A thought

I got to thinking, again, about what would happen if I disappeared. What people would say. It was a pair of gloves that got me thinking. Today an acquaintance gave me the gloves — red leather driving gloves, nice quality — because they didn’t fit her hands. They’re sitting innocuously on the coffee table right now.

Imagine if I disappeared and the police never bothered to interview the person who gave me the gloves and so they and public thought the gloves were some kind of clue, left behind perhaps by my abductor? “The only thing out of the ordinary was a pair of lambskin driving gloves left lying out. Ms. Good’s boyfriend said he didn’t recognize them.” I can imagine them buzzing on Websleuths about it.

Okay, finished writing up Relisha Rudd

I had dreaded doing Relisha Rudd‘s case because I knew it would take a long time to do and it would be very depressing. It did take a long time to do — around four hours, all told — and it was one of the saddest stories I’ve had to write in a very long time. Not her disappearance but her entire life. I praise the Washington Post for their excellent series of articles on her disappearance and the circumstances around it; they were the main source for my writeup.

Of course the Charley Project database is meant to be written in a journalistic style without passing judgement one way or another, but I hope the reader will be able to feel the outrage that I felt, reading what that poor girl went through.

Now I’ve got to find a few other cases to write up so I can reach my minimum number of five cases for the day’s update. I think I’ll pick easy ones. “Few details are available.”

God, I’m tired.

[ADDENDUM: I give up. Today’s updates will number only three.]

I can’t stop and I don’t want to

In the town of Douglas, Michigan is a place known as Mount Baldy. It’s not a real mountain; it’s just a giant sand dune, mostly covered by trees. It’s open to the public and has some hiking trails. On one side is the road and an endless flight of steps (282 of them) up the dune. On top, as you might have surmised, it’s just bare sand. Then on the other side is a sand trail leading down to the lakeshore. My family used to summer in Douglas and I spent a lot of time at Mount Baldy. I’d like to go back there. I haven’t been there in at least fifteen years.

One of the things I liked to do was run, full tilt, down the dune’s sand path to the beach. It’s a pretty steep. Going down it, it would be hard to keep a steady pace. You naturally find yourself going faster and faster, letting gravity take hold. I used to pretend I was a gazelle, positively leaping down the dune. It was great fun. And if you try to stop before you reach the bottom where it levels off, it’s almost impossible to do without falling flat on your face. It was a game I played with my brothers once or twice: start running down the dune as fast as you could, try to break the sound barrier, then try to stop without falling.

I thought of it today. I was thinking about the Charley Project and how things used to be. Back when it was the MPCCN, and then how I renamed it, and made other changes and added everything it has now. The site has always been a labor of love, some days more of one than the other. And it keeps growing in one form or another, and it would be hard to stop that, even if I wanted to. Some days I do want to. But I know I’m committed now and if I try to stop I’ll just fall. I stumble once in awhile and have to catch myself. Best thing to do is keep running as fast as I can and enjoy the ride.

I hope everyone had a good Easter, here’s mine

I for one had an excellent Easter. Michael’s parents and Michael and I went out to eat at a Japanese steakhouse, one of those where the cook makes your food right at your table. It’s quite a show. He was out of school all last week for spring break, and we enjoyed ourselves spending time together. We went to Science Central one day. I’m sure I would have loved it had I been nine years old. As it is I’m twenty-nine and merely liked it.

Another day we watched four Amazon Prime documentaries all in a row. One about parrots, one about the Bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one about cats and one about the truth behind urban legends. The one about the Bomb was the best one and Michael and I got into deep conversation about war and how there are all these tough decisions you have to make and you often will never know whether you were right or wrong. Like, we’ll never know whether dropping the Bomb saved more lives than it took. But one survivor interviewed for the film had a very touching and, I think, healthy take on her experience: she said she was actually glad it had happened. She said something to the effect that her suffering, and the suffering and horror endured by the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and all the destruction and death, was all necessary to let the world know how terrible the Bomb was and why it must be never be used again. She said she was sure it never would be, that “our suffering will end with us.” (I wish I was as optimistic.)

What struck both Michael and I as extremely sad was that, according to this documentary, the Japanese themselves turned their backs on the survivors and their children. If they found out you were a survivor, or that one of your parents was one, you couldn’t get work and you couldn’t find anyone willing to marry you. Now, I can understand why people might be reluctant to marry survivors after the war because at the time there was no way to know whether the physical damage could be passed on to the next generation. (The answer, apparently, is no. I looked it up and read that children of Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivors who were conceived after the war were statistically no more likely to have health problems or birth defects than any other child.) But, once it became clear that radiation poisoning wasn’t contagious, it seems really disgraceful the way those poor people have been treated. Michael and I discussed why this might be so and he suggested that maybe it was because the survivors and their kids were a living reminder of Japan’s loss of face, their shame. But we don’t know all that much about Japanese culture so we’re just speculating.

All in all it was a good week we got to spend together. We had meant to visit the Auburn Cord Duesenburg Museum but it didn’t happen so Dad and I went together yesterday afternoon. We had fun. I salivated over those huge, pretty, shiny cars that reminded me of birthday cakes. There was one that had to have been eighteen, maybe twenty feet long. (Must’ve been a nightmare to park.) Here’s a picture of me standing next to one of the cars:

Auburn Cord Duesenburg Museum

(The dragon on my shirt is off the Bhutanese flag, btw. Three cheers for cultural appropriation! I’m a big Bhutan fan.)

We weren’t allowed to touch them, of course. I’d have loved to get inside one of them but that would have gotten Dad and I both thrown out. There was only one car they let you get into, a 1916 Something-or-other. Dad took this rather poor quality picture of me at the wheel:

IMG_0531

That’s all my news for now. I think I’m doing just fine.

Churning out more lists in advance

I make my Make-a-List Monday lists weeks, sometimes over a month in advance. (I really ought to do the same with my Flashback Friday and Select It Sunday entries; that way I wouldn’t keep missing them if I happened to forget or have been away from the computer those days.) Right now I’ve got four lists made up and am working on a fifth, another “really bad photos” list.

Just because the mood has struck me, I thought I’d explain the benefits of these lists. Although the lists often take quite awhile to put together, any one of these reasons would be enough to continue doing them:

  1. I like making them.
  2. They are popular with blog viewers.
  3. They bring often-obscure MPs up to the surface, if only briefly.
  4. When going through casefiles to make a list out of, I tend to notice things like typos (lord knows I have plenty) and then will fix them. (The other day I saw “wants” written instead of “once.” Ouch.)
  5. I also tend to notice cases that look like they should be purged, and will go and check and see.
  6. I also get inspired to research cases I haven’t updated in ages, to see if there’s any new things to add.
  7. I also occasionally find cases in my files that shouldn’t be there anymore, as in they’ve already been resolved, and I had forgotten to remove them.

Working lately on the “really bad photos” lists, I think that one big service NamUs has done is provide much better photos of quite a few MPs. Loads of times I’ll have a grainy, blurry black and white photocopy-of-a-photocopy-of-a-newspaper picture and then NamUs will put up the casefile with a good quality, color version of the same image.

I’m thinking of doing a list of MPs where, while they were searching for the MP, they found someone else’s body instead. I can think of at least two Charley Project cases that meet with that criteria. I’m not sure how to seek out more though.

MP of the week: Shane Fell

This week’s featured missing person is Shane Michael Fell, who vanished after a car accident in Marrero, Louisiana on June 10, 2011. He flipped his vehicle, then spoke to his brother on the phone and sounded okay. By the time the brother and the cops arrived at the crash site, though, Shane Fell was gone and he hasn’t been seen since. I have no clue as to what happened to him.