Once I got home, I shared my excitement with one of my half-sisters, my father’s youngest daughter. At the time, she was visiting with her brother, my half-brother. When she told him what I had, he remembered he also had the original ship’s log from the journey and he offered to share it! Before the end of her visit, my sister sent it to me.
When the FedEx package arrived, I gingerly removed the thirty-seven year old log. After all these years, and significant time in the salt air, much of the glue has dissolved and the log has fallen apart. There is mold on the pages. Some of the ink and pencil has deteriorated, but most of it is still readable.
A ship’s log typically documents navigational and mechanical information. But, it turns out my father used the ship’s log as a combination log of the journey and a journal. I don’t speak “sailor” so I will need help translating some of the sailing passages. The journal-like entries add humanity to the content and when I read them, I learn a little about the father I never knew.
Now I had my stepmother’s journals, official correspondence from after my father’s disappearance, letters he sent to his father during the journey, the private investigator’s report, and the ship’s log. No one person ever had all that information before!
But there was still that all important missing piece. How did the journey end? How was my father lost?
Before I started down this road, I shared my plans with my father’s other children, my half-siblings. I assured them what I would be writing would be fiction, loosely based on my father’s experiences. I wanted to be sure I had their approval before I began. Each gave their blessing. Along the way, each has also shared memories and materials. In turn, I’ve shared what I’ve discovered.
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