Truth As Strange As Fiction: A Troubled Reflection
One evening when I came home for dinner after hanging out with my friends around the ten block area we called our neighborhood I found that a murder had taken place having to do with the nursing school across the street from us and my family was very disturbed about it.
The eighteen year old young woman, just four years older than me, didn't go to school there but she attending classes at the nursing school located behind the then Paterson General Hospital. It was also a dormitory where many of the girls lived while going to school there.
One of my mother's sisters who lived next door to us in the block of row homes on Madison Avenue stood on their front porch talking to my father who sat in one of the two Adirondack chairs on ours. My younger brothers Ike and Dave where also there, sitting on the steps while and one of my older cousins stood at their doorway, and other neighbors along the block were also outside all watching the large commotions going on at the school.
When I came around the corner of twenty-third Street onto Madison, I saw a group of car, a few double parked, in front of the school even with the usual city traffic trying to get by. Two or three of them vehicles with Police. A lot of girls, some in the nurses uniforms, others in street clothes on the wide stone bifurcated staircase leading up to the Nursing School's wide white columned porch. All appeared to be crying as they stood or sat some in pairs, a few in a group hugging one another. The next day we learned that the police flashed pictures of the dead woman at them which sent them out of the school in tears.
As I walked up the walkway to the house we rented for the last two years my younger brother Ike said, "A girl's been murdered yesterday."
Like most of my reactions in my young life to everything I heard for the first time seemed to stun me into silence. This was the first time someone in my sphere, though not someone I knew was murdered. City sounds drowned out from around me as a dumbfound silence filled my head.
Looking back on this event to me my mind froze as my brain moved along each words I heard before they jellied into one blurry image since I'd never pictured a person murder before. It still produced a hideous picture cloaking me into continued silence, almost as if I never learned to talk at all.
So I just listened to the talk around me. My mom came out of the front door with beer for her and my dad and sat in the other chair. She joined the conversation with her sister and my dad about what happen.
For weeks the girl's murder was covered as it was big news for our area in northern Jersey, a thirteen miles drive to the George Washington Bridge. There were two local papers in Paterson, the Morning Call and The Evening news.
My parents read all about it and what was reported about it on the TV and radio. Some times the reporting would be contradictory. The story change depending on where you got your news either from the TV or print. So the facts were hard to follow.
One account saying she was beaten and raped, and others making it clear that she wasn't raped but her clothes were in disarray and that she was stabbed either eighteen times or up to sixty times. Another problem was the contradictory report that there was a dog in the house that did not bark so the dog must have known the murderer, to there was no dog in the house and still no barking. And then it was said it was a crime of passion but she could have stumbled into a home burglary of her house. Some said she told her school she was leaving early to go to a funeral for her great aunt's funeral in New York with her father and were to meet at their house for the journey, her mother having got ahead. And another account mentioned she didn't tell the school she was leaving. But a few things that reminded constant thorough out; that it was a chase and a fight thorough the house ended in the dining room in front of the French style doors to the family's back patio in her Fair Lawn home.
A fact that haunted me was that her father was the main suspect. It seemed the police questioned why the father had her cremated within days of her murder. This was unimaginable to me and frighten. I knew my Dad. And that made it clear to me, in my young mind, this had to be an impossibility. They just had to be wrong. Of course, it time I would learn that almost anything is possible with humans.
Was it her father? A stranger? Or someone else she knew?
I waited for months for a conclusion with none coming and the girl's life slipped from many memories. For years this murder has got unsolved. It's not often but once in a while I remember this sad event.
For me I settled on that it was an intruder, possible someone she knew from somewhere or around her neighborhood, there, to rob the house. But he or she turned into a murderer when recognized and it was a vicious killing because they had to wrestling her to death.
She graduated from high school in June of that year and entered nursing school two weeks before her murder. She had an interests in music and liked to ski. Her name was Alys Jean Eberhardt.
Copyright 2018 by JD Holiday https://jdholiday.blogspot.com/