the heart of the americans

The Heart of the Americans

In the early 1990s, a young woman named Denise Anette Huber (from Newport Beach, California) was missing and the focus of the media was fervent. Weeks after weeks, the search went on and on, continuously and vigorously. In the process I got into it (as a Griot) and felt deeply about the missing young woman, although I had never met her in my life. I wondered what her parents had to go through when search results turned empty-handed. Dennis body was found two years later in Arizona, the body stashed in a refrigerator, unclad.

I asked myself what kind of monster would do something like this.

I also asked myself what kind of person Dennis might have been. I wanted to know these

stories because when I returned to Africa someday, the Griot in me would be impeccably competent and prepared in narrating her story to people in a faraway land.

With regards to Denise, people who knew her said she was a deeply humanitarian person who cared sincerely for the wellbeing of others. In an effort to know more, I began my own Colombo style investigation. I didn’t want to go overboard for obvious reasons ( I will probably end up being the prime suspect if I dug too deep), but I got a few tidbits that meant something to the Griot in me. Dennis Huber was interested in a law enforcement career. And that knowledge triggered the San Jose cop incident and gave me a clue as to what kind of people choose to work as cops. The love and compassion rendered to me by that San Jose cop was still fresh in my memory then. In 1994, when her memorial service was held at the Mariner’s Church in Newport Beach, I was in the back seat, under a dim light, tears cascading on my face like a rainfall.  I felt she was an incarnation of the San Jose cop. Even though, deep down I knew Denise might have not even considered being a cop, I still thought she was that cop from San Jose.

I was devastated. When leaving I hugged the parents at the entrance and told them I was an African Griot. There were six black people, men and women, and I hugged all six of them, because their presence there meant a lot more to the parents than anything else.

I was fifty then and my thought process was a lot deeper. Black presence in a pre-dominantly white people’s functions seemed to me an indication of something favorable to come. This fantasy of mine may be a thousand years away, but the mini version of that final nirvana was prevalent in the Mariner’s Church that day. The races were all one!

Now going to Denise Huber memorial, it actually became a beginning for me for more memorial attendance to many others. I attended the memorial service of Amy Bihel, the young woman killed in South Africa by young African thugs who went out on a killing rampage of white people during the Apartheid period. Amy had nothing to do with the Apartheid system; if any she would have stopped it herself if she could.

Ladies and gentlemen: These are the Americans – the Amy Bihuels and the Dennis Hubers who made me see the world differently.

And they deserve my gratitude.

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