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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

An Unpleasant Find

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

Last week I wrote about finding unusual things. I sent an e-mail to my family, soliciting contributions of their oddest finds, and my brother confirmed the body he found topped his list, but he also wrote a little about the details of the situation. Some of the details had faded in my mind with the passage of time. So this week, in his own words, the story of how my brother, Albert and his friend, Tom found a body in the Menominee River when he was in high school, and he got in trouble with my parents as a result.

Around the age of 14 or 15, a good friend of mine, Tom and I decided to take a day off of school. As I recall we wanted to go to a shopping plaza in Menominee, MI. There was a Tempo store there, with a lot of albums and cassette tapes as well as a high-end audio store called Team Electronics. We skipped school, and rode our bikes into town instead of to school. (Editor's note " my brother was not all a routine school skipper. As I recall it, his friend was getting ready to move to Alaska and this was sort of a last adventure for them.)

We got into the city of Marinette and proceeded to ride across the Interstate Bridge into Menominee. While crossing the bridge, I spotted something that vaguely looked like a body floating in a man-made channel just off the river. There is a little campground along the channel, but it must not have been the season for camping because I don't remember any campers there.

As you cross the river there is a high embankment that leads down to the channel. With a teenager's agility, we went down the slope to the water's edge. We looked at the mostly submerged form floating about 10 or 15 yards out in the water, and debated whether it was a log covered with moss, or a body. We picked up some small pebbles and hit the object, but still were unable to determine with certainty what it was. Then, either I or Tom picked up a very large rock and heaved it out in the water. It probably didn't get too far out, but the waves we created caused the object to bob up and down. It was at that point that Tom exclaimed, "Thibodeau, that's a body, I can see the seam on his jacket!"

We debated a bit and somehow it was decided that I would continue to ride across the bridge, go into Menominee and call the police on a pay phone. Tom stayed behind to make certain the body wouldn't float away.

I went into the Tempo store and lo and behold, my high school principal was in a shoe store just off the main lobby! What are the odds? Fortunately he did not see me, so I made a dash back out, (not wanting to be caught skipping school!) and entered by another way, found a pay phone and made the call.

I rode back to the channel and at some point a police officer and some firemen with a boat showed up. They went into the channel and hooked onto the body, towing it behind the boat and bringing it up onto the bank.

When I got home, I confessed to my sister Laura and she wisely advised me to tell mom and dad. Did I actually think they would not find out such news in a small town? So I confessed to my parents, and they promptly turned me into the same principal I saw in the shoe store. It was determined I should do a week of detention. Not so bad, as I had company in my friend, Tom.

I think I heard later that the individual had gotten his truck stuck somewhere upriver and had somehow fallen into the water. He had been in the water approximately one month before we found him.

And if that weren't enough, when I was 16 I found a guy, still alive, who shot himself in the head. Really! I took him to the emergency room.

Editor's note: Yes, my brother, just two years later, was driving back to my parent's home when he noticed a person stumbling along near the roadway. He stopped to assist and when he realized what the situation was, put the person in my parent's car and went to the hospital. As I recall this person survived.

I was angry with my parents when they forced him to admit to the principal he had skipped school. I felt like he was being punished, after what I felt was a very traumatic experience. But I give them credit, we were raised to take accountability for our actions.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: Janiethibmartin@gmail.com.



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