(22 Dec 16)
I recently shared this bit of personal history with a friend. The topic came about because it is one of my sad memories of the end-of-the-year holiday season.
Allow me to share it with you, Dear Reader.
I protect the innocent to keep the truth.
Debbie was one of my childhood friends; I think that she was three or four years older than me. Her home was diagonally across the street from where Kathy and I resided. The three of us were daily play friends.
Kathy and I moved away when our parents divorced and the court assigned primary custody to our father when I began 2nd Grade (1963). I saw little of Debbie after that.
Thanksgiving Day was a grand event for our gathering of extended family. We had it at the home of my Uncle John and Aunt Pat; their children were Jack, Gail, Carol, and Beverly. Their home was maybe one-half mile from our home. We frequently visited them, they to us, at least weekly if not more
Thanksgiving Day 1968 would be one of those bizarre events when people who may not have known each other came together and their lives would unbeknownst be intertwined during the coming years.
Hector was one of the guests at this 1968 dinner who would be that person who was connected to these events.
Bev, Kathy, and I went for a walk sometime after dinner. We wandered the neighbourhood snacking on oranges picked fresh as we made our way to the local quickie market.
There was a commotion at Bev’s home during our absence. We were told that Hector pulled a gun and started shooting. The police were called; it was Hector they were taking away as we returned home.
My Uncle John owned a bail bond business. My dad did occasional work for him to pick up a few extra bucks.
They had different furniture, televisions, stereos, other items whenever we visited their home. I often wondered. How and why did they have all this new ‘stuff’?
I overheard my father and Uncle John talk about ‘fencing’. I eventually learned that meant receiving and selling stolen property. Were Uncle John and my dad involved in this crime? Was his bail bond agency a front for criminal activity? I felt uneasy that my father would be involved. I asked my dad one day. He exploded, ‘You will NEVER ask that question again!’ I knew it was best to heed his words.
Debbie got herself involved in drugs during those years following our move.
Worse, she got deeply involved in very sinister elements of the criminal drug business.
One day in 1969, Debbie and two friends were kidnapt and taken across the border into Mexico. They were drugged with an overdose and left for dead. The two friends revived, but sadly Debbie died. The friends made it back home and told what happened to American police.
Through the course of investigation came the fact that Hector was the suspect who committed the kidnapping and drugging.
Curious. Many questions remain un-answered.
- Did Uncle John and Hector know that Debbie and Kathy and I had been childhood friends?
- Could knowing made a difference saving their lives?
- What if Kathy and I did not move?
- Would Debbie have not gotten snagged in drug abuse if we three stayed together?
- Why did Debbie find herself in that predicament?
- What became of Debbie’s two friends? Where are they now?
Uncle John offered a job to me to work for him when I turned age 18. My dad told me to take the job. I initially ignored this history and agreed to work for Uncle John.
I had been residing where I had to make a long-distance drive to meet with Uncle John and get my fingerprints done for the police file kept for bail bond agents and employees. This drive time provided the opportunity for me to reconsider this job and the baggage that came with it. I turned around and went home. I called and told Uncle John that I would not do it.
Debbie, I will always hold you in my prayers. I think of you every day, perhaps more so in connection to all these events during holiday season.