31 – Reflections on Biscayne Bay 

(An excerpt from The Man Who Mastered Gravity)

31

Reflections on Biscayne Bay 

(1964)

Our family dynamic changed radically when we lost my little sister in a swimming pool accident. No family should ever have to go through that. Dad was supposed to be watching her but my brother and I felt the blame too. My Mother took that loss in the worst way. She blamed my Dad and she never got over it. After that summer there was never peace in my household.

I’ve often thought that if I had the power to alter the past, the one thing I would do is go back and save my sister. But then I realize that her death was the thing that started me on the road to being who I am…

– Morgan

“Looking back,” Morgan recalled, “it seems that Dr. Brown was surprised to see me when I first showed up on his doorstep, but maybe not entirely. It was hard to tell. He knew that Linda had decided to ‘go in my direction’ physically, and he didn’t seem to have any objection to that. I guess that I made her happy, and that’s what he wanted. 

“Late at night in his lab he and I would talk, often past dawn, about his propulsion system and the possibilities for it. He talked often about the impossibly high voltage required to get the full effect. He described the challenges he faced with his work in Philadelphia and why he’d left the area so abruptly.

“And I confided my thoughts about becoming spy. ‘Dangerous business’ was all he said.” 

“Now that I’ve had all these years to think about it, I don’t know who was seducing whom. During the day, Linda and I were taking these side trips around Homestead, having a wonderful time with each other. She was like some kind of gift from the ocean. We swam once at the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, while Dr. Brown had an appointment with ‘some people.’I didn’t realize at the time that he was setting up a meeting with one of the most influential men in my future life – Sir William. 

“Not long into the visit this slightly built, white-haired gentleman visited the lab. He was accompanied by guys with sunglasses who were just ‘there.’ My nose was sniffing, ‘danger, danger!’ Who were these guys? Not one of them smiled at me when I walked past. 

“Linda told me one afternoon when they were all there at her father wanted to see me at the lab, so off I went, a lion-shocked lamb, heading into the den. 

“I knew right away from the deference that Dr. Brown showed his visitor that this man was important. His men were clean shaven, and suddenly I was very aware that my hair was long and I was sporting a full beard. Linda said it was sexy and that was cool, but I suddenly wished it was all gone. 

“Dr. Brown showed a great deal of respect for this gentleman, and I could tell that the feeling was mutual. I was the only one that didn’t have any kind of past history or standing. Sir William – I didn’t know that was his name then – asked where I was going to school. When I mentioned that I’d be taking part in my school’s work study program in New York City he seemed familiar with it. I realize now the mark of a true gentleman, as he deliberately put me at ease. 

“And then he then he turned to Dr. Brown and said, ‘Tell you what. Let’s show this young man a little bit of the Biscayne Bay!’”

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