Relative Time

Caney River 2017

Dear Bryce,

I write in haste. I fear I will not survive another fall.

There is so much more I wanted to tell you. The falling is coming more often and lasting for longer periods of time. I can not help but wonder if I will stay elsewhere, else when. I am not exactly sure where home is anymore but I am still residing in Oakland.

I have come to the river where we used to camp when we were kids. Remember those trips? Wait. Were you there then?

Time travel is a bitch.

Ever wake up or lift your head up too quick, with or without your eyes open, and have that sensation of falling? You reach out to stop yourself or you jerk yourself awake? And it gives way to dizziness and you realize you are not falling at all. So now imagine you were falling all along. Time travel is like that.

Disorienting. It takes a toll. Have I said that already? I repeat myself.

I wanted to tell you this before you read about the rest.

Time is grief. And travelling through it is never random. You never end up as just any fly on any wall, dragged along in anyone’s shadow, or as yourself where you do not belong. You fall into moments that have pulled you there, have pulled at you, as though you were tethered and timelines were the threads of an old spider’s web. I fear that eventually the web will become undone by my falling through it.

Your loving sister,

M.


London 1681

Dear Bryce,

I think I was sleeping and thought I had rolled off the bed and onto the hardwood floor below. Paralyzed in the upper corner of a room, I looked as if through the eyes of a fly, squared and unfocused. I panicked, of course, and tried to move but ended up back where I started. So I stayed put.

“I am putting you in charge of my estate, William.”

“The King will not be happy about this, father.”

“The King has not been happy about a great many things. This will be another.” William knew his father was making an inference to his pacifism, which the war‑mongering King considered treasonous, but he declined to engage him on it.

“But father. I am a criminal. I have been found to be a criminal in a court of law. I have been imprisoned at the Tower of London. Will he allow me to inherit so much wealth — and lands within his Empire?”

“It is not up to him to allow it or not. And remember he owes me a great debt. He must settle it before the year is up or more will be due.”

“Father—”

“There is no need, son. I will not survive the gout. You will oversee my affairs while I can still advise you.”

I closed my eyes to try to stop what I thought was a vision but when I opened them the father was gone and the son was sitting at a desk. He stared at some papers. I walked, slowly, overhead to see them. I could not walk far but it was enough to see a deed and a map, both dated 1681.

The King had indeed discharged his debt to the father with a huge track of land that included what is now most of the states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. This was William Penn!

“Sir,” a man said as he entered. “The carriage is ready.”

“My father was a good man,” Penn said. “We fought so often I barely remember a topic we didn’t fight about. He disagreed with my convictions. But I must remain true to what I believe. I will go and see to his affairs — our affairs — in the New World. And I will establish a true democracy where my fellow Quakers can find peace and justice away from the King’s persecution.”

“Yes, Sir… The carriage.”

“Of course.” Penn rose, stuffed all of the papers into a folder, and left through the door.

“No!” I cried out. The falling began. “No!” I cried out again. I wanted to talk to this man. I wanted to tell him about his sons. I grabbed at the wall, I grabbed and scratched but could not stop the falling and before I knew it I was gone. I mean, I had returned.

I rolled onto the hardwood floor and my mouth and chin were bruised. The smells of the old world were still present. I vomited and slowly pulled myself up, back onto the bed. It took some time for the dizziness to go away.

This was not the first time I travelled. So I knew that after cleaning myself up I had to stay in bed until the disorientation subsided. And as I lay in bed I thought I might be losing my mind.

M.


Kettering 1964

Dear Bryce,

The first time I travelled I thought I was dreaming. I had laid down to take a nap and fell into a deep sleep. Or so I thought. I dreamt I was falling through a great black expanse. Only it was not quite falling, it was more like gliding through the air. And the water was stars. I was wholly terrified and wholly at peace. There were no halves. If there were such a thing as contentment, that was it. And abruptly it stopped. I landed on a wall. Against a wall like spaghetti having its cook tested. And it took me a minute to turn my head around and see where I was.

It is a warm Sunday afternoon, July 1. I am 29 months old and my family lives in Kettering, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. I am sitting on the living room floor surrounded by our toys. You are eight and sitting at the kitchen table. You have started a letter to our cousin.

