I think this was taken somewhere between 1954, when we moved from Bakersfield to Oroville, and 1956, since I, on the right, cannot be much older than 14. Peter stands next to me; then our mother's mother, Grandma 'Dell (Adele); Robin, our sister, and Terry Thayer, our cousin. This is the front porch of our house.
Peter's expression is one common to him, of wistful diffidence (mine is of cocky, smart-alec self-assurance 😏). There was also this Peter:
Peter and I grew up in Bakersfield. When our father sold his optometry business in 1954 and bought the farm in Oroville, we moved there in the summer of 1954. The move was easier for me. I was finished with sixth grade - like New Zealand Year 6 - and would, in the course of events, have changed schools that year; Peter was a year behind me in school. The change was rather more disruptive for him - and, I am sure, for Robin, our sister.
Were Peter and I growing apart even then? It may be so. We were very different in our likes and habits. Peter was at home with cars; had his own car - I never owned a car until Edna and I married. When I prepared for my driving licence, Peter coached me, with sharp rebukes at my failures. He was interested in clothes - bought his own when our mother declined to buy the more stylish (and expensive) things he wanted. I ... well, those who know me will not need to be told that I was not ... dapper.
High school, University, marriage for both of us, but soon geography made a significant difference. My post-graduate studies were in Honolulu; Peter's in California. For all the rest of our lives we have been separated by many thousands of Kilometres. My wife Susan and I moved to Auckland in 1973; from there to Yap in 1976; and back to Auckland in 1984. Peter spent much of his life between Hawai'i and California. He visited us in Auckland once, and the Internet has reduced the force of some of that. Nevertheless, the physical distance has possibly been less significant than the religious.
Peter's wife (also Susan!) is a Christian. I became a Christian in 1970. I do not know for a certainty that these facts were of great importance for Peter - but I suspect they may have been of great moment. I remember a time - probably in 1972, when Susan and I had travelled to California after our marriage - when Peter and I talked about religion. He was concerned to understand why I, who had been as unreligious as it is possible to be, had changed. I was then in the throes of new conversion; and my know-it-all self-assurance had not lessened. I cannot imagine that my attempts to talk to him could have been less than off-putting - and not of use in explanation.
The subject never came up again. Peter referred to himself, from time to time, as the one remaining atheist in the family. He must have been conscious of this.
Peter was a physical anthropologist; a lecturer in anthropology; and an expert on Native American archaeology. I wish I had known more about his work. He, and, later, his son Sean, ran a business examining construction sites (mostly in California and Hawai'i) for archaeological remains needing attention. Because our parents, and our sister Robin, lived in Hawai'i, Peter spent much time there, flying between California and Hawai'i several times a year. His son David lives there still, on land adjacent to our sister Robin's.
But Peter became less and less involved in any of this. The time came when it was necessary for him to cease working; eventually to retire to a place of care; and early yesterday morning, found rest. When my son John phoned me yesterday morning to tell me about it, rest was the word that came to mind. I felt, then, that Peter's trials were over. Be at peace, my brother.