|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 12:16 am: |
Police woke us up at 5:45 a.m. this morning--my mother's been burglarized and robbed.
Two junkies spent an hour ransacking her flat and trying to get her to hand over the valuables, as well as the keys to our place. At least they didn't threaten her or hurt her. Which is good, because we're all fresh out of valuables, and she managed to convince them she didn't have keys to our place.
They were young, my mother said; young white guys who obviously needed a fix. They wanted cash rather than anything they could sell, and we're all fresh out of cash. The stuff they did take is worthless to them, and a major pain in the ass to replace--insurance papers, the deed to the family plot in Queens, birth certificates. All from the US, so it will do them no good.
We're sitting around waiting for the crime scene unit to come and take fingerprints and DNA samples. Then we can start tidying up and take a good look at what's missing.
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 01:52 am: |
Shit, Pat! What an awful thing to have happen. Thank god your mum wasn't physically hurt - but she must be pretty shaken up.
The same thing happened to my aunt and uncle some years ago - he runs a chemist shop in Swansea, so the reasons for the raid are kind of obvious. They were tied to chairs, but fortunately, uninjured. The police finally caught up with the junkies and they turned out to be divinity students from a Welsh theological college. Cue for my 'I do not know what the world is coming to' speech.
Lots of sympathy, good vibes and so forth,
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 05:45 am: |
Urk. Terrible. May this pass quickly.
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 05:51 am: |
Sympathies from here too!
Liz: I live in Swansea. Yes the junkie problem is pretty bad here. I guess those divinity students were studying at Lampeter University -- they are all completely mad and best avoided (but obviously when they come for you that's not so easy!)
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 06:06 am: |
Oy. From one who was burgled (but while we were at work, thankfully) to another, my sympathies to your mom.
Good for her on being able to give coherent descriptions. May they catch the thieves quickly, and in the most humiliating-to-them fashion possible.
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 07:00 am: |
Sorry this happened, but so glad your mother wasn't hurt. How is she holding up?
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 07:34 am: |
How awful! That's really scary. I'm sorry and hope the burglars are caught soon--it sounds as if they're not too bright and will likely get caught soon.
How did they get into the flat, do you know?
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 09:35 am: |
What everyone said. Sorry this happened and hope things are quickly resolved.
|Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 01:56 pm: |
If the cops catch the creeps, get names & addresses. Accidents can be arranged.
Seriously, best of thoughts for the whole Cadigan clan.
|Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 03:13 am: |
The World's Stupidest Burglars
To hear my mother tell it, it sounds like a couple of extras from The Benny Hill Show broke in. Or maybe that should be a couple of guys who didn't make the cut to be extras--they weren't funny, but they were clueless. Or maybe they were jonesing too much. One of them, she said, was practically jumping out of his skin. He was about 20 years old--his sidekick seemed younger.
When they woke her, they told her they were undercover policemen, chasing a couple of burglars upstairs (i.e., in our flat). Now, for all the stories I've told about my mother, I have to say that she has always been the one person you'd want beside you in a crisis and at 83, she still is. She did a brilliant impression of a sleep-addled old lady who really believed these guys were cops. She actually managed to persuade them to fetch her glasses for her and let her put in her hearing aids so she could talk with them. Using the opportunity to do sleight-of-hand and hide the keys to *our* flat.
Near the end of the ordeal, one of them was offering to make coffee for her.
Total haul: one large tin of candy, several small enameled pins and a silver pendant. Just costume jewelry and except for the pendant, worthless to anyone except her.
Yes, they found the family jewelry...and tossed all of it aside. They found my son's bass guitar under her bed. "Oh, that belongs to my grandson," she told them chattily...and they immediately put it down. The insurance papers, the deed to the family plot, birth certificates, and all the other stuff we thought they'd taken--my mother found all of it after the forensic investigator left and she was finally allowed to clean up.
I have to say, I'm impressed with the Met. The investigator did a thorough investigation, dusting for prints and checking discarded candy wrappers for possible DNA evidence. In the evening, there was a follow-up visit from a couple of plainclothes officers from the burglary squad and in a day or two, they're going to bring some mug shots out for her to look at.
(The one time we got burgled in the lily-white suburban Kansas City area, we got one uniformed officer who took a report, followed by a form letter suggesting we visit flea markets and second-hand stores to see if any of our valuables turned up.)