Dear Joel,

Today I went horseback riding.

I am going to summer school.

I am making some kind of racket and you get up to investigate.

You had arranged your toys in perfect order — plastic green army soldiers in all kinds of poses, plastic green tanks and trucks, plastic grey airplanes. You had spent quite a long time lining them all up. In my clumsy toddler self, I am knocking everything over and talking gibberish, waving my arms about in uncoordinated chaos. You laugh and laugh and join me in the play.

Mom is sitting at the kitchen table watching us. She is wearing white capris pants and a blue sleeveless blouse. She has a white headband on that pulls her long dark blonde hair off her face. She has perfect pink lipstick on. She always said you could get away with wearing just about anything you wanted to as long as you had lipstick on. Her bright blue eyes shine. She is smoking. There is a cup of coffee on the table next to the newspaper she has been reading. The Voting Rights Act will be signed into law the next day. The look on her face — she seems happy.

Suddenly it is the next day, Monday, July 2. You and I are playing on the floor when there is a knock on the door. It is one of your friends. They want to go to the Far Hills Riding Stables which is half a mile up the street from our house. Mom tells you that you can go after you help me clean up the toys off the floor. You and your friend do so. I help but am not helpful. You giggle at me. We finish and you say goodbye and leave with your friend. Mom takes me to my room. It is nap time.

I begin to sob. I mean me, the fly on the wall. I’ve often wondered if flies can cry and now I know. I know as I know what is about to happen to you. I have heard the stories so many times before I felt like I had been there.

As Mom leaves the room with me in her arms, I woke from my nap, which is to say I returned. I was sitting immobilized at my kitchen table. I don’t remember sitting there when I fell. I thought I was in my bed. In any case my neck and shoulders are stiff. My eyes are filled with a blinding bright light. I can’t tell if I am crying or tearing. I can’t tell hardly anything at all.

M.


Lenapehoking 1682

Dear Bryce,

My dreams haunt me when I am awake and I am having trouble sleeping.

I wonder, often, if I am asleep and dreaming or awake and dreaming. I hope I will always be able to tell the difference.

So this time it is the middle of the night and I emerge as if from a dark place into a darker one. It takes a while for me to stop panicking. Have I been buried alive? I check to see if my eyes are open and find flickers of light gradually illuminating the room.

I am trapped in Penn’s shadow.

It is the oddest of feelings. The edges of light and dark forbid you from crossing. Every fiber of your soul’s thread wants to cross into the light. Not for salvation but to stop feeling dragged about on someone else’s ghost-tails.

If people thought to pay attention to shadows they would see you in there. But no one ever does.

Penn is pacing. He is an ill-lit, large log cabin room packed with colonists – Quakers, English, Dutch, Swedish. Half of them are drinking rum. They are not exactly screaming at one another but the pitch brings me to — helps me focus. They are debating who does and doesn’t recognize Penn’s Government of Pennsylvania and who does and doesn’t accept his political treatises and Charter of Liberties and ideas about religious freedom. More persecuted Quakers are arriving every day and the Dutch and Swedish and some of the English want nothing to do with them. They are arguing over loyalties to England and their King. “The Crown!” “The Crown!” the Englishmen scream. They sound ridiculous.

I begin to scream, too. There is already a government over these lands, you stupid racist fuckers. You are defining governments and dividing up lands to rule over that do not belong to you. And if the lands do not belong to you, your rule is a lie. Of course no one can hear me. I try again to escape the shadow’s borders to no avail. I wonder if they saw me if they could hear me. I keep trying.

The meeting ends and Penn walks outside to commiserate with his fellow Quakers.

In the dark of night I cast away. I return.

I wish I could be one of those time travelers who violates the temporal prime directive and interferes with the course of human history. Fuck the course.

M.


Kettering 1964

Dear Bryce,

I cannot remember if this was the first or the last, or somewhere in between, time I travelled but I do remember it being the moment when I set myself to the task of figuring out the why.

