This post is dedicated to my brother, Allyn.
I come from a relatively large family; there are six of us children. Five were conceived like stair steps in six years: Nancy, Nadine, Albert (Junior), Linda, and Allyn, then nine years later I screamed my way into this world to round it out to an even number.
Yes, ours is a large family, and we all have unique personalities: Nancy is very matter-of-fact, keeps a tight reign on her emotions at all times, and chooses to be a bit of a loner and set her own pace. Nadine is the good girl, seldom finding fault in anyone, willing to conform, and able to don rose-colored glasses in the worst of situations. Junior is the joker, quick with a quip and a smile; a man of great faith who adheres to the strict code of ethics God has set for him. Linda is moody, and our own ‘Gladys Kravitz’ from the old sitcom “Bewitched”; gossip is the dirt and Linda is the shovel. I’m the colorful, creative, crazy one. I’m the one with her nose in a book, who has a gift for words, is sensitive to criticism, high-strung, very emotional, battles depression and anxiety, and unconventional; basically, the family’s pain in the ass, baby. Then there’s Allyn…
Allyn was the self-proclaimed Black Sheep. He made my ‘unconventional’ look mild in comparison. He spent much of what few years of life he lived thumbing his nose at authority. He was the good looking, smooth-talker, you see in the movies; slipping in and out of illegal cracks, rubbing shoulders with those that most of us would avoid at all costs, and taking dangerous risks to make fast cash. He was tough, confident, and arrogant. At least, that’s how most viewed him. The truth is he was much more than that. He was the youngest son of a father who never understood him, always appeared to be disappointed in him, and to be honest, treated him poorly. I still don’t understand why my father singled my brother out like that. I never viewed my brother as being confident. I saw him as a man that grew out of an emotionally broken little boy, who desperately wanted the love and approval of his father, and thought he may finally achieve that if he had garnered some kind of respect, status, and money elsewhere. Like most, I assume, he wasn’t born bad, and he wasn’t all bad. He was tender-hearted, generous, good-natured, loving to his parents, siblings, wife, children, family and friends. I think he just got so caught up in the myth of how he could reinvent himself that he lost sight of who he was and what was important. I don’t blame him. I know what broken feels like. Being broken makes you do things that you wouldn’t otherwise do.
My brother disappeared Sunday, March 23rd, 1986. He dropped his 7 year old son off at home near 132nd and Grover in Omaha, Nebraska, after having him for the weekend, and told his wife he was heading over to his employers from there. This employer, who owned a restaurant on the corner of 10th and Hickory in Omaha, told investigators later that he never arrived. Oddly, at some point his vehicle did. The brown and white, 1978 Monte Carlo he was driving was found unoccupied on 10th and Hickory 11 weeks later. This has left many of us scratching our heads. Had the car been there all along and the police failed to see it? Did someone put it there, and if so, why would they?
There are a lot of details in this missing person case; way too many to mention in this one post. The just of it is, my brother was here one day and gone the next. He was involved with motorcycle club members, prominent business people, and got his hands dirty in just about anything and everything. Because of this and information they were able to obtain, my brother’s disappearance was quickly ruled a homicide by the Omaha Police Department, though a body has never been found.
Allyn’s remains. That’s how I and my other siblings refer to my brother now. Finding his remains is what we talk about, cry about, wrestle with our faith over, and sometimes, in my case, scream about. We’ve long since given up that anyone involved will get the justice they deserve in this world. It’s been 33 years and the police have told us any persons of interest are now deceased. We’re no longer looking for the who and why…only where. Where are our brother’s remains?
There is no closure when someone you love vanishes. Not when you’re told they are dead, not when they don’t surface for 33 years, not ever. Life moves on, seasons change, people grow old, and the one who is missing is stuck forever at the age you last saw them; a part of you stays stuck with them.
I am stuck. That’s why I’ve been unable to write. The anniversary of his disappearance came around again a week and a half ago. I start feeling it weeks in advance and slowly begin to unravel. By the time the day of arrives I have become completely unhinged. After, it’s a slow, painful recovery. I go through it every year. And each year that passes without closure the pain and the stuck gets worse, not better.
My problem is I am damn angry! I am angry with myself and pissed off at the police department. Unlike a lot of other missing person cases, there were leads when my brother disappeared. There were ‘people of interest’. I don’t feel any of them were followed fully through. To be honest, I feel like they let this case simply fade away because in their minds this was just another bad guy taken off the street. I blame myself, because I listened to them when I was told that it was dangerous for me to poke my nose in this case and start making waves by asking questions. My family and I did what we were told because we didn’t want to risk our safety or the safety of our children. We thought they would solve this case, and if unable to hold anyone accountable that they would at least find our brother’s remains, give them back to us, so that we could bury him with the honor we felt he deserved. What twists around inside of me is that someone threw him away like trash and in that shitty, makeshift grave is where he still remains to this day. It’s time for him to come home! I WANT MY BROTHER BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is literally all I have left of my brother. One snapshot of the two of us when we were very young, two photographs of my brother—each with the woman he was married to at the time, a few random pics, an advertisement from a massage parlor he was running in the early 1980’s, and an article written about him three years after he disappeared. This article claims a woman’s suspicious death might be the result of her having information about my brother and being silenced so she couldn’t share it. This is all I have; these and my memories.
We each have a story. We each have reasons why we’re broken and unable to heal. This is one of my reasons and a part of my story. I wanted to share it with you.
If you are a person of faith, pray for me and my family. Pray that my brother’s remains are found so that we can lay him near our parents and have a place to go to pay our respects. Pray that those who are responsible get what is due them; if not in this world, than in the next. Pray you never have to go through something like this. But most of all, say a prayer of thanks that you still have those you love in your life.