A Murder in the Family

When Grandmother White shared that newspaper clipping with me, she knew I would tell

Jacque White Kochak
Human Parts
Published in
12 min readJan 3, 2019

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II was in my Grandmother White’s powder-blue living room in her house on Second Avenue in Dodge City, Kansas. The living room was perfect and neat, with low-plush carpeting and a fireplace at one end of the long room. She has lived in this house since before my grandfather died, since before I was born, and I will always associate my grandmother with this soft shade of pale blue.

On that day, Grandmother White decided to share a family secret with me, a family secret so awful it had been buried for almost half a century. I was twentyish and staying with her — I don’t remember why — and we didn’t often talk about anything serious. With no preamble and without words, she handed me a yellowed newspaper clipping that she had obviously kept hidden for decades. The story covered the whole front page of the publication, and the aging newsprint was splitting along the fold lines.

We have always been a family that keeps and guards our secrets zealously. The corollary to that family trait is that secrets so carefully protected must at some point be shared, passed on, in homage to their power. Not shared carelessly, but not lost forever either. If never spoken, they might never have existed, which for some might seem a good…

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Jacque White Kochak
Human Parts

I have been writing for years but more recently transitioned to writing grants. I have published extensively in the past and am just getting up to speed again.