I was sitting at my kitchen table, which faced into the courtyard of my apartment building. I lived on the third floor so I had a rather grand view of the pool, bbq, and lower hills neighborhood. I was most definitely not sleeping as I had begun a letter to you, the previous letter to you. And then I started falling. I landed as a fly on a wall but trapped inside the thick glass shade over one ceiling light among many. But unlike all the other times before, I had brought something with me. I still had my pen in my hand. It was then that the idea occurred to me: I could leave myself a note or marker of some kind as proof about what was happening to me. And better yet. I could leave notes to people I loved or someone like Penn who needed to know what horrors his actions had wrought on our people.

As I was contemplating the possibilities, with a large measure of excitement, the door to the room opened. Painted on it is a sign: coroners office of montgomery county. And suddenly I was overcome with sadness and the antiseptic smell and coldness of the place.

It was a morgue. I was in the morgue.

Those who entered included two officers and Mom. The Coroner joins them from another room. He extends his apologies. Mom says nothing. Her eyes cannot look away from the table. She walks towards it, past the others. She is shaking and trying not to cry but tears are streaming down her face.

The coroner pulls a blanket back. It is you.

Mom collapses onto the floor. No one is able to catch her in time.

They move her to a chair, bring her water. The officers have already called Dad. He is out of town, on business. He is on a plane coming home. He will be there as soon as he can.

I want so desperately to be in myself so I can be with Mom. But instead I wake up in a trembling sweat and see that I have broken the pen in my hand and my hand is bleeding. I cannot believe Mom is gone again.

At 29 months old at the time most of what I have known about you has been through Mom’s stories. Dad has said very little. Nothing, really, except about his efforts to keep your things together as if he is keeping them for you. For your return.

M.


Lenapehoking 1737

Dear Bryce,

I have started holding a pen in my hand all the time. It makes some people uncomfortable.

I became a history teacher. I didn’t mean it to be ironic.

The first day I taught was the first time I travelled. It makes a good story though now, as I write this, I don’t think it is true. The order of things is getting messed up in my head. But this much I do know to be true: it was one of the most jarring of falls because it was one of the few times I landed in my own body. At least, at first, I thought so. I realized quickly that if anyone saw me then they would have thought I was a ghost. And I was still unable to communicate with anyone.

I fell to a dirt ground surrounded by trees and shrub near a circle of Englishmen. I stood quickly and studied their faces. There was Thomas Penn and John Penn, the sons of William Penn. They were standing next to Edward Marshall, James Yeates, and Solomon Jennings, three athletic men they had hired from the colony of Easton. Next to them were Sheriff Thomas Smith, Provincial Secretary Logan (I didn’t catch his first name), and a scribe of some sort named W.W.H. Davis. They were all speaking to one another in whispers. Just then I caught sight of another group of men, that one Lenape, near the intersection of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers. I was about to move towards the Lenape men, including an interpreter named Moses Tetemie, when the three runners took off down a path that appeared to have been cleared for them. The Lenape men were expressing much frustration to the colonists about the road and hired runners and I wanted to go nearer to hear them but I was jerked away as if tethered to Marshall.

And then suddenly we were 70 miles away, a day and a half later, and Marshall was the only runner left running. He was followed, not closely, by Smith, Davis, and the Lenape, all on horseback. The Lenape were still angered by the conduct of the colonists but at an appointed time, mid-day, Smith called out and Marshall threw himself on the ground and grabbed at a sapling to marked the end of his run.

Smith rode fast to catch up with Marshall and dropped off his horse. I thought he was going to offer Marshall aid but instead pulled out a ledger with a map inside. He very carefully marked the location of the end of Marshall’s run on the map after conferring with the other Englishmen. The Lenape were not consulted. Tetemie declined to translate their protests but the Penn brothers, Logan, and Smith got the message.

As both groups avoided one another, the English declared the lands within the borders they had drawn on their map “purchased” from the Lenape. The Lenape threw what can only be called looks at them.

“We shall see,” Tetemie translated.

For a long second I thought Marshall might have seen me at this point. He looked hard in my direction and kept rubbing his eyes and mumbling something under his breath. He had since stood and was drinking water from a canteen. The others dismissed his odd behavior to exhaustion but I knew he was talking to me. So I tried again to catch his attentions. Again he looked away. But now Tetemie approached us. I knew he saw me. He began praying when I was yanked out of time. Or, rather, when I tripped and fell back to the present.

