I sent the following email to Donna Amaya of the Holly Hill Police Department on September 5th, 2012 at 10:56 am:
Dear Ms. Amaya,
I found your email address listed as the contact reference for the “Records Division” on the Holly Hill Police Department website.
My mother, Kathleen Anne Albanese Gagne, was a dispatcher for the Holly Hill Police Department shortly after we moved to Florida in the early 80s.
She passed away a few weeks ago, and I am so, so sad. I have been trying to build a timeline of her life which I can pass to my son one day so he will have some connection to his grandmother.
Is there any way you can tell me — or you can direct me to the person there who might be able to tell me — the dates my mother was employed there? I have to believe that there must be some sort of records about her. I am not asking for anything other than perhaps the date she started working there and the date she stopped working there.
If you can help me in any way I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you sincerely,
David Vincent Gagne
She replied at 11:49 am with a quick note:
Hi David, I have received your request and will do the best I can to help you.
Then at 12:44 pm I received this email from [redacted], an Administrative Assistant with the Holly Hill Police Department:
I am so sorry to hear about your Mother, I knew her pretty well back then! I also knew you and your sister when you were little (you lived in Holly Point Apts), I have 2 daughters [redacted] & [redacted] that used to play with you both back then, small world, isn’t it? [redacted] retired from here about 7 years ago too. I lost touch with your Mom after she left here (I’m sorry to say). I will get what ever info I can for you and get it to you ASAP, it may take me a few days tho. Again, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.
At 1:06 pm she followed that with:
Hi again David,
I found our old file on your Mother and it even contains a picture of her! Her application lists former jobs too if you are interested. Why don’t you try to call me one day or if you are in the area, let me know when you can stop by, I’m usually here until 5pm daily.
I replied to her first email at 1:13 pm:
I do remember that my sister Jennifer and I lived at Holly Point Apartments back then. The name [redacted] also rings a bell; I think my mom might have kept in touch with her after she left the police department.
The name [redacted] seems familiar to me as well, but I am sorry to say that I do not remember your daughters.
Thank you so much for any help you can give me. I miss my mom so much. She died on August 12th and I feel like I have not been able to stop crying since then.
And then at 1:18 pm I replied to her second email:
Oh, my gosh, yes, I am very interested. Any photos, any information you have at all would be greatly appreciated.
I live in Los Angeles now. I moved out here in September of 2000. I was in Daytona to visit my mom for Mother’s Day this year, and my wife and my son and I were there for two weeks when she died, but I don’t think I’ll be back for a long time.
Could you mail me copies of anything? Or email? Anything like that? I am happy to pay for it. I am desperate to try to save memories like that.
Thank you so much!
I started crying when I read that you found a picture of her. I hardly have any photos of her from when I was a little kid.
At 1:23 pm she wrote:
I found her file and will copy what I can for you. Was she ill? It’s so sad that we all lost touch over the years. She was hired here on April 6, 1979 and left on Feb. 12, 1981, so it was just under 2 years. I came here in [redacted]. I even have her ID picture.
I replied to her at 1:46 pm:
Thank you so much. I am trying to put together some sort of scrapbook for my son so I can tell him all about his grandmother some day. He just turned two […] after she died. She got to meet him; she came to visit us in Los Angeles right after he was born.
She had sort of a nervous breakdown just after Thanksgiving last year (2011). She was admitted to Halifax, but basically someone screwed up and thought that she had had a stroke, so they started giving her all kinds of drugs to keep her mostly stoned so she wouldn’t bother the other patients (because she kept flipping out and saying that she shouldn’t be there).
She really just needed to see a psychologist, and maybe some anti-depressants or something; she had lost her job in 2008 and had been down in the dumps about not being able to find a new job for so long.
It took me months of arguing and phone calls and stuff, because she didn’t have insurance, but I finally got them to stop giving her all those drugs, but the damage was already done. She was just scared to death all the time, and she eventually had a heart attack.
It’s really just awful and horrible, and I am so sad I don’t even know what to do. I miss her so much sometimes I can’t even breathe.
Anything you can get me would mean so much to me.
You can email anything to this address, or you can mail anything to:
I am happy to pay for any postage.
Thank you so, so much.
On September 26th, 2012 I received a manila envelope at my home containing:
- several color photocopies of my mother’s Holly Hill Police Department ID
- a photocopy of a letter from Robert P. Morrow, Jr., the Assistant State Attorney of Florida
- and a photocopy of my mother’s resignation letter
I emailed [redacted] the next day, on September 27th, 2012, at 8:13 am:
I received the packet yesterday! Thank you so, so much. I can’t tell you how much this means to me.
I sincerely appreciate it.
She replied at 8:24 am:
Wow, that took a long time getting there but I’m glad you finally received it. I wish it could have been more for you but that was almost her entire personnel file. Best wishes to you and your family!