Jimmy In Detroit

On this date in 1975, labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was reported missing.


Posted by This Date in History

On the morning of this day in 1975, James Riddle Hoffa, one of the most influential American labor leaders of the 20th century, was officially reported missing after he failed to return home the previous night. Though he is popularly believed to have been the victim of a Mafia hit, to date nothing has been proven.

He was scheduled to retake his Union, The Teamsters. But Frank Fitzsimmons was president of the Union while Jimmy was in prison and had no desire to give up the position. Apparently Frank didn’t consider the position temporary at all. Mafia and Teamsters were synonymous in those days, so as the saying goes, “six of one, half a dozen of the other” for who killed him. And offed he was, no doubt. He had a meeting with three other men, a couple from the Union, and a mobster. Apparently no one showed up. He was angry about being stood up and eventually left the restaurant only to get into a car with several other men waiting for him in the parking lot.

It was at one of the Fox and Hound restaurants in Bloomfield Hills, on Telegraph Road. It was not far from where I had been living at one point, and I often met people there for lunch. They had great food and a lovely salad that I would get. But by the time of the hit I had moved away from Michigan, returning home to La Crosse, Wisconsin. I was no longer associated with the Union, though I was still involved with a Union person and would be for several more years, even returning to Michigan to again live there for a while.

We used to see several Teamsters at Carl’s Chop House in Detroit where we often went to eat and drink, socialize. Detroit was still very much alive in those days. There was a vibrancy and energy that existed everywhere then: a thriving theatre district, restaurants with long lines of cars waiting to get in, and people walking the streets while expensive cars drove by with their music loud and pulsing.

I saw Jimmy at the Chop once. His wife too, as she was sitting at the bar drinking while a group of us were dining nearby. The place was loud as usual. When Jimmy came into the bar it grew quiet and we watched without speaking. It happened quickly. He went up to the bar where his wife was, grabbed her arm as she reached for her purse and the coat draped over her barstool. He didn’t say anything at least that I could tell. Obviously he didn’t approve either of her drinking or drinking at the bar. Someone at the table said he didn’t approve of women at the bar. Probably not of her drinking as much as she did either. In any case, she must not have expected him there, certainly not then.

And that was it. Just as quickly he walked into my life and just as quickly out of it. It must have felt the same for him getting into that car. Exciting, sad, and quick. And that was all there was to it. Gone.

Once More, Into The Breach…

I don’t know; wish I did. All that and oh well.

  • I seem to have floundered off the page again. I would be worried if it mattered.
  • Strange places in the hovel of memories: 1. Years back—where? Was it Michigan? When I lived in the house on the 10 acre woods. The first dream was that of the whippets. Whippets had long been of some significance although I didn’t know of what. They frequently appeared in my life and were witnessed by the boy and the girl. And then, I dreamed I found a pair of them and took them into the garage there, to the house on the edge of that wood, to wait for their people to arrive and rescue them. (Whippets always appeared in a pair, in reality and in dreams.) And so they did. The next day, out walking with Kate-the-golden-one, down that country road, appeared two whippets, trotting alone and in tandem. I coaxed them into the garage and phoned a radio station then playing at the house, to give the information and request an announcement. The song to go along with the find was “The Happy Wanderer.” (It was a station of oldies.) Not long after the announcement there was a phone call from the whippet people who then came to get them. Of course they had just lost them, of course they just happened to be listening to that station.
  • 2. The dream that night was of the raven. Raven or crow, I tend to favor ravens. I found a raven on that very country road, a wounded creature who could not fly. I took it in and gave it great care and nursing. When I was not at home I kept it in my utility room so it could be enclosed and yet have some room. Safety, freedom, and constraint. Noble intentions, noble gifts. Except the beautiful iridescent creature tore a hole right through the wall. There was a plaster and dry wall and two-by-four mess blown clear through to the kitchen. The next day, walking down that same country road, a neighbor came out to ask me if I wanted to take in a crow. He had found an injured one and couldn’t care for it himself. Was I interested? I gracefully declined. I didn’t want the mess of the feathered beauty tearing apart the house, leaving the white mist of drywall powder to cover us there.
  • It is after all, a murder of crows and an unkindness of ravens.
  • I told the kids who told me I made too much of such things, which I did. I was crazed to know the meaning of them. I had one foot on shore and one at sea…into a fog of meaning and being, into a dream world not called, delivered without quest or anchor. But I could not read the sign. How will I ever know if everything was a dream, if anything was real?
  • Last night I got up at four a.m. to read The Winter’s Tale. I wanted to understand what the king said at the end, when he touched the statue of his wife—old now, and gone—and he said she was warm. Who does that—this waking to read? Isn’t that crazy even for me?

Still, it looks like red rock canyon. So many places of country roads, so many places left behind. No one then to love the pilgrim soul, or the moments of sad grace.