For days I cannot shake the feeling of being haunted. I didn’t know why I had been there. I had not yet figured out that it was the land that had pulled me there. The 1,200 square miles of land the English defrauded the Lenape of through forgery and trickery. The grief of old anger at the injustice over its loss.

The threads that tethered me in time were no longer only from/to family. The spider’s web the threads had tied around me was the land.

At least this time I hadn’t pierced my hand with my pen. But I was so overwhelmed while there in 1737 that I had forgotten all about it. Next time, I told myself, next time.

M.


Dayton 1967

Dear Bryce,

It has been a very long time since I fell. So long I thought I had stopped carrying my pen around with me all the time until I found it in my pocket in the middle of class today. As I pulled it out and put it in my bag, it occurred to me that maybe I had made it all up in my head. Maybe I had just read so much and heard so many stories that I thought I was there. It was all so real. And maybe it wasn’t.

So I got home early and took a long walk and laid down for a nap. I thought I was dreaming.

Dad is sitting at his electric typewriter banging furiously. The letter is dated May 21, 1967.

Attached are written arguments prepared by Walter A. Porter (our lawyer) in answer to Pierce Wood, the defendant’s lawyer.

The Plaintiff-appellee’s name is Irvine Margolis. Irv and his wife, Marie, are very good friends. Irv consented to permit his name to be used when it became apparent that we were moving to Los Angeles in 1964. Irv was appointed administrator of Bryce’s estate. A resident of Ohio is required. After we again established residency in Ohio we left the situation as it was because it was simpler not to change all the records.

Some clarification:

Under ISSUES:

Number 5. The defending lawyer attempted to draw a map of the area on an easel while he was giving his final argument to the jury. Our lawyer objected on the grounds that such could be considered evidence and, as such, was never offered for approval of the court. All this means, is that the defending lawyer could draw what he wanted unless it had been approved and – in so doing – could attempt to bias the jury. The defending lawyer did draw a map for the judges in the Court of Appeals and his map did slant a little to show the wrong angle for the “lane” on which Johnson parked his car. Also, it was slightly out of proportion. When our lawyer presented his case he corrected the map and suggested that the judges refer to the pictures taken after the accident to confirm.

Number 6. The defendant has made no attempt to upset the jury’s award for “loss.” He is only attacking the award for suffering. But if one is lost, the implication is that both must be reviewed. . .

Please forgive me for stapling pages 20 through 23. There is no reason for you to read them. Bryce did suffer, and it is not an easy thing to know.

We have heard all the testimony and, while it is still not easy, have learned to develop our “shell” when needed.

Please know that we have a very good lawyer. Our feeling throughout all this could be described in three stages. First, we just wanted our expenses. Then we became angry. Now we feel that justice should be exercised. The money is not the point. Whether we have the right of education through revenge or punishment becomes a pretty big question. The answer might tempt us to drop the whole thing were it not for our obligation to our lawyer for his investment in time and money. I personally do not feel that any amount of penalty in money would help the defendant. He appears willing to carry the case to the Supreme Court for 21,000 when (it is rumored) he is worth about 3 million.

If he believes himself to be right, we cannot forgive his assertion that he did not hurt Bryce nor his action in driving his car to his house where he parked it in the garage and closed the door. He then walked back to the stables. By the time he returned the police had been called and were already there.

Johnson says he left the stables to find a doctor, and at the suggestion of the stable manager. The stable manager cannot be found. Our lawyer hired a private detective who located the stable manage in Florida – unemployed and living in a room above a bar. He talked long distance with our lawyer and said he was going to appear as a witness for the defense. He never appeared and cannot now be found.

The police and ambulance came because somebody went to the telephone in the building adjacent to the scene and called them. When Johnson came back he said he wanted to make sure somebody had called them.

Johnson has stated under oath that he did not turn the car. He has suggested under oath that the car hit a rock and turned. Our lawyer has proven that there were no rocks.

