NATIONAL POLICE WEEK

While growing up in the 60s in Columbus, Ohio, I didn’t talk to strangers about my dad, Glade Reeder, who was a policeman because they were being called “pigs” in my world, and I didn’t want to be known as the “pig’s daughter.”

"Plain clothes" Detective Reeder with flashlight in hand.
“Plain clothes” Detective Reeder with flashlight in hand.

In my house, Dad would not even allow the word “cop.” He and his cohorts were to be called police officers. But even my dad said (when asked about police brutality), “Every organization has bad eggs.” Dad, however, was a compassionate giant of a man and never shot anyone. He would go out in the middle of the night to help people–off duty. Yet, my poor mom knew he could be killed at any moment, just for his job description.

Of course, people deserve to not be afraid of the police uniform and police absolutely deserve our respect. It is not the job for a weak heart, and predictably, my dad had a massive heart attack, which forced him to retire earlier than he wished. A scuffle in a bar was the last thing his heart could handle.

This fear and distrust between the police and the so-called general public will only create bigger problems. Shame on news agencies that flame this delicate issue either way. What we need is a fairer judicial system and solutions for the mentally ill. I lived in NYC when President Reagan shut down all the mental institutions and basically dumped thousands of crazy people on the streets, some on my block! Not much has changed.

Police can’t fix these larger societal issues, yet they are the ones bearing the brunt of the violence in our homes, on the streets and in our neighborhoods. Who are you going to call in the middle of the night if a burglar is breaking into your house?

Bless all the good police officers and all the families of police officers that put up with this strain on a daily basis, while the rest of us drive through Starbucks and complain. The police are us, all colors, all nationalities, and most are good men and women trying to serve and protect.

This week and every day I honor all the good people who have died while wearing a police uniform.

The Family Tale of Anna Jarvis

On Mother’s Day, I‘d like to tell a story about my dad, Glade Reeder, or rather a story he told me while growing up.

Dorotha (my mom), Glade and me.
Mom, Dad and me.

Dad loved to tell people we were related to Anna Jarvis, the woman credited for establishing Mothers Day in the United States. He didn’t know exactly how, but that was the family myth. As a teenager, I would roll my eyes. My dad was always telling stories. But, as the world turns, his family tale is true. My dad’s mom was a Jarvis and thanks to Ancestry.com, I can now say without a doubt that we are, in fact, related to Anna “Mothers Day” Jarvis. I wish Dad were here for me to tell him that Anna Jarvis is officially his 2nd cousin, 3X removed. Mystery solved.

My Grandmother (my dad's mother).
My Jarvis Grandmother (my dad’s mother), Chloe Jarvis Stubbs Reeder.
Emanuel & Lettice Jarvis
Emanuel & Lettice Jarvis

My daughter, Cimcie, is standing next to her gr-grandparents Jarvis tombstone in Marysville, Ohio, the same place my parents and many other relatives are buried. Emanuel Jarvis was a leading citizen in his day, yet no letters by this Jarvis have been found by me to date.

But, Dad loved words. He loved to talk, but really he could have been a writer. Instead, his father left his mother with five kids during the Great Depression, forcing my dad to leave his education to work labor jobs to help support his mother and siblings. Luckily, my grandmother’s extended families of Jarvis and Stubbs helped some.

Jarvis House Raymond Pike, Ohio
Jarvis House on Raymond Pike, Marysville Ohio

My dad spent much of his youth roaming around these large estates and this Jarvis/Stubbs house, “a fine, commodious residence of modern architecture, erected in 1884, at a cost of $3,400, – a home which betokens the taste and refinement of its occupants, and which cannot fail to attract admiring attention.”

Eventually, Dad was a detective in the Columbus Police Department and a president of the Fraternal Order of Police, so he did alright.

Glade Reeder Police Officer
Glade Reeder Police Officer

Dad’s  last name was Reeder, which I like to do: read. He also enjoyed my writings, especially for EQ Magazine in the decade before he died in 1999. I think he would like the poem I wrote for my own mother on another Mothers Day. Dad was a mush about her, too. Mothers were high in his esteem. My sisters and I always knew he was there for us, not like his no-show father. But Dad also encouraged me to write songs and poems and letters, and so it seems, just like my cousin, Anna Jarvis.