Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Yakuza dream

My Yakuza dream.

Today is November 24, 2009. I just woke up from a nap. I started at about 6:00 pm and woke up about 7 minutes ago at 9:00 pm. I had a dream about the Yakuza. The dream was instigated by hearing Jake Adelstein talk about his book Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan. I was listening to a podcast of the interview on National Public Radio's show Fresh Air.

In my dream I was walking along the beach with Japanese friends, and one told the other in Japanese: "remember I was telling you about the perfect beach, this is one of those beaches." I assumed they were talking about a place of solitude and quiet, or for finding oysters for eating. we wer at a place where the surf ended at low tide under a highway overpass. We were among the pillars. I saw something shiny in the low water and sand, and fished out a small badge with the symbol for police on it. It wasnt the size of a real police badge and didnt have the proper weight, it was a replica that you would buy in a store or a security guard might wear. My friends walked ahead and I stuck my hand deeper into the sand and this time pulled out a tag that a dog might wear on a collar with a number written on it, it was the number 1,112 in Japanese.

I remembered that my friend had once gone to another beach at night, we took three cars. They said they were going to dig for oysters and I should stay in the car and not leave. With a glimpse I saw something suspicious, but never thought about it again. From the lead car I could barely make out that they were pulling a large burlap bag out of the back. My friend came over and started to talk to me and my attention was diverted away.

I went back to that beach at night with a flashlight and a metal detector. It took me hours but when I got the signal from the metal detector, I reached down in the wet sand of the surf and again I found the toy police badge. I took my shovel and tried digging deeper to see if I would find a second badge, or find another dog tag. I reached and dug with my hand, deeper till my arm was up to my elbow in muck. I found something with my hand, it was amorphous and I pulled and I tugged. The sand eventually gave way and I fell back onto my ass in the surf. When I looked down I was holding a severed human arm. I let out a scream and someone heard it. Now flashlights were heading my way running. I got up and started to run too, I dropped the hand and ran back to where I parked the car. That's when I realized I no longer had my keys, they had fallen into the sand.

The last part of my dream, where I woke up. I was in my office in Japan putting together the pieces of what I had uncovered. I had found a Yakuza burial ground where they bury the dead and the limbs that are amputed from members that have disgraced the family. And the limbs of people who borrowed money that they cannot pay back.

The police badges were used to get the victim into a state of compliance. They were told the police wanted to question them, they were handcuffed and taken to what appeared to be an ordinary car with the windows with dark glass. How they were killed, I don't know. The tag with the number was to keep track of the victim, the matching one was sent to the family. The police badges were buried in the surf with the bodies.

I then became very paranoid and bought a gun on the back market. Guns are rare in Japan, and I used most of my savings to buy it. As I investigated more I became more and more paranoid. I was in my office alone late at night and heard a noise. Was I just being paranoid again? Again I heard a noise, whispering in Japanese and the sound of my mail slot door opening and closing. I noticed that the basket just under my mail slot had something in it that wasn't there before. I reached in and saw that it was my car keys, and attached to them was a dog tag. As I made the realization a hand reached through the mail slot and grabbed my hand and was pulling it out through the mail slot. I could hear yelling in Japanese and whatever was pulling my hand through the slot was winning. My eyes were level with the slot I was now on my butt and I could see two people outside and the second person was bring a knife to my hand ...

... and that is where I woke up.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Gelchion family history and I reconnected with them

As I am reconnecting to the Gelchions through Facebook I am reminded of how I first reconnected the family. I wrote this a few years ago:

Most of the Gelchion information comes from the Saint Paul's Roman Catholic Church marriage and baptismal records, and from Holy Name Cemetery burial records, both these sources have been microfilmed. These two sources have not been fully exploited and a second reading may provide more information. The relationship of the Gelchions to the Carrs and Conboys of Ireland was first made on April 6, 2001 when I interviewed Christopher Aloysius Enright II (1927- ) in his home at 27 Eaglecrest Place, Oakland, New Jersey. He gave me some information on the Conboys and let me make copies of an autograph book that belonged to Margaret Agnes Conboy (1866-1951). The book listed her siblings and had short messages from Ann Hogan and B. Conboy, that were signed "your cousin". He told me that there was a Gelchion woman (I was spelling it phonetically as "Gelchin") that was related to Sarah Jane Carr (1863-1950), my great-grandmother. This Gelchion woman had three children: The first child was Jane Gelchion who married Patrick Cryan and they lived in Rutherford, New Jersey. The Cryans had two children, Tommy and Jane, and Tommy played football. The second child was Kitty Gelchion and she married a Morgan and they moved to Beacon, New York and had lots of kids. The third child was Winifred Gelchion and she was married to Joe Fuerey (or Fuehry). He thought Joe may have died around 1925 and he remembered that she bought a house on Danforth Avenue in Jersey City that she rented to Irish immigrants that were working in the Bayonne refinery. On September 11, 2002, the one year anniversary of the World Trade Center attack, I was taking a break from work and tried looking up the Gelchions again using my spelling of "Gelchin", and again nothing turned up. All week I was thinking of how this side of the family was a brick-wall and I should give up. I looked at my notes again, then I searched for every "Winifred" as a first name in Jersey City and then I tried searching for Patrick Cryan in the 1930 census. The census had been online only about a month and the New Jersey portion was online for a week or so. I didn't even know the time frame for him, so it was just out of desperation that I searched in the 1930 census. Only one name came up and it was in Rutherford, New Jersey. When I looked at the census image I was amazed to see "Jane Gelchion, mother-in-law" living in the same house. I searched under the correct spelling of "Gelchion" at ancestry.com and found one entry from Deirdre Robinson and it had Matthew Gelchion marrying Jane E. Hogan at Saint Paul's in Jersey City, the same place where Patrick Norton married Sarah Carr. Jane E. Hogan's father was John Hogan and he had married Winifred Conboy in Ireland. I searched for Gelchion in the online phone book and called "M. Gelchion in Bayonne". She said her father-in-law sent her a genealogy and that the other New Jersey Gelchions were related to her husband. She didn't know any Hogans or any Gelchions in Rutherford. I gave her my number and she called her father in Florida. She called me back in 5 minutes and said her father wanted to talk to me.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Meet Brett Weinbender, my third cousin once removed

Today I said hello to my cousin, Brett Weinbender for the first time on Facebook. I wrote him: "Hey there, I am your third cousin once removed." He wrote back: "Dude ur like 50. You know its actually quite insulting that u would try some bullshit like this on me. Fuck off ........... Prick". His sister wrote me back after I said that he was "rude and ignorant", and she said: "my brother is a teenage boy, I don't expect him to necessarily communicate with someone he doesn't know in a friendly manner." At least she keeps her expectations low for him. That way she will never be disappointed, just pleasantly surprised, when he doesn't pee in the sink when he visits her.