In summary, legally Johnson is skirting criminal negligence. But he has been sued a number of times before. This was brought out in court by our lawyer. In fact, Johnson was asked under oath if he had ever been in court as a defendant before. He answered, “You are darned right I have. Lots of times.” He is no pigeon.

The Kettering Police tried every possible means to find him criminally negligent, but could not.

This is why we have gone after him. 1) His attitude toward the entire incident has been one to relieve himself of any financial responsibility. 2) He has behaved in a rather obnoxious manner toward us and toward the police and court in asserting his innocence.

He had his wife call Sally long distance in Los Angeles 2 to 3 times to attempt to convince us to accept a 1,000 settlement. Sally continued to refer to our lawyer. Later I learned from our lawyer that Johnson was required to post bail in Columbus because he did not have insurance. Can you guess the amount?. . . $1,000.

One year before Bryce’s death, Johnson was involved in a law suit stimulated by 3 doctors. Johnson had taken them all in his private plane on a fishing trip to Michigan. He ran out of gas and crashed. The doctors were injured and all sued him. They all lost. But Johnson’s lawyers in that particular incident had to sue him to get their fees.

Johnson’s lawyer – in our case – has asserted that he has a bad arm as a result of that airplane crash and therefore was in a handicapped position when he was trying to stop the rolling car that hit Bryce. This has been brought up repeatedly. Our lawyer has argued that he does not contend this, but he asks why such evidence has not been substantiated in court. (Rather, why such an assertion has not been established as evidence.) It has not. Statements have also been made that Johnson is a man very sick with cancer in Texas. His deposition taken under oath does not illustrate a man very sick and not in his faculties. Our lawyer has argued that the defense made no attempt to prove Johnson’s incapacitation nor his illness. Porter, in face, makes quite a point of Johnson not being in court to defend his own case. Johnson’s sister was on the witness stand, and our lawyers pointed out to the jury that if Johnson was sick or injured, she was the perfect one to testify to that extent. . . yet the defending lawyer did not approach the subject with her.

Please forgive me (again) for getting carried away. . . Please return the attached to us. . . We do want to keep all the papers together – absolutely no logical reason. We just feel all Bryce’s records, even those involving the trial over his death, should be kept together. . .

There was a trial, an appeal, in your death? It all lasted through 1967? I would have been 5 at the time. I never knew. I never heard Mom and Dad mention it. They packed it all into a box with your things and put the box away in the back of a closet where they would never look at it again.

And where were the trial transcripts now? How might I find them?

As I was trying to figure it all out, I thought Dad had turned around from the desk on my account. I was standing behind him as I read what he typed. I had been invisible or shadowed or ghosted so many times it never occurred to me that he could actually see me. I thought he might have felt me there. But no. He turned around because he saw me.

I reached out to him and he reached back. He split into two wholes. His physical self remained at this desk typing. But an other self came to me and put his arms around me and held me close. But as his spirit touched me as a traveller, it all disappeared. Was it because he had already walked on in my time? Was it because I was walking on?

I woke in a fright, grabbing at the blanket I had covered myself with.

M.


Bartlesville 2017

Dear Bryce,

I found a box of Dad’s things. I didn’t know he kept a copy of all of our tribe’s treaties. I search for family names.

LENAPEHOKING: September 17, 1778. Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania. White Eyes, John Kill Buck, The Pipe, Junior.

INDIANA TERRITORY: June 7, 1803. Fort Wayne, Indiana Territory. With the Shawanoes, Putawatimies, Miamies, Eel River, Weeas, Kickapoos, Piankashaws, and Kaskaskias. Teta Buxike, Bukongehelas, Hockingpomskenn, Kechkawhanund. Aug. 18, 1804. Fort Wayne, Indiana Territory. Jeta Buxika, Bokongehelas, Alimee, or Geo. White Eyes, Hocking Pomskann, Tomaguee, or the Beaver. Aug. 21, 1805. Grouseland, Indiana Territory. With the Pottawatimies, Miames, Eel, River, and Weas. Hocking Pomskan, Kecklawhenund, or William Anderson, Allime, or White Eyes, Tomague, or Beaver. Sept. 30, 1809. Indiana Territory. With the Putawatimies, Miamies and Eel River Miamies. Anderson, for Hockingpomskon, who is absent, Anderson, Petchekekapon, The Beaver, Captain Killbuck.

