Both men realized that they had run out of time. Their supplies were almost gone and their pick up point was a day’s hike away. Matt had taken note of the coordinates for that point on the island and they determined that the next time they came they would drop down closer to that point and have more time to approach Nicole.
Returning to the ship, Matt set about getting a map charted and placed the island itself on the bigger maps as a new uncharted island that had just been discovered.
Bruce’s task was more difficult. He had to convince his sister that going back to the island was imperative to finding out t more about their father, when in fact he had no idea if that would even work.
Monica was sympathetic, yet wary of the plan. Although here original intent was to locate her father, the expedition had been funded to do something completely different. She would have to justify the cost of the helicopter and the time involved to send the men back.
After two weeks of deliberations, Monica gave the okay. Matt and Bruce were all set to leave the ship for the island the next morning. But a sudden storm approached and they cold not fly. September was the beginning of hurricane season and the reality was that they might not have safe passage for another six months. Bruce did not want to take the chance to be stranded again and he agreed to wait until March. By then it would have been more than a year since he actually talked to his mom.
While waiting out the hurricane season the team set about the task they had been commissioned to do. They slowly made their way further down the Amazon river, encountering all the jungle had to offer. Bruce saw piranhas destroy a full length boa constrictor. He saw a boa constrictor squeeze the life out of a monkey. He saw a black caiman destroy an entire school of piranhas, he saw a giant otter and was scared to death when he saw the huge anaconda swimming next to the ship.
Nothing in Bruce’s past had prepared him for his present state. He no longer had a plan for his future. He was completely unsure about his here and now. He spent a lot of time, as it was available, speaking with Monica and Steve. He wanted to know more about the man they all called dad. Strikingly familiar were the stories of his being gone for long lengths of time. It became so normal that none of the kids thought life should be any other way. Also consistent with all the stories was their mother’s undying love for their father and her defense of him at any cost.
Amanda Patterson did not seem to be the same personality type as Nicole Patterson. Where Amanda was independent, Nicole was dependent. Where Amanda was self-sufficient, Nicole relied on others for everything. How could a man love such diverse women at the same time? The only place to find that answer was to learn more about the man they all called Dad.
Amanda found out that Sam Patterson had been orphaned by the age of ten and never really knew his father. Nicole only knew that Nick Patterson had no family. Monica, Steve and Bruce could not believe there was not more information about their father available somewhere. The World Wide Web had become very popular and with the satellite on the ship they should be able to access the internet.
All three agreed that his birthday was somewhere in 1947. Amanda heard that he was born to an unwed mother. In 1947 that was a crime and there were only specific places where he could have been born, if he had born somewhere other than a dirty alley. That was a dead end.
Was there any way they could come up with his social security number and perhaps they could track him that way? Monica was not sure if social security numbers were required for high school back then, but she figured that was good place to start. She contacted the school that her mother and father attended together and introduced herself as his daughter and wondered if they could provide any background information on him. It took almost three week for a response to come back and all the school could provide was his birth date was June 1, 1947. His mother’s name was Lillian Patterson and his father was unknown. They provided an address that was on his record.
The three grown children were elated. That gave them somewhere to start looking. They looked up Lillian Patterson; they looked up Sam Patterson DOB. June 1, 1947, and they looked up Patterson in Nebraska in and around 1947. The only information they received was from a hospital in Azusa, Nebraska. It stated that an unknown woman had come into the emergency room and given birth to a baby boy. When it was time for them to be released, the woman was gone and the boy was turned over to the state. Could this be their dad?