More Grandfather Research, And My Defining Moment

20 May

I should apologize – not to bore you but to bring you up to speed – below I am posting several pictures that I’ve posted previously. I’ll catch you up on a story that I’ve partly told, but now it has an ending of sorts…

Not too long ago, I posted about some detective workresults, and the beginning of the search that I’ve been doing on my Grandfather and his mysterious, first wife.

The One that my Grandmother refused to talk about.

The One that my Mother never knew anything at all about, until after her Father passed away when he was 81 years old.

My Grandmother mentioned to my Mom that there had been a first wife – she mentioned this out of the blue. Never before had a word been spoken about this first wife, and she refused to say any more.

Over the years since, I’ve dug around and found the 1930 U.S. Census. We learned a little bit.

He married Mildred in 1927.

And, we knew that he married my Grandmother in 1934.

My Mom and I always wondered – what happened to Mildred? And, did they have any children? Did my mom have any half-siblings out there?

Here’s my Grandfather in 1925, when he was in college:

And, here’s Mildred, in 1924, from their high school yearbook (they were high school and college sweethearts):

By researching, by finding a copy of his high school yearbook on eBay, and by talking to librarians in his home town, I was able to piece together who his first wife was.

Mildred, his high school sweetheart.

But, what happened to her?

The librarians did some research into the microfilm of the local newspaper – and they found her obituary. With this information, I learned a lot, including that they had no children.

I contacted the County Department of Vital Records, and I ordered a copy of Mildred’s death certificate.

In 1931, when Mildred was 23 years, 9 months and 7 days old, she died of “septicemia from peritonsillar abscess” – or – infection (blood poisoning) from tonsillitis.

On her death certificate, it states that the physician attended to her for 8 days before she passed away. She died at her Mother’s house – not at a hospital.

When I found out, I felt incredibly sad.

When I told my Mom, she was also very sad.

We had come to love Mildred – what little we knew of her.

After all, she was “the delight of our hearts” – according to her yearbook entry.

My Mom also immediately reflected that, although all of her school friends had their tonsils removed (a very common practice in the 40’s and 50’s) my Grandfather refused to allow my Mom or her Sister to ever consider having a tonsillectomy.

Which makes me wonder, did Mildred die from a botched tonsillectomy?

I’ll probably never know. I have tried to find a living relative, and though I’m not quitting yet, so far I’ve had no luck. Time has passed just a little too much.

Life goes on.

My Grandfather married my Grandmother in 1934.

Here they are in 1935:

And, here’s my Grandmother with my Mom in 1937:

Which brings me to my Defining Moment.

If Mildred had not died, my Grandfather would not have married my Grandmother, and my Mother would not be here, and I would not be here.

It’s just that simple.

It’s a sobering thought.

Do you have a Defining Moment?

Isn’t it funny to think of how fragile and left-to-chance life is?

Or, is it all Destiny?


Here’s another picture of my Grandfather – it has no date. I’ve never seen any other picture of him with a mustache.

Can it be dated by his clothes?

I wonder – is it during – or after – his life with Mildred?




3 Responses to “More Grandfather Research, And My Defining Moment”

  1. Johnny D May 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Great detective work, citizen!

    I’m not a clothing expert so I can’t estimate the time of that last photo of your grandfather, but it seems to me that, despite the moustache, he looks fairly young.

    • Ellen Girone May 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      High School yearbook on EBAY – wow!

      • sallanscorner May 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

        I know – from 1924 – how lucky was that??? :0

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