LAPEER – A local boy went from grief to happiness this week after losing his beloved guitar and then had it returned by the caring person who found it.
Jesse Ihrke, 12, a sixth grader at Rolland-Warner Middle School in Lapeer, stayed after the band’s rehearsal in the basement of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Lapeer on November 20, and his instructor, Deb Barber, helped him change his guitar. strings. Ihrke then left the church and crossed Court Street to put his guitar in his mother’s car. The car was locked, so Ihrke put his guitar down on the sidewalk next to the car and waited for his mother, Karen, who was talking to Barber. After a while, his mother came over, unlocked the car and they left. Unfortunately, the guitar was left on the sidewalk – a mistake that was not realized until they got home.
âThe look on her face was like horror,â Karen said. “I went back to Deb’s and it was gone.”
Karen visited any nearby business that was open and alerted the pawn shops and the police department in case someone picked it up and tried to sell it. She also scanned Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to see if it had been published.
Barber posted a post about the guitar on social media, which was shared and re-shared several times. People were mobilizing to raise funds to buy him a new guitar or give him spare guitars.
A few days later, Barber got a call from Fred LaCroix, a local man who said he found the guitar on the street and picked it up, thinking it belonged to a man playing in a bar. local on Friday evening. He had planned to take her to the bar the following weekend, but then saw the post on social media. He declined the reward offered and arranged to return the guitar to Jesse.
âHe was incredibly grateful,â Karen said. âHe was so scared he had lost it forever. He kind of bonded with this guitar. He didn’t want another guitar; he wanted this guitar. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy.
Jesse, she said, would like to thank everyone who shared the post and offered to help. Above all, he wishes to publicly thank LaCroix – he was fortunate enough to do so in person – for picking up the instrument and returning it to him.
âIt’s just amazing,â said Karen. âIn the end, the whole experience was really rewarding. Faith rediscovered in the community. We need good news, and this is as happy as it gets.
Jesse – who has been called “Mr. J” since a teacher started calling him that in elementary school – has been playing guitar for five years with Barber. He is part of Mr. J and the Youngbloods. and plays everything from Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
âHer very first guitar was a gift from her older sister,â Karen said.
After Jesse got this used guitar he was “like a pit bull” asking for lessons, even though Karen thought he was too young. Eventually she gave in and signed him up, and he’s been playing ever since.
âThe first song he learned was ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ by Twisted Sister and it continued from there,â Karen said.
The ESP Red Electric Guitar – embellished with Mr. J decals – was one of the barbers found for him after he got too big for his initial guitar, and he’s especially fond of it. Anyone who wants to get a glimpse of Jesse playing can check out Mr. J and the Youngbloods on YouTube, where there’s a video of him playing Johnny B Goode in downtown Lapeer.