Legal Quandary

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Stories Nobody Told Me

Several weeks ago, Mr. Q and I were cleaning out the laundry room of my grandmother's house when we came across a file of newspaper clippings. It contained stories about various family members, most of them like the one about my grandmother taking college courses in her 70s or the picture of my uncle when he was appointed to his position with the city government.

But there was another clipping from 1962 that was different. It still mentioned a couple of family members, but it wasn't one of those human interest stories. Instead, it detailed how my great-aunt and great-uncle were held hostage at gunpoint.

My great-uncle Walt was a manager in the big local (and now defunct) department store. Apparently a disgruntled former employee felt that my uncle had been directly responsible for getting him fired, so he put on a Halloween mask and camped out in the bushes next to the garage to wait for Uncle Walt to come home. His thinking was that he could intimidate Uncle Walt into giving him some money. Unfortunately, Aunt Bea noticed someone in the bushes when she was taking out the trash and, thinking it might be my uncle, called out to him. The gunman came out of the bushes, and forced Aunt Bea first into the car, and later into the house. I guess he wasn't planning on her being there because he kept apologizing that "she wasn't part of his plan."

Eventually Uncle Walt came home and the gunman made both Walt and Bea get into the car and drive downtown to the store. He made Bea lay on the floor of the car, but let her go once they arrived at the store. Luckily a janitor saw what was going on and notified the police. When the police got there, the gunman was sitting next to the open safe with a pistol pressed against Walt's head. It took about an hour for one of the cops to finally talk the gunman into letting Walt go.

Uncle Walt died about 15 years ago. I attended Aunt Bea's funeral earlier this week. Although this all happened years before I was born, I'm just amazed that I'd known these people all my life, but didn't know this story. This was probably the most exciting thing that EVER happened to anyone in my family, and I had to find out about it by cleaning the laundry room.

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