Growing Up Blue
By Kylie LoganMay 7, 2020
In a lot of ways, my dad was larger than life, a kid who was born on a farm to immigrant parents and who eventually moved to the big city where because of the Depression, he never finished high school. He joined the Marines in WWII and his many medals are now proudly displayed on my dining room wall, including the Silver Star he won for gallantry on Tarawa. He joined the Cleveland Police Department in 1946 and retired from it thirty years later as a lieutenant in charge of its Robbery Squad. That’s a lot of years ago and yet in just the last two years, I’ve met one cop who assured me “they’re still talking about Stan” within the department.
He was that kind of cop. The kind who met someone he knew every place we went. I’m sure some of those people were upstanding citizens, but more often than not, they were shady-looking characters, and they didn’t just put up with Dad as a symbol of authority, they respected him. Back in the 50s, Dad arrested one especially high-profile murderer who years after he was out of jail made a name for himself in the world of boxing and always made sure Dad had tickets to the latest match.
Dad was tough, and he was generous. He was dedicated to his family, and no one you’d want to mess around with. After he retired, he took a job as head of security for the Cleveland Public Library and one day when he was going to the bank to make a deposit, he was jumped by two toughs. He shot one of them (not fatally) and beat up the other one, and when the news that night started off with the words, “Senior citizen thwarts robbers” he was highly offended to be considered old.
Yep, having a cop in the family, teaches a lot of valuable lessons:
- Days off are not for being lazy. On Dad’s days off, he’d often put me in the car, buy me an ice cream cone to keep me quiet, and take me along as he drove around the city looking for stolen cars. Dad had a steel-trap mind; he always knew which license plate numbers he was searching for. This was long before the days of cell phones, so when we got back home, he’d call the station and tell them where the find the cars they were looking for.
- Looking for stolen cars (while I munched those ice cream cones) gave me a great education about finding my way around the city. Stuck in freeway traffic? I can probably find a way to maneuver through any neighborhood.
- Dad taught me to drive. We’d go over to Calvary Cemetery, a place where he said I couldn’t kill anyone, and he’d let me get behind the wheel while he sat next to me and laid out various scenarios. “Pretend there’s a red light at this next corner,” he’d say. Or, “OK, now right here, let’s say there’s a stop sign. What are you doing to do?” He’d reinforce his driving advice by quoting from the Ohio Revised Code. To this day when I see a stop sign, I remind myself that a stop is nothing less than “a complete cessation of movement.”
- He never gave me an FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) card, one of those “magic” cards that (at least at the time) was supposed to help you get out of speeding tickets. “You don’t need a card,” he’d tell me. “Just tell them who your father is.” Just a note, I’ve always been a good driver and never needed the card, anyway!
- Having a cop for a father is not necessarily good for your social life. Because of Dad’s work, our phone number was unlisted and boys who wanted to call didn’t always know that. Aunts and uncles with the same last name would proudly tell me, “So-and-So called looking for you, but we remembered what your dad said and we would never give away personal information. We told him we didn’t know who he was talking about.” Yeah, thanks, Dad.
- My dad was always a big Sherlock Holmes fan. In fact, I’m convinced Sherlock and his amazing methods were the reason Dad became a cop. He passed on his love of mystery and detection to me.
I’m not out patrolling the mean streets like Dad did, and oh, how I miss going out looking for stolen cars with him, but as I work on the mysteries I write, I like to think that he’s watching over me and assessing and evaluating my fictional detectives’ methods. I think I’m getting it right. After all, I had a great teacher.
About The Secrets of Bones by Kylie Logan:
Assembly Day at St. Catherine’s dawns bright and cloudless as professional woman gather from all around Ohio to talk to the schoolgirls about their careers ranging from medicine, to NASA, to yoga. Jazz Ramsey has also signed up to give the girls a taste of her lifelong passion: cadaver dog training. Her adorable new puppy Wally hasn’t been certified yet, so she borrows the fully-trained Gus from a friend and hides a few bones in the unused fourth floor of the school for him to find.
The girls are impressed when Gus easily finds the first bone, but then Gus heads confidently to a part of the floor where Jazz is sure no bones are hidden—at least not any that she’s put there. But Gus is a professional, and sure enough, behind a door that no one has opened in ages, is a human skeleton. Jazz recognizes the necklace the skeleton is wearing, and that it belonged to Bernadette Quinn, an ex-teacher at the school who’d quit her job abruptly one Christmas break. But now it seems Bernadette never left the school at all, and her hiding place makes it clear: this was murder.
Bernadette in life had been a difficult personality, and so there are a plethora of suspects inside the school and out of it. As Jazz gets closer to the truth she can’t help but wonder if someone might be dogging her footsteps…