Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 21, 2014

Are We There Yet?

Now finale to the shore!

Now, land and life, finale, and farewell!

Now Voyager depart! (much, much for thee is yet in store)

From “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman


It’s a good time to be a classic movie fan. TCM is doing its annual 31 Days of Oscar, and I’m loving it. Last week, in the first hours of Valentine’s Day, I watched “Now, Voyager,” with Bette Davis. I had never seen it; well, other than a scene here or there, like the famous “let me light us both a cigarette” scenes.

The title comes from the above poem by WW (not Walter White). I was asking KM if she thought it was a coincidence that we had watched “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” just before. But she was in one of her, horizontal with eyes closed moods. 

Captain Daniel Gregg: You must make your own life amongst the living and, whether you meet fair winds or foul, find your own way to harbor in the end.

It was a seafaring night I guess.

After the ghost of Captain Gregg walked off with the ghost of Lucy Muir, I was beginning to feel the call of a horizontal mood myself. KM had gotten vertical long enough to walk upstairs for a short winters nap, and I grabbed her spot on the couch. “Now Voyager” was coming on, so I started watching it, fully expecting not to last more than five minutes. Well, being a big fan of payback, I had to try and stay awake long enough to see the part where Charlotte comes home and tells her mother off. I made it to that point but still had an hour to go. An amazing performance by the woman known as the “Fifth Warner Brother.”


Last week, I heard the great wrestler and wrestling coach Dan Gable speak to our Rotary Club. Gable, I did not know, had a 19-year-old sister named Diane who was raped and murdered back in 1964 in the family’s home in Waterloo, Iowa. When it happened, Dan was on a fishing trip with his parents, Mack and Katie. One morning, they decided to call Diane and check on her. 

In his essay, “The Losses of Dan Gable,” Wright Thompson recalls that day.

“It was a Sunday.

“They’d driven the block from a rented fishing cabin to a nearby pay phone. He sat in the backseat. Nobody answered at the house in Waterloo. Dan remembers his parents feeling antsy. They got a neighbor to go check. He said the door was locked but the television or radio was playing. Mack Gable told the guy to get in the house and call back.

“They waited.

“Dan remembers the noise the phone made, the metallic, guttural rattle.

“Mack answered and listened as the neighbor described Diane’s half-naked body dead on the living room carpet, in the same room where Dan once sat in the window. Katie kept bumping her husband, asking over and over what he was hearing. She studied his face for clues. Mack dropped the phone. It swung back and forth, slowly, back and forth. Back and forth.

“‘She’s been hurt,’ Mack said.

“‘How bad?’ Katie asked.

“‘She’s not alive,’ Mack said.

“Tom Kyle [a teenage neighbor], went to prison for life for the murder of Diane Gable. Two years ago, on the ride home from a fishing trip, Dan’s cellphone rang. It was the prison. Kyle, they explained, was dead. Dan looked out his window as he listened and shuddered. He was passing the parking lot where they found out about Diane, where his dad dropped a pay phone that swung slowly on its cord.”