OHIO TERRITORY: Oct. 3, 1818. St. Mary’s, Ohio. Kithteeleland, or Anderson, Lapahnihe, or Big Bear, James Nanticoke, Apacahund, or White Eyes, Captain Killbuck, The Beaver, Netahopuna, Captain Tunis, Captain Ketchum, The Cat, Ben Beaver, The War Mallet, Captain Caghkoo, The Buck, Petchenanalas, John Quake, Quenaghtoothmait, Little Jack. Aug. 3, 1829. Sandusky River, Ohio. Captain Pipe, William Matacur, Captain Wolf, Eli Pipe, Solomon Joneycake, Joseph Armstrong, George Williams.

MISSOURI TERRITORY: Sept. 24, 1829. Council camp, on James’s fork of White river, in the State of Missouri. Wm. Anderson, principal chief, Capt. Paterson, 2nd chief, Pooshies, or the cat, Capt. Suwaunock, whiteman, Jonny Quick, John Gray, George Guirty, Capt. Beaver, Naunotetauxien, Little Jack, Capt. Pipe, Big Island, Nauochecaupauc, Nungailautone, James Gray, Sam Street, Aupaneek, Outhteekawshaweat. Amends the 1818 treaty. May 6, 1854. Washington. Sarcoxey; Ne-con-he-cond; Kock-ka-to-wha; Qua-cor-now-ha, or James Segondyne; Ne-sha-pa-na-cumin, or Charles Journeycake; Que-sha-to-wha, or John Ketchem; Pondoxy, or George Bullet; Kock-kock-quas, or James Ketchem; Ah-lah-a-chick, or James Conner.

KANSAS TERRITORY: May 30, 1860. Sarcoxieville, Delaware Reservation, Kansas Territory. John Conner, head chief of the whole tribe; Sar-cox-ie, chief of the Turtle band; Ne-con-he-con, chief of the Wolf band; Rock-a-to-wha, chief of the Turkey band. July 2, 1861. Leavenworth City, Kansas. John Connor, head chief, Ne-con-he-con, chief of the Wolf Band, Sar-cox-ie, chief of the Turtle Band, James Connor, Charles Journeycake. [L. S.]. July 4, 1866. Delaware Agency, Kansas. John Connor, Head Chief, Captain Sarcoxie, Assistant Chief, Charles Journeycake, Assistant Chief, James Ketch[u]m, James Connor, Andrew Miller, John Sarcoxie.

INDIAN TERRITORY. Cherokee Territory. 1867.

M.


Bartlesville 2017

Dear Bryce,

I found the folder. An old, brown folder with rusted edges and yellowed papers. The appeals court judges verdict: guilty.

Nothing is as Mom and Dad had told me. Nothing. They said you had died in a horrible car accident but that you were killed instantly. That it wasn’t anybody’s fault. They lied. They lied and then they covered it all up. And I have the documents to prove it.

In the Court of Appeals of Montgomery County, Ohio, Case No. 3179, Irving Margolis versus William D. Johnson. On this day, April 28, 1967… On the 2nd of July 1964… the Plaintiff’s descendent went to the Far Hills Riding Stable. While he was at the riding stables standing in an open area near and to the east of a stable barn, he was struck by an automobile belonging to the Defendant, William D. Johnson. This automobile had been parked by Defendant who had either failed to set the brake or set it improperly on an incline some period of time previous.

After the car started to roll down the incline, Defendant Johnson grabbed the wheel of the automobile turning the car so that it swerved toward and struck the descendent, crushing him against a wagon.

As a result, descendent suffered various injuries which resulted in his being pronounced dead on arrival some time later at Kettering Hospital. Descendent was conscious for some period of time after impact and suffered excruciating pain and suffering during the time between impact and death.

Plaintiff—appellee has reviewed the statement of facts submitted by Defendant-appellant. Unfortunately, Defendant-appellant has asserted as fact matters in the statement of their case which were disputed at trial; and, these facts were contradicted by evidence presented on behalf of the Plaintiff.

