in every circumstance,

Do everything for

the other,

Go out in the night

walking up and down

trying to find

exactly what was requested.

Every day

positive or neutral

for one month

What happened?

The hole in the heart

was mended.

That was the turning point.


Tucacas Sunset, Cayo Medio, with Oil tanker

Tucacas Sunset, Cayo Medio, with Oil tanker

The others deserted

in the moment of need.

The others feared

yet more harsh words

more rejection

more pain.

The others accepted

the hole in the heart.

That was the turning point

with two hearts mended

although scarred.

That was the point

when the others

turned away,

not able to see

that the hole in the heart

could be mended

through conscious

daily love

that they had refused

to give.

And they would refuse

again and again

until the very end.

One arguing

on the very last day.

One not present

to say goodbye


Have I been true to you, Mom?
I set up my house
in Canberra Australia

Our house in Canberra, Australia

Our house in Canberra, Australia

Inspired by your house
in Kansas City Missouri, USA.

623 Greenway Terrace, when Bette Silver lived there

Bette Silver’s house in Kansas City Missouri USA

Walls covered with paintings
Family photographs                                                                                                                                                                                     on walls                                                                                                                                                                                                           on shelves
(perhaps more than you displayed)
Doll collection taking up an entire wall
Small sculptures, artifacts
Baskets, ceramics,
musical instruments

Bette's multi-colored Southwestern USA cabinet

Bette’s multi-colored Southwestern USA cabinet

Everything hand made
Kansas City
South Africa
West Papua

Unpacking assorted dolls, objects

Unpacking assorted dolls, objects

Objects from your travels
My travels

Bette Hutchison Silver, photo taken November 2010

Bette Hutchison Silver, photo taken November 2010

Have I been true to you, Mom?
Did I add something to your life?
To your memories?
Did I make a contribution by
listening and understanding?
Was I there when you needed me?
Have I been true to you, Mom?

How do we keep family

with us

through geography

through belief systems

through property

through money

Or today



digital photos



How many homes today

have printed photos

old family photos

family photo albums?

What will happen to family photos

in the future?

Will everything be online?

Will people look at their

family photos?

Every day I pass by

my family on shelves

next to my kitchen cupboard.

Old photos

When was the last one taken?

Over five years ago

The oldest one?

Not sure but

there is a photo of my

paternal grandfather

who was shot and killed

or so the family lore goes

by a jealous husband

somewhere in Oklahoma.

So that would have been


Sometime in the 1920’s?

Then the photo of my father

With his sister Margery

and brother Jack

could be older.

My father born in 1907

He looks to be about 10 or 11

in the photo.

Family lore has it that he left

home at 13 and rode the rails

From Oklahoma

to San Francisco.

Photo of my brother Lon

with his wife Olivia and

our mother Bette Silver

in Mazatlan, Mexico.

Photo of Jim with his

older sister Erica

mother Hsiao Li

father Michael Lindsay

in Oxford England, 1947.

Photos of me as a baby, 1946

held by my mother

Bette Jo Hutchison

and my maternal grandmother

Irene Higginbotham.

Photo of my sons Nathan and

Gabriel with their cousin Lawrence

in Kansas City

Date? Maybe about 1989?

Can I name all the places

the photos were taken?

Kansas City, Joplin, Missouri

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Oxford, Lake District, England

San Francisco, Pajaro Dunes,

Yosemite, California

Beijing, China

Islamabad, Pakistan

Caracas, Venezuela.

Not all the family is present.

Not all the places are listed.

Family on the shelves in my kitchen, Canberra, Australia

Family on the shelves in my kitchen, Canberra, Australia

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