It was the summer of 1906. For the children of Bay City, the biggest event of the summer would be a raffle drawing for a Shetland pony and cart. Over 15,000 raffle tickets were sold. There was more than one sleepless night for the town’s children as the raffle day neared. That included Eldon Toohey who could speak of nothing else but the little pony for the months preceding the raffle.
The day of the drawing, a huge crowd of children gathered at Wenona Beach. One little girl was selected, blindfolded, and asked to draw 10 tickets. The last one drawn would be the winner. It was number 3292. A cry was heard in the crowd and everyone turned. This number belonged to little Eldon Toohey. This would be the happiest moment of his life. For the rest of that summer and into early fall, Eldon could be seen with his pony. For the first time in a long while, this wonderful prize enabled him to enjoy many outings he would not otherwise have taken.
As the summer of 1906 faded into winter, so did Eldon’s health. He spent a good deal of his time lying in bed or sitting in a wheelchair. His mother and father did everything they could to restore his health. Sadly, in the early morning hours of March 28, 1907, at the age of 13, Eldon Toohey passed away.
Suddenly the words, “See the chair,” made sense. Did we miss something during our investigation of the cluttered basement? Was there buried somewhere beneath the debris or crushed under layers of brick and stone a small, unseen chair? Perhaps a wheelchair, broken and battered with age that remained unnoticed for over 100 years . Eldon’s chair, just out of reach?
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