Wonderful manuscript. -- Dr. Kevin Starr, California State Librarian Emeritus, in a letter to the author
Wow! Sort of reminded me of the movie "Chinatown." -- Edmond Conti
You have touched my soul. -- Donna Honeycutt
From the Author
I held a mystery in my hand: two sheets of aged paper, browned by the passage of some seventy years, bits and pieces flaking off in my fingers, scattering on the carpet. "Star office" was typed and "August 1925" written at the top of the first page; the two sheets were covered with single-spaced lines:
"You were right. I was wrong. I was engaged in the furious pursuit of falling in love." "Lets begin at the apparent beginning the Oracle trip and the dance."
The width of the paper told me it had been trimmed from the big sheets that in the first half of the past century were stacked in newspaper composing rooms for pulling proofs from the big metal page forms filled with type. The creases in the two typed pages told me that the paper had once been folded inside a very small envelope; the transparent mending tape that kept them from falling apart over the years indicated that this was a very special letter to the person who had received it.
Yes, this letter, and perhaps a hundred others like it, posed some real questions.
As I contemplated these brittle pages, I came to realize that I had to find the answers, to find the man behind the words: This man whom I had known for so many years, but had scarcely known at all. This comforter of small children. This wearer of hats and smoker of pipes. This reader and writer of books. This twentieth century man, this flawed man; my father, Charles Harris Garrigues.
I sought him in a hot, dusty farming town just north of the Mexican border, and there I found his ghost. I found it also in the yellowed files of newspapers in old metal filing cases. I found it in the mind of a boy named Bliss Lane.
But most of all I found it in the letters he wrote over a period of almost fifty years, back in the days when he wasnt a ghost at all, but was a living, breathing man with the passions and failures common to all of us.