|Brooksie van Pelt 1950's Private Investigator|
Photo by Dave Haworth: davesphotoexploration
Thanks everybody for joining me for yet another installment of Devil at Dusk, this week we have part seven for your reading pleasure.
It was Saturday February 21st 1955; I had been out late doing an investigation the night before because of this I had decided to sleep in a little later than usual. However my sleep was disturbed late in the morning with the phone ringing (actually it was time for me to get up anyways) it was a little after 11 am and it was the head day nurse over at the hospital, she was calling to let me know JT had passed away about a half hour ago. I was in shock and reeling from the news, I asked the nurse if I could come right away to the hospital to collect JT’s belongings and to also say goodbye to my dear friend. She said that would be okay. While I was getting ready to go I broke down and cried, I have to admit I felt lost with JT gone forever.
I got in my car and headed over to the hospital; I checked in with the nurse and then told Mr. Pruitt his services as guard were no longer needed because JT had passed away earlier that morning. I went in to JT’s hospital room and I went to JT’s bedside where I said goodbye to my dear friend. Of course I started crying yet again; before the day was done I will admit I was a complete mess! I collected all of JT’s belongings. While I was still at the hospital I called Mr. Walker the night guard and told him JT had passed away so his services were no longer needed. Then I called over at the Sheriff’s Office to let Sheriff Holifield know that JT had passed away, he said he would contact the Jones County Coroner to set up an autopsy. I told Sheriff Holifield that I was going to be taking a few days off from work but I would be back at it on Tuesday afternoon. Sheriff Holifield said he would let me know when the autopsy was scheduled for as soon as possible, that way we could make plans for the funeral after that. Also Sheriff Holifield told me to stop into the office when I was back to work on Tuesday so he could introduce me to the Assistant Deputy Sheriff, Terry Jo Schneider. Deputy Snider had been on vacation the past week and would be returning to work on Monday. The Sheriff said they had hired him a year ago; he was a young guy and a hard worker. The Sheriff said he was a family man with a young wife a small child and another on the way. He also added that Terry Jo was a great addition to the team and that he was a very serious young man. I told Sheriff Holifield that I looked forward to meeting Deputy Schneider on Tuesday.
After that I headed back home, right after I got home the phone started ringing. It was Sheriff Holifield letting me know that the autopsy was scheduled for Monday. I decided to take it easy the rest of the afternoon and I listened to the radio and did some reading until it was time for Bet to get done with work. Bet taught horseback riding on Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s at the stables and in the field behind the big house. I gave Bet enough time to get home and change her clothes then I went over to the big house. I told both Bet and Will the news regarding JT, they both started crying, and it turned out to be a very sad day. We were all very much hoping that JT would take a turn for the better, snap out of it and get well but it just never did happen. I let them know the autopsy would take place on Monday and that we should plan to have a graveside funeral on Thursday if possible. I told Bet I would be taking a few days off and would be going back to work on Tuesday. I asked Bet if she could possibly help me with making arrangements and the funeral planning, she said of course. Sometime after the funeral I would have to make arrangements to go back to Chicago to get my belongings to bring them back to Laurel.
Everything had pretty much been up in the air until either JT got better or passed away. Now that he was gone it looked like I would be moving out this way. I had to send a 30 day notice letter to my apartment manager back in Chicago. Of course I would dearly miss Chicago but all in all the quality of my life will be much better here. I was a big party girl while I was in Chicago; I was into the wild night life. I already had cut way back on my drinking which used to be a nightly occurrence down to one glass of wine within the past week. Back in Chicago I would usually go into work later therefore I would work into the night, and then go out afterwards. Winslow my business partner usually worked the early shift. Since I had been here I had been to bed and up a lot earlier and if I had been up late the night before I made sure to try to get enough sleep also. I felt as though since I got here, I had to be more serious and that people were counting on me. I had to be as sharp as possible which meant getting more sleep and cutting back on drinking. I would also be tapping into my creativity when it was possible (which always keeps me more grounded) by writing, drawing and painting plus walking, hiking and some horseback riding to keep me in balance and to get me outdoors. These things are not always easy while living in the city. One of the things I was very thankful for was that I had spent a lot of time in this town and really had grown to love it plus some of my favorite people in the whole world lived here.
I spent the next couple of days with Bet and Will at the stables, I called it horse therapy and I think it really helped with my grief. I spent my time riding horses, feeding the horses and helped out with cleaning the stables. As was mentioned before, the autopsy was scheduled for Monday morning by that afternoon I got a call from the coroner confirming our suspicions of poisoning. The rest of the day on Monday Bet and I worked on the funeral arrangements.
Well this concludes installment number seven; stay tuned next week for installment number eight!