Where does a story begin? Aside from the creation narrative in the Bible, no story really starts where the narrative does - they tend to have at least a little background. Even if a story begins with the birth of the main character, there are still older characters whose early life and background will be alluded to, and thus an earlier part of the story remains untold. My story begins more than ten thousand years before I was born - but I'm a little sketchy on the details of that part. So I'm going to start at the earliest part where I can have some degree of accuracy, about a hundred and seventy years ago.
In 1856 in the town of Riverview, Indiana, population two hundred some, a stranger showed up. His name was Skyler Woods Brimmer. Skyler had no parents, and no family history to speak of - he said he was found by his mother on her doorstep when he was a baby. The woman who had raised him, he maintained, had lived alone, and she had just died, so he had come to Riverview to seek his fortune. Of course, none of this was true, but they had no reason to doubt it, so they all believed him. Hoosiers are simple folk, not used to deception, and ready to accept anyone who's willing to work hard and support themselves.
Skyler was well-liked by all of his neighbors, and set about making a life for himself. Four or five years later he got married. His wife was pregnant with his first son when the war broke out. Most of the men in the town signed up to fight on one side or the other, but Skyler had no desire to fight. Pressured by his friends, though, he eventually gave in. He fought with distinction but was put on the front lines at the battle of Shiloh. As his body was never recovered, he was proclaimed MIA, but his wife pretty much gave up hope when she heard the news. She named the boy Skyler Woods Brimmer Jr.
The second Skyler Woods Brimmer lived a fairly normal life, had two sons and three daughters, though what befell his daughters is information I've been unable to acquire. His second son died in a fire at the age of fourteen, His first son he named Skyler Woods Brimmer III, and the name has been passed down ever since. Interestingly enough, only one male heir from each generation has survived - any boys not named Skyler Woods tended to perish at an early age. In 1955, Skyler Woods Brimmer V gave birth to a daughter, Lisa Brimmer, my mother. Number five had the unfortunate distinction of being the first not to bear a son to carry on the name, though he did have three daughters. He was rather distraught about this fact most of his life, and it was his dying wish that Lisa name her son Skyler Woods Brimmer.
In 1983 Lisa married Wallace Tamsworth, a funeral parlor owner from Minnesota. When she married him, she insisted that their first son be named after her father, to honor his wishes. He found her obsession a little eccentric, but he was in love with her, so he agreed. They first gave birth to a daughter, my sister Katherine Tamsworth, and then 3 years later to me, Skyler Woods Brimmer VI. Three months later my mother disappeared. My father remarried a few years later, but it left me in the difficult position of being the only member of my family with my last name. Even more difficult when I learned the import of that name.
Skyler Woods Brimmer the first was no ordinary man. He passed on certain... talents to his descendants, and with them a name both famous and infamous in circles most people don't even know exist. I would discover all this eventually. But at the time, all it was was a long, cumbersome name, inherited from a woman I never got a chance to meet. I was an ordinary kid, with an ordinary life. But all that was about to change.