Sunday, February 20, 2011

Holcomb, Kansas

It's been four years since I last read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. At the age of fourteen, I simply could not appreciate just how brilliant that particular piece of creative nonfiction was. Upon rereading it recently, I absolutely fell in love with the story.

Never before have I enjoyed a written work that was completely factual as much as I did reading this book. In my opinion, because it is based on a real story, the characters, plot, and setting are even more intriguing.

I think of the Clutter family quite frequently. I wonder where their lives could have taken them had they not been cut short by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. I dream of Herb and Bonnie growing old together, Nancy and her boyfriend Bobby somehow living happily ever after, and Kenyon become the world's best engineer or something along those lines.

This image can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/highranger/3693957442/sizes/m/in/photostream/
I wonder what other endeavors the murders might have explored had they not gone through with their plans. Would Dick have ended up on Death Row anyway, or was there a chance in hell of saving Perry from himself? Dick had so regard for life of any kind, save his mother and father. Somehow, I know that he would have ended up taking the lives of some other unfortunate souls had he not taken part in the murders of the Clutters. Nevertheless, Perry had potential to be someone great in the world. He was a learner, an artist, a musician, and maintained a sense of compassion. To know that such talent was wasted due to a shitty childhood yielding a lack of conscience is greatly upsetting for me.

Fifty-two years have passed since the Clutter family's lives were stolen that November night. It is a miracle that they have not been forgotten. In most cases of death, life goes on despite the loss of life. People move on, sometimes forgetting what has been done merely because that is the natural way. Yet, just two years ago, the town of Holcomb honored the Clutter family's 50th anniversary with the erecting of a memorial. It is amazing that the legacy of the Clutters lives on, despite the years that have gone by. The goodness that the family represented has not been forgotten.

This image can be found at: http://www.gcpolice.org/History/Clutter/Cutter_Family_Murders.htm
Their house still stands to this day, now shelters a new set of owners. I long to visit Holcomb, located near the heart of the Midwest, not only because I want to see the town that the story of In Cold Blood took place in person. I want to see the house where such beautiful people once lived and breathed. I long to sense their presence in the air, and feel as though I am a little bit closer to a family I have so deeply fallen in love with. Before I die, I will touch the Clutter's final resting, and place a bouquet of Poppies, Forget-Me-Nots, and black Roses before their grave.

5 comments:

  1. It's Capote's fault, you know. If he hadn't written it as he did, the Clutters and their murderers would be long forgotten by the world, remembered perhaps only by Alvin Dewey and the remaining Clutter family.

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  2. While I can’t comment specifically on this book since I have never read it I totally connected with the idea. I really liked when you said “It is a miracle that they have not been forgotten. In most cases of death, life goes on despite the loss of life. People move on, sometimes forgetting what has been done merely because that is the natural way.” I wonder how many stories have been lost because we have been too busy to write them down or think they are not important enough. How many people have died without the value of their life being realized? My grandma has Alzheimer’s but every once and awhile my dad tries to get her to talk about her childhood on the farm or growing up in the great depression. There is something about history on a personal level that is so different than the standard facts. Things we don’t often realize.

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  3. I know that the surviving members of the Clutter family resented their family's portrayal by Capote, mainly the portrayal of Bonnie Clutter suffering from clinical depression. But certainly in our time there's no shame whatsoever concerning that. The book is very powerful because it contrasts the wholesome, all-American goodness of the Clutters against the psychopathy of the murderers. The Clutters were just good people and anyone with a heart who reads the book mourns for them but also wishes that they'd known them. Through Capote's masterful writing, we do. I've read the book many times and the story just never goes away.

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  4. Estoy enamorado de Nancy Clutter.
    La amo.

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