Over and Over, Again

In 1959, a story gripped the news in Kansas about the Clutter family in Holcomb that was brutally murdered. For several weeks the story would resurface and just when it seemed that it would drop into the file of unsolved, an inmate in Lansing Kansas told his story about a former cell mate, Richard "Dick" Hickcock, and his interest in the family.
As a boy of 12, I wondered what could possibly bring anyone to the place in their lives that they would brutally bind and kill a family of four. It wasn't until much later that the details came out of what the motivation was and the grisly details of the actual crime.
I think the capture and return of the Dick and Perry Smith, two parolees, from a jail in Las Vegas was the big time news item for a while. Then there was the delay of a trial and the five years it took to bring them to the gallows in the prison warehouse in Lansing, Kansas.
Just when the hoopla all died down and the citizens in State of Kansas started to put things back in their proper place and order, along comes a book by Truman Capote that drags the facts back out in the light of "In Cold Blood". That was made worse the next year by a movie of the book. For the time, it was a brutal story and the facts of the actual killings were shown in a blur. It made little sense, but so did the life and crimes of Smith and Hickcock. On and off, throughout the next 40 years, that story gets brought out and someone makes a movie of that horrible event. I think I have read the book a couple of times throughout the intervening years.
This weekend we have a free preview of the Show time channels on DirecTV. Wouldn't you know that the movie Capote would be playing. The movie takes place during his time writing the book "In Cold Blood". All those thoughts and feelings from my years growing up in Kansas were surfaced and I got to review the facts gain.
I do find it amazing that a person so unlike the face of Kansas could come in and capture the event. Truman Capote stood for almost all of the bad things most Kansans would not want in our lives. He was a drunk depressive homosexual and actually befriended Hickock and Smith in their time in Lansing awaiting execution. In the movie, he cried when they were about to be executed.
You would think that as a Kansas Basketball fan, I would have a smile on my face about our tie for the Big 12 Championship and the upcoming trip to the National NCAA tourney. I keep having a shadow across my psyche that even in the Heartland we have events that just keep dragging themselves back out of the box.
What major events climb back out into the light of day from your earlier years that makes you think about the past. I hope there are some happy things in there and that some good things sneak out and that your life isn't the fodder for a Stephen King book. I will go over to my photo's and see if there aren't some good and pretty things to look at.


  1. I've almost picked that book up several times though it isn't the sort of thing I would normally read. The fact that it took place in Kansas intrigues me. I also heard that Harper Lee was friends with Capote and helped him gather information for In Cold Blood. (I think I got that right.) To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books, and that connection interests me. I've always put it back though. I can't imagine wanting to read a book about BTK. I don't want to glorify that sort of thing. People have a tendency to become fascinated with the grotesque and evil things in this world and I don't think that's healthy.

    As for memories, most of mine are good. My life has not been fairytale perfect, but I feel I've been blessed. I think that regardless of your past, it's your perspective that really makes a difference in how you live and how you feel about the things you have lived through. Some people suffer horrible things as children and are still able to live happy, productive lives as adults. Others allow their past to hold them back. I've seen something similar with veterans. Some seem more equipped to deal with the things they've seen and experienced, and I think that perspective is that vital piece of equipment.

  2. I agree that where you live in your head and heart drives you. I have always been living for the future and wondering just how good can it get. I guess I am fairly there now and still grasping the brass ring when I get a chance.
    A lot of the guys I went to Vietnam lived hard in the 60's and dig drugs. They tried to escape Vietnam by doing drugs while there. They came home to a permissive society and did drugs and now wonder why they can get it together. My drug of choice was alcohol and while legal, I could not really put it all together until I stopped drinking. It is amazing how dull and boring family gatherings can be when most of us are sober. One of my nieces said we used to have a lot more fun and there wasn't near as much contention back then. I told them I get Petty when I am sober and can remember all the insults (Both ways) MUD