Did you ever misplace a child?

Every person’s life is worthy of a book. I hope you are writing yours, or saving and collecting the material to one day write it.

I am in the midst of mine.

For those of you who just tuned in, this is the next installment of my memoirs currently in production. The previous installments are available on my web page I hope you find it interesting.

The book is titled, Live Long*,  Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot.

Twice; once when we were headed for our little farm 16 miles down the road near the town of Salem. Our daughter, according to her account, was busy doing important work for the betterment of the family in the back yard. Too late she heard our Volkswagen bus puttering down the road toward the slave labor camp, as the children described, it in thought if not in word.

Our daughter ran frantically to the middle of the street, waved her arms, but to no avail. She resigned herself to being left alone. Her only comfort was what the refrigerator, the cookie jar, and the television set might offer.

As the sun dipped low behind the mountains across the lake the tired farm crew pulled up. The weary boys automatically went for the milk buckets. Diane and the girls headed for the kitchen to have dinner ready when the milkers returned.

The abandoned daughter had watched the sun, turned off the TV early enough that it would be cool when we returned, and stacked most, and washed some of the breakfast dishes to blunt any accusations that she had deliberately dodged the work detail. Her efforts achieved their purpose. We still don’t know, and now we don’t care what her motives were.

Our young son, on the other hand was undoubtedly lost; lost in thought, not only this time but fairly frequently. We were on a holiday breakfast picnic in Provo canyon. He was wandering, and exploring, pondering weighty matters such as, “Why is there air? Where does the white go when the snow melts? What did people throw before there were rocks?” He was a child of nature, and nature beckoned him to pursue the nearest mystery of bugs, tree roots, cloud formations, and far off bird voices. At length he returned to the picnic ground and subsequently became vaguely aware that the group now accompanying him was smaller in number, and rather larger in size than his siblings, and more wrinkled. Also this group was inquisitive of things they should know, such as what was his name, and did he remember his home address and/or phone number? He didn’t.

Meanwhile back at the homestead, his brothers and sisters having returned from the picnic were rejoicing in a day out of school if not out of paper routes and goat milking. Supper was a hamburger cook out, and enjoying family togetherness. Then the phone rang. A very official sounding voice interrogated if I was Duane Hiatt. I confirmed his suspicions. He asked if I had a small son named Benjamin. Lightening struck my memory bank. “I’ll be right there.”

Contentedly licking his who knows how manyeth ice cream cone, my son smiled at me as I burst into the police office.

“Thank you officers for taking care of our son,” I said.

“A couple brought him in this afternoon. He finally remembered his phone number.”

“Thank you very much. We’ll be going now.” I looked at my son. He was still smiling, but not as broadly, more like a boy who just realized this might be the end of eating treats he didn’t have to share with 14 other people. I hoped the police were not noticing. They were not. They were focused on me.

“Not so fast Mr. Hiatt. We have questions you need to answer. Have you ever been arrested for child abuse?


“Domestic violence?”

“Look officer. Do I look like a child abuser or a wife beater? Benji, tell the nice policeman I’m a good daddy.”

He smiled through his ice cream drools.

“Ever been booked for child abandonment before?”


“No, not seriously; you’re obviously a good father, but we get all kinds in here, and we, like you, care about kids. Have a good night little guy. Thanks for being our guest here in the station house. Maybe you’ll grow up to be a policeman some day.”

Following that night, we never put the car in gear until every child counted off in order using his or her name, or for the smallest ones a goo or a giggle.

Your next installment is: Oh well

Everybody I know is busy, including me.  Where are those golden years I was planning on of sitting on the back porch picking my guitar? So I will send just one little part of the book at a time. You can give it a quick read and tell me what you think if you would like.

I’ve slimmed that process down to two questions, and four strokes on the key board (six if you count “Reply” and “Send.”)

The questions are these:“A” How much did you enjoy this?“B” How much do you think a person who doesn’t know Duane Hiatt would enjoy this?
The rating is:1. Glanced at it, printed it out and lined the bottom of the bird cage with it.2. Sped-read it and filed it with my tax return receipts3. Thought it was about as interesting as a well written obituary4. Could have put it down, but didn’t want to5. Couldn’t put it down. Put it in a magnetic frame and stuck it onto the fridge door

So your response would perhaps be A-4, B-3, (Or maybe A-5, B-5, I’m expecting a minimum number of those.)

Also feel free to add comments if you like.

Also, also, feel free to forward this material to anyone you want to.