Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mystery Handcuffs Found

About a week ago I got a message from a very nice lady.  She said she was cleaning out her late father's garage and made a very interesting find.

She found a leather case and inside were a pair of handcuffs.

The cuffs were found in Romeoville, IL.  Her father was a supervisor at General Motors so this was very odd.    The lady said her family had never been in trouble with the law so they were most likely never used on father.  She had no idea why they would have been with his possessions.

The most odd thing about them though was that they were engraved, like by hand with a Dremel Tool or something.  The engraving says:

11/9/04 William G. La Fleur

We think Dad was the only William G. La Fleur to ever serve on the Chicago Police Department.

The lady who found them started investigating.  Apparently the brand (Chief of Police from Japan) is a brand that the Chicago Police use and these were made in the 1970s.  They are well used so they could easily have been Dad's, except he retired from the CPD in 1997.

I wondered if they hadn't been from Dad's time in the MPs with the Illinois National Guard, but he retired from the Chemical Brigade in 1998 and hadn't been with the MPs since the 80s or 90s (if I remember correctly).  Mom, Dad and Elizabeth had moved to Rochelle in 1998.

As far as my mom; my brothers Shawn and Garrett; and I know, November 9, 2004 was not a specifically important date in our family.  There was a William La Fleur in the employ of the City of Chicago in 1904, but he was a fireman and the cuffs aren't old enough anyway.

The lady said she was sure they had once belonged to Dad, so she wanted to get them back to the family.  I've asked her to send them to me.  When I get them I'll photograph them and share the photo here.

If you know anything about these cuffs or might have an idea of their story, please let me know.

I've made up a story in my own mind about them, worthy of a Papa Story, complete with aliens and mysterious nights and Ernie the cop.  I'll go with that if no one can come forward.  Like the best Papa Stories I will even have physical evidence.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Xanadu Fighting

No, not this one
"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:"
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

When I was about in 8th grade my Mom dragged us all, my three brothers, my Father and me to see a movie.  She was a fan of disco and roller skating at the time (she and my Dad even both bought roller skates (hers, white; his, black)).

The movie was Xanadu.  I won't go into what the movie was here.  If you don't know about it you can check Wikipedia.  What I will tell you is that is was a disco-roller-movie and of course the only one happy to go was my Mom.

Not this one either
Behind us, about two rows were two men.  If I remember correctly they looked like toughs, bearded, leather jackets, tattoos, each about 200 lbs.  I don't know why exactly they were there, I won't even take a guess at the several ideas that immediately spring to mind.  The only thing I know for sure is that they were not there to enjoy the movie in silence.

They talked loudly through the movie, and not to each other.  They complained how bad the movie was to the screen and they berated the audience.  I'm pretty sure they used words not in our First Communion books (if you know what I mean), but I have no clear memory of that.

My Mom kept shushing them.  Then she would lean over to my Dad and tell him to do something about them.  I don't remember what my Dad said.  I'd like to think he said something like, "What do you want me to do shoot or arrest them?"  All I remember is that he didn't do anything while the movie played.

At the end of the movie my Mom stood up and gave them a piece of her mind.  They stood up and challenged my Dad.  He stood up and said something about them leaving quietly.

The thing I remember so clearly and what amused me to no end was that when my Dad stood up and it looked like he was going to have to step outside with these two; several other men, most likely other fathers or husbands who had been drug to this horrible movie by their wives, who had been sitting and steaming at just having to be there; stood up behind my Dad.

I heard one of them say, "We got your back, man."

Several angry father/husbands just looking for something, anything to relieve them, to clear their minds of this roller-disco experience against these two loud-mouths.  They decided discretion was the better part of valor and left quietly.

I don't know about the adults, but that made the movie for me.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree!

The boys - Christmas '75
We just put our Christmas tree away for another year and it made me think of a sort of Papa story.  We've always had artificial trees as long as I've been around, but Nani and the Nortons (in other words, the La Fleur side of the family) always had natural trees.

Well, it seems that Dad grew  up with natural trees.  I think he may have told me stories of hunting for a good one when he was younger, but I can't remember them.  I do remember the story of the last natural tree our family had though.

In August 1964 Mom and Dad got married.  Christmas 1964 was their first one together.

I know that Dad stayed in the USMC for a while after they got married and they lived with Nani for a while, but if I remember the story correctly Mom was expecting.  Since I was born in November she wouldn't have been expecting Christmas '65.  It must have been 1964, only a few months after they were married, when Mom was expecting their first child that this story happened.

The house on Kostner always had a huge plate glass window in the front, and they used to have the tree right near the window.

That first Christmas Dad told Mom that when he was gone, if the tree ever caught fire she should grab a chair and throw it through the window.  Once the window was broken she should shove the burning tree out of the house through the opening.

I'm sure Mom looked at him and asked if he really just told a pregnant woman to throw a burning Christmas tree through a window.

Needless to say, Mom was not going to put up with that, ahem, "stuff."  The very next Christmas they had an artificial, flame resistant tree and have had one ever since.

Merry Christmas everybody.