But of course I'm most impressed with my mother. Aside from the fact that she did everything right to keep them from feeling that they had to hurt her or threaten her, she cooked dinner for me. (I didn't have any say about it--she just did it.) Today she's walking around congratulating herself and cracking jokes, and telling old stories about the time her mother almost brained a burglar with a potted plant but then couldn't bring herself to hurt him and told him to get lost instead (he did).
Of course, once it starts getting dark, we'll all be going downstairs to hang out with her till she feels like going to bed.
People have asked me from time to time where all these strong women characters in my fiction come from. I think I can safely say once again that I'm not exaggerating.
And just as a sidenote--the two uniformed officers who answered the call on my mother were both women, as was the crime-scene investigator and the plainclothes officer from burglary who followed up in the evening. Not because the Met felt my mother would be more comfortable talking to women--just the luck of the draw, so to speak. The only man we saw all day was the burglary officer's partner.
Anyway, I will be spending the next week or so being gobsmacked at my mother's extraordinary nature. Not to mention her extraordinary life. As she has already reminded me (and herself) several times, waking up at 4 a.m. to find a strange man standing over her in her bedroom was not the scariest thing that's ever happened to her--it's just the scariest thing lately.
|Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 07:01 am: |
Pat, that's amazing. You have the coolest mom. And it explains a lot about you.
|Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 07:14 am: |
|Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 07:32 am: |
Yeah, I'm with Minz and Maureen. Double wow.
all the best to your mum.
|Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 05:04 pm: |
Tonight she describes herself as "royally pissed off."
We had the Special Anti-Vampire Dinner of Champions--angel hair pasta in olive oil, heavily laced with garlic and garnished with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and black olives.
I gave her everyone's good wishes, and she says thank you. She's quite tickled about that.
Me, I'm still gobsmacked. It's only just starting to sink in what an extraordinary thing she's accomplished--to have the presence of mind *not* to scream or to become hysterical. It's almost certain that this saved her from serious injury or worse. Because she didn't panic, *they* didn't, and they didn't have to subdue her.
Of course, she was lucky they were young and dumb, and not a couple of mean bastards who would have gotten rough with her and then torn the place up just for the hell of it.
But that's a different situation. She handled the situation she had; she kept it from getting out of control and becoming something worse.
Then she tidied up the mess and made dinner.
Honestly, there are times when I have trouble writing any kind of fiction. I mean, you can't make this stuff up.
|Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 05:29 pm: |
Whew. Pat, what a tale! My proverbial hat goes off to your extraordinary mom.
You DID give her my love, I hope.
|Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 02:29 am: |
Yes, Ellen, I did, and she thanks you heartily.
You do know, don't you, that you are her absolute favourite? She says you remind her of her sister, my Aunt Loretta. In her words, "She's so much like Loretta--she takes nothin' from nobody, and she can out-shop and out-dress anyone on the planet."
And appropos of nothing except perhaps reminding me of the family trait of being able to turn a phrase, something she told me that her grandmother (my great-grandmother) told her mother (my grandmother): "Wherever you live, make sure it has enough room under the kitchen floor for a place where you can hide all the women. You never know who's going to drop by."
|Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 08:19 am: |
Pat, You did tell me that I remind her of her sister Loretta but I didn't know why until now
|Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 02:53 pm: |
Give her a hug for me.
No surprise to anyone who knows YOU that you would have a cool Mom (or is she a Mum by now? but there's sure gotta be better ways for us all to be reminded of it.
Keeping good thoughts and hands on head.
|Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 05:04 am: |
Owing to a kitchen-remodeling project, our house looks like it's been ransacked by burglars, and I've been moping around seeing no end in sight to the architectural mayhem, but what your mother went through, Pat, puts our situation wholly in the dark, just as your mom's exemplarly behavior puts my hair pulling and moping about wholly in the dark. Wish I could simply tidy up the mess and make dinner, with that kind of elan. And hope all is soon wholly back to normal in her neighborhood.
|Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 07:18 am: |
Thanks, thanks, and thanks to all of you, from my mother and from me, for your good wishes.
We are just about completely back to normal now--she called me this morning with the usual panoply of complaints, none of which have anything to do with recent events.
Life, she do go on, don't she?
|Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 05:31 am: |