For example, Defendant asserted in his brief that the incident occurred near the premises of the Far Hills Riding Stable. To support this assertion they cite Defendant’s Exhibit 2 (the lease) which described the premises rented to the Far Hills Riding Stable as

3563 Far Hills Avenue. Far Hills Riding Stable, large barn adjacent to the dog kennel and east of small concrete barn, house north of north and all trails south of barn.

A review of the foregoing description indicates that it was not intended to be a metes and bounds description of the area leased since areas of egress and areas of land adjacent to the buildings referenced are not included in the lease. On the other hand, there is extensive evidence in the record which indicates that the incident occurred on property utilized by the Far Hills Riding Stable in the operation of the business. In addition, there was no evidence in the record which indicated that Plaintiff’s descendent in this case was ever notified specifically that the area where the incident occurred was not a part of the riding stable property. When Plaintiff-appellee attempted to introduce evidence showing that there was no specific warning to the descendent, counsel for the Defendant objected.

Defendant-appellant asserts that Defendant’s car had been parked approximately 35 to 45 minutes before it had rolled down the hill and injured Plaintiff’s descendent. The only evidence in the record about the period of time was the testimony of the Defendant. On the other hand, Plaintiff presented a disinterested witness, Bradley Shade, who testified that he saw Defendant’s car arrive and the incident in which Plaintiff’s descendent was killed occurred approximately 15 minutes after the arrival of the Defendant’s car on the scene.

Plaintiff does not agree with the assertion by Defendant-appellant that it was agreed by all that the Defendant did his best to stop the vehicle. It should be noted in the statement of facts that the petition of the plaintiff alleged that

Defendant ran to said vehicle while it was rolling as aforesaid and turned the same in a southwestwardly direction directly into the plaintiff’s descendent, crushing him between the rear of Defendant’s vehicle and a wagon.

The Defendant admitted on cross-examination in his testimony that if the car had rolled straight it would not have hit anyone, that he turned the wheel of the car turning it in a southwestwardly directly, and that as a result of this the struck Plaintiff’s descendent. Defendant also admitted on cross-examination that at the time he parked the car he parked it on an incline; that he did not turn the wheels against the incline; that at the time he parked the car there were approximately twenty people in an open area around 100 feet from the car at the bottom of the incline; that he did not lock the car; and that subsequently the car rolled down the incline and struck Plaintiff’s descendent. The record further affirmatively reflects that no children were seen to be playing in the area around the car during the time between the parking of the car and the crushing of the Plaintiff’s descendant.

At the time the Defendant returned from the hospital, where he ostensibly went to get medical help, to the scene of the fatality, he parked his car at his house rather than returning it to the scene of the incident.

I’ve been searching for some way of understanding all of this. I can’t find it. I am angry over the lies and secrets. Why would it have been so terrible for me to know the truth about what happened to you? To know it then? They only ever took care of themselves.

I am angry you didn’t get to have a full life.

I am desperate to return to Dad. I have started taking sleeping pills and napping every day in hopes I will. I have this whole fantasy in my head now about all of the things I would tell him.


Denver 2006

I took a few more sleeping pills than I should. I don’t care. I am desperate.

But just my luck I fall into the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver 2006 and not Dayton 1967. Time travel obeys no laws of intention.

The court is, predictably, dismissing the Lenape’s effort to redress the fraud of the Walking Purchase in a claim to a modest 314 acres in Pennsylvania. Though the court acknowledges that Lenape title had been extinguished by fraud, it rules that the claim is “nonjusticiable.” The court does not possess the ability to provide adequate resolution of the complaint:

For the reasons that follow, we find that any aboriginal rights held by the Delaware Nation to the land known as “Tatamy’s Place” were extinguished by Thomas Penn via the Walking Purchase of 1737. We also find that the tribe does not hold fee title to Tatamy’s Place. Thus, the District Court properly dismissed the Delaware Nation’s claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause of action. Accordingly, we will affirm the dismissal order of the District Court although we do not base our conclusion on the same reasoning.


