06 March 2007

A Very Sad Story

In the Alan Dale post I mentioned that I had a story about the French's who lived next door to us. Us kids all got on well together and we loved Mr and Mrs French. Mr French was the local copper but we never thought of him as that...he was just our neighbour (although he could roar at us kids if we needed it!). They were very good to mum who was on her own bringing up us kids...Mr French would always check to make sure we were all safe.

They had three kids, Kevin, Chrissie and Robbie. Kevin and I were the same age, Chrissie was a year younger and Robbie a year younger still. He and my younger brothers used to knock around together.

One day, we read in the paper that our Mr French had foiled a robbery and had chased the robber but unfortunately didn't catch him. He was a hero in our neck of the woods and the paper called him "brave Constable French". To know a hero was a real boost to us and we could boast that we lived next door to him.

As I said in my previous post, we would go up to the Youth Club every Friday night and there was never any trouble, because Mr French would pop his head in...in plain clothes...but everyone knew who he was. There was no sneaky drinking by the boys, because they knew they would get their butts kicked all the way home and then their parents would be told what they were up. Policing in the very effective, old-fashioned way...this was the early 60s.

As I said in my previous post, we eventually moved away and lost touch with our friends. However, we were terribly upset to read in the paper about a year after we moved that Mr French had been arrested for breaking and entering. The incident I mentioned above had been orchestrated by him. Apparently, he had a gambling habit and needed money so knocked off that particular business and said that he disturbed the thief...but it was him all the time.

Then about four or five years after that, we read that Robbie French was on the run. Apparently he had murdered someone, was jailed and managed to escape. It was awful to hear our childhood friend being described as "armed and dangerous" and if anyone saw him they were advised not to approach him.

Robbie was a lovely kid as a boy and I have always wondered what went so wrong that he should be jailed for murder. I just felt so sorry for the whole family, especially Mrs French. Imagine, her husband and son in jail. I have often wondered what happened to her, Kevin and Chrissie.

It just goes to show, we never know how our lives will turn out.


Gail said...

Life takes various paths some good some bad,but we can all make a choice which we choose to take, its sad these old friends chose the wrong path.
Have a good week my friend.

Don said...

When you said a sad story, I was afraid that he had been killed. The ending wasn't happy, but much better than it could have been. I'm sure there was still much goodness in him.

(Just popped over here from Lee's kitconn blog).

Deana said...

That is an awful story. It is always sad when people end up not being "bad people" but to have known the good in someone and see it is very hard.

Gattina said...

I don't know what I would think about that, it never happened to me but you only know what is written in the papers, god knows what pushed him to that and the boy you played with it's sad. I only remember one very awful story, when a neighbor's boy whom I knew very well and who had always played with our son, died at 21 by an overdose, hanging over a garbadge can. I can tell you, nobody here could understand that, especially because the parents had done so much to get him out of drugs.

Lee said...

One never knows how lives will turn out, Robyn...it's sad for the wife and mother, and the other siblings. It would certainly be difficult to deal with.

Tammy said...

so true...I just hate it when I admire someone and they turn out to be a fink!

Liz said...

My friend is the kindest person you could hope to meet. Genuine and loving. Her son, Mike, is a year older than my elder son and they were best frineds for many years, gradually drifting apart when they went to different schools and formed different relationships. When he was 22. Michael killed a man. He was imprisoned for manslaugher. When he came out he got in with bad friends and was soon on hard drugs. His own sister had to call out the police to arrest him when he was threatening her.

As a boy Michael was foolish but never evil. He was fantastic with animals, but not very bright.

How these things happen in families that are loving and caring is a mystery. I believe there was a girl involved in Michael's story; you say the policeman was a gambler. It's so easy to fall. There but for the grace of God goes each one of us I believe.

Marcia said...

The older we get the more we hear stories like that. It is very frustrating, we all want to know why and how to keep it from happening again to someone else.

DellaB said...

a very sad story Robyn. I always think when I watch these 'kids' gone wrong, or even the more hardened criminals, one day, they must have all been somebody's baby..

This new drug that's in all the news, the one that killed the young girl, how bad is that? You have to ask why? what's wrong with this world.. the kids.. our leaders..


Merle said...

Hi Robyn ~~ What a sad story that is and I hope they may have found some peace later in their lives.
Glad you liked grandma driving and her Hawaiian good luck sign.
Take care, Love, Merle.

Remiman said...

Sometimes you just take a wrong turn and before you know it your lost and can't find your way back.
If it hadn't been for a couple of teachers taking an interest in me when I was 14, and channeling my "energies" into sport, I hesitate to think where I might have ended up.

Peter said...

Hi Robyn, that's a sad tale, quite a letdown when the hero turns out to be the crook.

Merle said...

Hi Robyn ~~ Thanks for your visits and no I don't plan to run a marathon for a while. I enjoyed my
shopping trip today - funny you should mention Bunnings -No I didn't go there. BUT Big W had some nice pelargoniums, and azalias they needed to get rid of, so I obliged!! Glad you liked Sisters, I always wanted a sister, but you blogging friends are filling that void beautifully --many thanks !! Of course use anything I post to send to others or post yourself - let's share the love. Take care dear friend,Love, Merle.

Anonymous said...

Thats a sad story Robyn. I don't think I can compare any of my experiences to it. I too was expecting an ever worse ending, like he paid you a visit recently, or even worse. I think that people are put in our lives for reasons.... and I am sure that there is a lesson to be learnt from him and I also find it refreshing that you still can recall the happy times. I think that I would have tried to block him out of my mind if it was me.
xox Nic

PEA said...

Hi Robyn:-) Finally getting caught up here! Oh dear, I can imagine how upsetting it must be to learn that a man and son everyone admired turned out to be like that! Really goes to show how we really don't know a person at all!! xox

Mountain Mama said...

How sad. And to realize that anyone can make a mistake and end up in a bad situation certainly gives us something to think about.