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By Laura Moncur in The Disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde

When I found myself back in the Grand Canyon, scouring the edges of the Colorado River for the point on the planet when I lost my true love, my vision from so long ago returned to me. Glen was long ago lost on these waters, but as long as I ran the river, I would never be without him. I could feel his gentle eyes and Rosie’s calm strength watching over me, guiding my Navy surplus inflatable boat along the water.

At that moment, I became Georgie of the River.

The Disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The inventor within me resurfaced, edgy and angry at her imprisonment behind the facade of mother. My whole childhood, I had played with the cast offs from the Navy, but that summer, I invented something far more than a new kind of boat. I invented an entirely new sport: river rafting.

Despite my long absence, tour guides and adventurists were still running the river on wooden boats, just like the one Glen made me for our honeymoon. It was as if time had stood still on the Colorado River. Until I brought my monstrosity to the water, there had been no innovation.

“You gonna die in that thing.” The tour guide had pulled me aside on the Brightwood Trail to give me some advice. “You gotta be careful, girl. People drown theyselves every year on this river.” He pointed at my military-grade life raft. “That thing’ll kill you.” I smiled at him. It felt like I had never left Arizona. I fully expected him to tell me a tall tale about a congressman who was dealing in white slavery next.

“They was a couple back in the Twenties that drown theyselves in this very river. They were goin’ down the Colorado for their honeymoon and they was never heard from again.” He leaned in close to me and whispered. “They say she stabbed him and ran away, but I know it was the river that got ’em.” He nodded as if he had given me a pearl of knowledge and, strangely, I agreed. It WAS the river that got us. Glen died here and I fully intended to do the same. I didn’t care if my raft killed me. I lost Glen and I lost Rosie. I had no more for the water to take away from me.

The Disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde by LauraMoncur from FlickrWhen my fame and fortune finally came to me, the Life Magazine photographer had a modern camera. I didn’t make the cover, but I was perfectly willing to abdicate to John F. Kennedy. He was our beloved president, after all. Ironically, the article right before mine covered the deepest SCUBA dive that had ever been achieved.

SCUBA, it was a word that grated on every nerve in my body. That Frenchman hadn’t an inventive cell in his brain. When he changed the name of my invention, he literally changed their perception. Instead of a wondrous device, they were a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. Sure, the name was descriptive, but my Wondrous Water Breathers lost all of their magic when that man renamed them.

The Disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde by LauraMoncur from FlickrStill, I felt the glow of success at every deep dive they achieved. I might not have felt the pecuniary effects of their wide-spread popularity, but I had the pride of knowing they were my invention, even if no one else knew I was the inventor.

Besides, I had more than enough money and fame from running the river and the boats that I had invented. A scientist is not the invention she creates. Science is a lifestyle and a mindset. Science is something that you cannot sell or give away. It lies within you and you will never lose it for as long as you still have your senses.