Monday, August 28, 2006

Population 800

The town bookie died last week.

When you move to a village of 800, where almost everyone is related somehow to almost everyone else, there are some things nobody bothers to point out to you, just because they are taken for granted.

So we had been here at least five years before I happened to ask, "By the way, what does ____'s husband do for a living?" "Oh, he's a bookie." Very matter of fact. It would be inaccurate to call it an open secret, because it wasn't really a secret at all. That's just how he made his living.

We didn't go to the funeral, but it wasn't for lack of respect; we just didn't hear about it in time, which is really my own fault for not paying attention to the lamppost in front of the the funeral home. If it's lit up, someone has passed away, then you call and listen to the message to find out who died and when the services are scheduled.

We didn't make it to the bookie's funeral, but it was well attended, and we've sent a card. I'm pretty sure he did less harm in his life than the former bank president, who kept two sets of books and loaned out more money than the bank ever had. That was big excitement, the weekend the F.D.I.C. closed the bank with an armed guard outside from Friday to Monday and all kinds of rumors flying. But it's excitement we pretty much could have lived without. Some folks lost savings. Some investors lost everything. Some businesses that had been barely hanging on, in a downtown that is barely hanging on, went out of business.

So if I had to bet on who's the respectable citizen, the bookie or the banker, my money's on the bookie.


Anonymous said...

I found your lovely lace pattern on ebay tonight, and then went to your blog, etc., and read a few items. Can you tell me in a blog what will happen to the banker?
Yes, I agree with you. The bookie probably did less damagen than the banker. What a terrible situation to put the people in of a small town of pop. 800. I found it interesting how the town announces it deaths.

We had deaths here last week of 5 Amish girls in Lancaster, PA. What a tragedy we have experienced!
I am amazed at the evil in this world, and also the kindness.
Do you have a local newspape where the banker story has been written?

I feel sorry for the people whose his crime has impacted.

Cindy G said...

Thank you for reading and commenting!

After two years of building a case, the FDIC brought fraud charges and the bank president was convicted. He is faceing a number of years in prison and a requirement to make restitution. There was some coverage in the Wisconsin State Journal and the Monroe Times as well as a smaller local called The Pecatonica Valley Leader.

We were shocked and saddened here, too, by the shooting of the Amish schoolgirls. It is hard to find words for the sorrow of such senseless violence.