Dayton 1967

I bounce back and forth within a moment, back and forth within trial testimony. The first I saw was Dr. T. K. Batson. He had performed the autopsy on Bryce to establish the cause of death. He testified that Bryce, after crawling out from under the wagon, was consciousness for approximately 15 minutes. He testified that he found both of Bryce’s lungs overly distended and his body covered with bruises and contusions.

  1. Doctor, is there any way that based upon your experience you can give an opinion as to what type of reaction this lad had to this type of injury?

A: Yes sir, I believe so.

  1. Could you tell us that, please?
  2. During the period of consciousness — well perhaps if I put it this way — there was an obstruction to the free exchange of air similar to the obstruction a swimmer finds below water or if there is a mechanical obstruction in the mouth or throat. This is a terrifying experience. It would be one of panic, or near panic.

The second witness I heard was Stephen Percival who testified that Bryce was conscious for some period of time after being pinned and before being pronounced dead at the hospital.

  1. After Mr. Johnson pulled the car up, did you see what the boy was doing then?
  2. He was staggering. He walked out to the middle of where the ring is now and he was sort of staggering and then he collapsed.

Susan Percival testified next and affirmed that after the car struck Bryce and Johnson pulled it away, Bryce was still on his feet, hunched over. I never knew who the Percivals were.

Then there was Judy Kramer, a riding instructor at the stables, who testified that after some period of time, Bryce was placed on a couch in the stable offices.

  1. Did you stay with him?
  2. Yes, I did
  3. Did he speak at all?
  4. No. He was moaning and groaning but he did not speak.
  5. Did you hold his hand?
  6. I was holding his hand and kneeling beside him and at one time he did squeeze my hand but that was all.

Then I heard part of the cross-examination of Mr. William D. Johnson. He claimed that Bryce did not suffer though he admitted that Bryce was consciousness after the accident.

A:  He crawled out from under that wagon and he stood up and he was smiling and he started, kind of you know, staggering a little bit, and I noticed the expression on his face changed and he was standing there and I went over there and took hold of him to hold him and he talked and he talked to Mr. Clemmons when he came there, we took a hold of him and Clemmons said I believe, ‘this boy is hurt, take him over to the doctor across the field.’

The sound of Johnson’s voice catapults me back to 2017. I fall onto the hardwood floor with such force I knock myself out. When I wake Penn’s third son, William Jr., is standing over me with a sabre.


Oakland 2017

Office of the Coroner — Alameda County

The body is that of a well-developed, well-nourished woman appearing the offered age of 55 years. The body measures 64.8 inches and weighs 168 pounds.

The unembalmed body is well preserved and cool to touch due to refrigeration. Rigor mortis is fully developed in the major muscle groups. Livor mortis is fixed and purple posteriorly except over pressure points. However, during initial examination in the emergency room, there was no rigor and lividity was at a minimum and unfixed. The skin shows evidence of trauma consistent with the crime of stabbing and defensive wounds on the hands and arms.

The scalp hair is dark brown and measures up to 30 inches in length. The irises are dark brown and the pupils are equal. The nasal bones are intact by palpation. The nares are patent and contain no foreign matter. The teeth are in good condition. The oral mucosa and tongue are free of injuries. The external ears have no injuries. There are bilateral earlobe piercings; no earring or jewelry were present. There are no earlobe creases.

The neck is symmetrical and shows no masses or injuries. The trachea is in the midline. The shoulders are symmetrical and are free of scars.

The chest is symmetrical and shows no evidence of injury. The abdomen shows bruising consistent with several blows of force. The back is symmetrical.

The genitalia are those of a normally developed adult woman. There is no evidence of injury. The anus is unremarkable.

The upper extremities are symmetrical and have no injuries. The fingernails are cut and clean. The lower extremities are symmetrical. The toenails are short and clean.

Cause of death is stabbing through the abdomen. Wound measures approximately 3 inches wide and penetrates the back skin. Injury appears to have resulted from a single blow.

California-born Lenape (citizen of the Delaware Tribe of Indians). Educator, writer, filmmaker, digital art hack, lover of science fiction and film, kitty staffer.

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