This is the story of how, through a dislocation of time, my son, Frank Standish Burden III, the famous American rock-and-roll star of the 1970s, found himself in Vienna in the fall of 1897. It is a complicated story, full of extraordinary characters and wild improbabilities. Rather than dwell on those improbabilities, or the parts that require more thought and explanation, I will simply tell you what I know exactly as I know it and let you sort out the pieces for yourself, forgiving a ninety-year-old woman her various lapses of memory. As an aged poet once said, "I do not remember all the details, but what I remember, I do remember perfectly." And you will forgive this very subjective narrator her need to describe herself in the third person, as just another character in this remarkable tale. It is, after all, my son who is the center of this narrative. The world, of course, knew him as Wheeler, a name he acquired in the early 1950s, playing boys' baseball in the Sacramento Valley of California, exactly how we will come to later. So Wheeler it will be, as I reconstruct for you his story.
Flora Zimmerman Burden
Feather River, California, 2005