Damn, it’s taking longer than either myself or, I’m sure, you appreciate for me to get through all of this. Still, I’m nowhere near having the whole of the documents fully organized. At first I broke them all up into months; that’s when I noticed that this was not representative of the whole of 1954’s Maine State Police records. No, instead it seems that this box only accounts for a couple of months of work, from September to November. Like I wrote before, this is ten pounds of paperwork. Ten pounds for two months, Jesus Christ!
Some of the sheets might be from other earlier dates but, again, there’s a lot of rot and a lot of censorship in here. Also, some of the pages have been torn to shit, maybe by a rat or simple use and abuse over the years. I don’t know but, it makes organizing all of this a bit tricky when names and dates are either obfuscated or completely missing and when just handling some of these papers tears them to tatters.
But, I’m not writing just for my health. I’ve got something for you good little boys and good little girls. Unless I’m able to un-censor some of the other sheets, I think I’ve got the first reports! It seems that whatever tale that this box holds within its bounds started on September 10th, 1954.
I’ve got four missing persons reports, two from Waterville and two from Winslow. Why the hell were these down in Portland? In a dusty beaten box tucked away in an abandoned basement? I don’t know but, I think it really cool that I was the one that was lead to it, the one that found it.
In case the images aren’t working or whatever, I’ll describe them a bit. The two from Waterville are really beat up, torn to shit; pieces missing, censored and just barely keeping it together. In fact, I ripped one of them just pulling it out of its place from the stack.
I don’t really know what takes precedence here, with the facts and details, I mean. These first two are both from Waterville and both were filed or written on the 11th of September but, after that I don’t really see any other similarities between them.
Take the first one, for example, some older woman, Elizabeth Tanner, went missing from her home while her grandson was at work. It’s written that she had dementia, I guess that could be something like Alzheimer’s. I’m not certain and I haven’t found any other related documents but, I guess she got confused while her grandson was away and went missing.
I imagine her putting down a newspaper, as confusion creeped across her face and down her bones. Looking around the room, not recognizing any of it as somewhere she belonged; feeling like she had broken into the place while sleep-walking and only just then having woken up.
She was born in 1887. Let that sink in a bit. She was born before radio, before cars, before TV, before fucking airplanes. Where was she in her mind, when was she, when she woke up in her grandson’s house? Did she wake surrounded by the then modern trappings of a suburban household? Could the part of her mind that was awake even begin to make sense of all of the gadgetry that a house in the 1950s would have had? Could she recognize herself in the mirror? Or did she swat away the horn-rimmed glasses and pull at the blue, flower-printed dress that was but wasn’t hers?
And in that state of mind, swallowed by the fog of her own mental decay, she just left the house, not knowing where or even when she was.
What went through her mind out there? Seeing cars go by on paved roads, a manicured lawn, and people passing in their then modern garb. Was she terrified as well as confused? Did she panic? Did she run down the street, without shoes or socks; bolting toward anything that held some semblance to the known?
I’m still organizing this pile of torn and blotted out pages but, I’ve gone through it a few times now. I haven’t seen an end for Mrs. Tanner, no supplementary form, no found person report. I don’t know what happened to her. She was definitely lost but, I don’t know if she was ever found.
And then there’s the censorship. Her report isn’t as bad as many of the others but, there are definitely bits that have been obscured from reading. Some of the censorship, on other documents, was either done too quickly or with a dying marker so I can read the redacted words. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here with Mrs. Tanner.
The first bit they censored has to be about a police officer; the sentence reads that her grandson reported Mrs. Tanner as missing to…and then finishes with “Waterville PD.” The next bit is at the bottom of the page, after it reads “Typed By”. I can’t make it all out but, I think the name is “Neill.” I’m positive about the “eill” but, whatever came before it is too well concealed.
I gotta look up how to remove the marker without touching the ink below.
The next one, like I wrote above, was also filed on September 11th. It has also been torn to shit and censored. Same things as before too, the names of the officer that took the report and whoever typed it all up are blacked out. I do wonder at the additional things censored, though. Both the phone number for the missing person, Justin LeRoux, and his father’s workplace have been covered up. Why? I mean, I get censoring the names of police involved for safety reasons, maybe. But, what point is there in covering the phone number of a missing person? Is it for protection of that person? Was it found to be a useless number? Or, is the covering up just that, covering up? Is something being hidden?
Anyways, whatever attempt was made to hide the last bit was done in vain. There is this little hand-written note below the line that mentions the father’s work and it reads “Someone at the mill?” So, good job Mr. Censor. The dad worked at the mill, lived in Waterville and I’ve seen a mill mentioned in some of the other documents. If I were a betting man, and I would be if I didn’t lose all the damn time, I would wager a guess that Justin’s dad worked at the Hollingsworth & Whitney Company.
I haven’t even written about the kid yet. Justin LeRoux, ten years old, running around the streets of 1950’s Waterville in his navy slacks and beat up flannel jacket. Staying out late to avoid his dad, who probably worked some pretty nasty hours at the mill, if my guess is correct. The report read that there was “a history of Justin vis[iting] friends without informing his father beforehand.” Was Justin a hell-raiser or, was he avoiding home?
I’m thinking Justin might have been staying away from good ol’ dad there. His mother isn’t mentioned in the report, maybe they just didn’t put her in there or, maybe, mom wasn’t in the picture anymore. Just Justin and his working-stiff father.
I don’t know. Perhaps I’m being too hard on dear old Robert LeRoux. Maybe I’m projecting. I just see a little kid that suffered through a shitty home life until, just maybe, he got out. Sure he was only ten years old but, there must be kids out there that were able to get away, able to remove themselves from their shit circumstance, able to jump the rails and align themselves with a new fate. Was Justin one of those kids? Did he steal enough money from ol’ pop, stuff a sandwich in his pocket and bolt for Augusta, Portland or Boston?
Or maybe he just got snatched. Maybe he was walking home from his friend’s house, passing a parked car that no one would recognize as their neighbors. Do you think he was ambushed? Or do you think the man who took him was friendly to start, asking Justin for help getting his puppy out from under his car before wrapping his arms around the boy and throwing him into his car? Either way, one less latchkey kid in the world.
Fuck. I hope that’s not what happened. I haven’t seen his name again either but, as mentioned, there is a metric fuck-ton of paper here. Maybe he got found. I hope fate was kind to him.
Listen, I know that I wrote that I have four reports to share, I wasn’t lying but, my girl is calling for me and it is late. I’ve been holed up in the guest room every night, shuffling papers and drinking, for a couple weeks now. She ain’t too happy with me. Time to snuggle, repair some of the damage I’ve wrought upon our relationship.
I’ll be sure to get the other two up sometime later this week.