Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The People We Meet in a Small World

When I show up for yoga class, there is not a lot of time usually to chit-chat with my fellow yogis.   On a rare occasion I may have coffee with someone afterwards, but it is usually a quick 'hello, how are you' in the locker room.

Last Saturday it was 'Happy New Year' and 'what did you do?', etc.  I mentioned that it is not my favorite holiday and the conversation went from there to childhood memories, to Windsor, Ontario, to the old Elmwood Casino, to the Detroit riots in 1967, to my working at the old Detroit General Hospital at that time.  Took about two minutes of our time, if that.

My yoga friend said that perhaps I knew her uncle who was the administrator at Detroit General.  I said I remembered him and she asked me about  the 1971 shooting.  She said she was only twelve at the time and did not know much about it and had never met anyone who was there at the time.

It brought back a flood of memories.  I recall the whole episode as if it were yesterday.  I truly believe that my dislike of random fireworks going off is a result of that day in July.

The old hospital occupied an entire city block.  I worked on the fourth floor of the smaller of two buildings that were connected by a hallway. We received a call that there was a shooter in the building and that we were to lock down our labs and let no one in.  Our four chemistry labs were connected with three hallway doors.  I still remember some guy yelling that he was a doctor and to let him in but we were all too scared to believe him.  None of us opened the door.

Looking out of my windows which faced the Detroit River I could see policemen all over the streets. The shooting was happening on the first floor directly below our labs.  One administrator was killed by the gunman who was himself shot by police though I have no recollection of whether or not he recovered.  All I know is that it was a very harrowing experience.

The gunman had entered through the clinic building behind our building.  He went looking for the personnel director who was away from his office.  He then proceeded to come into our building and went to administration where he killed the man responsible for firing him.  Another disgruntled employee who settles his score with a gun.

My yoga friend seemed very happy to have learned something that no one ever told her about with any detail.  Her uncle was not harmed in the incident, though the administrator was killed in her uncle's office where he ran for cover.  I relived what was a very painful day.

After that incident we had security guards at the doors, badges we had to show, and a general feeling of unease that seemed to stay with us until I left in 1977.  I still remember my friends and I getting off the elevator one day when an unsavory character got on, who wouldn't have been there without proper ID, but then you never know, do you?

Is that shooting what scares the  crap out of me when I hear fireworks?  Who knows?  I just know I don't like them.

13 comments:

  1. that is really interesting. I guess we forget that things like this did happen in the past. There are so many these days we think it is a new trend. Wish it were better, don't we. Have a blessed day.

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    1. Imagine if the internet and social media always existed. These things happened years ago and were one day stories.

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  2. What a scary experience for you. I don't think that's why you dislike fireworks though. This goes to my personal opinion about the availability of guns in the US. But that is another topic. One wonders what these people hope to achieve by shooting someone that fired them. Weird logic.

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    1. Well, the shooter was a former mental patient. That explains a lot.

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  3. That is a frightening experience and if your gut stirred something up and you feel a connection between that day and the fireworks then it might be. At least you could help that girl even though it created a stirring of memories most unpleasant. Amazing what we have experienced in our lifetime thus far

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    1. We all have experiences that shape who we are. Not all of them are pleasant.

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  4. It could well be. When I lived in Wichita, I worked in an office where several people had worked together at a credit union. Something awful had happened there. They never did say and there was no Internet back then. From what I could piece together it may have been a hostage situation with at least one death. But I can not find anything on it, and, I wasn't going to ask. But I can still remember, every once in a while, someone mentioning "the credit union" and work would stop. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I had to try several different phrases before I could find anything on the internet regarding this shooting. When I Googled the name of the man who was killed all I got was a genealogy page. You might try Googling and see if any old news reports come up.

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  5. What an intense experience. I'm thankful that nothing like that has happened in my lifetime, yet, though I've had drug-addled people go behind the counter of my work, and strange men with kitchen knives running around near the school I work at. Maybe it's the unpredictable 'bang' of the fireworks that scares you most... whatever it is, I'm glad that you weren't hurt!

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    1. Strange men with kitchen knives? That's pretty scary. You are right about the suddeness of the fireworks. I'm fine if I am at a scheduled show.

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  6. Back in 1977 those types of incidents were unusual. Unfortunately, nowadays, they are almost a common occurrence. I'm glad that you - and your friend's uncle - were unharmed!

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  7. I don't understand violence, but there so much for me to learn.

    Coffee is on

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  8. Wow, that is really scary. It's sad how many people have to go through something like that these days.

    Glad you survived. *hugs*

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