The Search Has Ended for the Great Brown Whale

This ceramic whale is a dresser caddy. Around 1960, my mom bought one exactly like it for my Dad from Tillie Williams, who sold Avon in my hometown of Brilliant, Ohio.

It sat on my dad’s dresser forever, the top full of loose change and his car keys in the whale’s mouth. It was one of the things that I closely associated with my dad.

About 25 years ago, I walked through my parents’ bedroom and noticed the whale was conspicuously missing from its spot on his dresser. I turned right around and tracked down my mother. “Where’s the whale?”

One of my nephews pulled it off the dresser. It probably contained 10 pounds of coins, so when it hit the floor, it pretty much turned to whale dust. Now, he was only about five-years old at the time, and I don’t want to call him out for a mistake he made before he was even in elementary school, so I’ll just tell you that his initials are Sean Dundar.

I was crushed. I spent the 25 years scouring second-hand stores and the Internet trying to find a replacement, but to no avail. Dad died in 2008 and went to his grave whaleless.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister Rhonda, the mother of the accused, sent me a link to an antique store in Skokie, Ill., with a photo of, “the whale.”

I felt like Ahab when he finally spotted Moby Dick.

I called immediately and spoke to a lovely lady named Lora Swanson, who owns Swantiques. Yes, the whale was still available.

It arrived a few days later and is in a case with my other prized possessions, safely tucked away from my nephew. Yes, he’s an adult now, but you can never be too careful. These things are really hard to find. Trust me.

In the meantime, check out the other bargains at

Here’s a photo of my son, Ryan, with the Lombardi Trophy for the Washington Redskins’ Super Bowl XXVI win over the Buffalo Bills. Ryan is the executive producer for the former Redskins, now the Washington Football Team, and was a doing a video on the 1991 championship season. You’ve got a cool job when an actual Lombardi Trophy comes home with you.

My former employer, the Columbus Dispatch, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. As part of its Dispatch@150 series, reporters Bethany Bruner and Holly Zachariah wrote a lengthy story in Sunday’s paper on some of the big crimes the paper has covered over the past 150 years. They interviewed this old crime reporter for their lead. It was very nice to be included. I’d like to link you to the story, but it’s locked on the website for subscribers.

Reverting back to football for a minute, I’ve got to tip my cap to quarterback Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals for getting his team to the Super Bowl. This is a kid that Ohio State said wasn’t good enough to get on the field. He transferred to LSU, where he won the Heisman, the Maxwell, the Unitas Golden Arm Award, Walter Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Lombardi Award and Manning Award. He quarterbacked LSU to an undefeated national championship and now has the Bengals in the Super Bowl. The best part of about Joe Burrow is that he seems to be a better person than he is a quarterback, and that’s saying something.

9 thoughts on “The Search Has Ended for the Great Brown Whale”

  1. This blog really pleased my wife Sheryl Williams Tillie’s Daughter and I enjoy a whale of a tale myself , Robin Thanks for sharing Jack Erwin


  2. Robin,

    As I have written previously, I enjoy your posts and books so much. I grew up in Yorkville, went to business school and worked in Wheeling. I raised my children in Annehurst . My mother and daughter have also enjoyed your books. Have you read any of the mob books about our area ?

    Jo Ann

    Sent from my iPad



  3. I’m so glad you found a whale, Robin. I can understand how meaningful that was to your Dad and you.

    And thank you for including me in your correspondences (is that a word?).

    I’ll look forward to seeing your contribution to The Dispatch 150 Year Anniversary this year. And I’m really looking forward to your next book!! How soon?

    Best wishes for a wonderful year in 2022 and blessings to you and your family. And congratulations to your son!

    My blessing this past year is that I am now a great grandma to Stevie Kallaus, my daughter Bethany’s grandson. We just celebrated his first birthday.

    Your cousin, Linda Bond



  4. LOVED this post, Robin! Keep it up and you just might be a famous author someday!! 😂

    I confess that I haven’t read ALL of your books, but, I’m working on it! Congratulations on the success of your treasure hunt!! I’m still looking for a 1956 Pontiac Star Chief!


  5. Always enjoy your musings!
    I read the Dispatch story; I’m old enough to have lived thru the time or read the books!
    Hope all is well with you & yours.


  6. Loved this and I have that book Dead before deadline. I loved all the stories in it. You are such a gifted writer. I read many books when I was a librarian and yours are the best.


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