After readings in Lacome, Stettler and Camrose earlier this month, I’m eager to take The Boy out on the road again.
Friday, October 28 7:00 PM Strathcona County Library 401 Festival Lane Sherwood Park
Saturday, October 29 1:00 PM Tofield Public Library 5407 50 St.
The One Book, One Stettler event on October 3 was as fine a celebration as I could have imagined. In that audience of about 65 people, there were several I had interviewed for the book—Dave McNaughton, Jack Pecover, Doreen Scott, Gary Anderson—and as well, there were people I hadn’t met before who offered new information and kept the discussion going for a very long time. The library served 1950s“themed” food—hot dogs, burgers, French fries and root beer floats—and I was not the only one happy to slurp a float for nostalgia’s sake.
While I was writing The Boy there were rumours about the case that came up again and again. The most frequent was that an “uncle” had confessed to the murders on his deathbed. Another that I heard several times was that Bob Cook had fastened seven paper flowers onto the aerial on the flashy convertible in which he came back to Stettler after the murders. Cook’s defense lawyer, Dave McNaughton, had told me that the deathbed confession was myth, and when the question came up at the reading, I was glad he was there with his answer. And I was relieved to hear from someone in the audience who’d been on the sidewalk the day Cook drove back into town in the convertible, that there were paper flower on the aerial, but not seven. Not the macabre memorial bouquet that had become part of the legend. There were interesting pieces added to the story, including one about the ownership of the shotgun that was the murder weapon, but what was clear was that the Cook tragedy had a huge impact on the town of Stettler and that this story lives on 52 years later.
In Camrose the next night, I was glad to be back among old friends and family, and pleased to meet new people, again those who remembered 1959.
I’m looking forward to Sherwood Park and Tofield this week, curious about who will turn up and what they will remember.