Mother’s Day without Mom

I’ve thought about Mom every day since she died in December. Her death has left me with a huge void in my heart. The week leading up to Mother’s Day has been difficult for me. We have to expect that we will eventually lose our parents. But that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with the loss.

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The Divine Miss Skittles

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The DNA test

Last week, I told the story of the above photo but not the whole story. Based on the date of the photo, Ella and Santford were married one year after the birth of their oldest child Betty.

I asked step-grandmother Florence about the date of the photo as she appeared in it with her first husband Elmer. Florence told me that my grandmother was believed to be the daughter of Ella and another man, not Santford. In fact, Florence and Elmer took Betty in as a child when Betty’s parents didn’t want her and wanted to adopt her.

Years later, after Elmer’s death, Florence married Betty’s ex-husband Alfred.

I asked my grandmother about this story and she was angry with me and Florence for discussing it.

I thought I had my ancestry all figured out until I remembered the story that Florence told me. I remembered the story last week after posting the story of the photo.

Mom and I had our DNA tests done by Ancestry about a year before Mom died and the resulting DNA information for both of us suggests that the story told by Florence might be true. This is based on what I know of Santford’s ancestry which does not appear even as a trace region in our DNA. There is also an unexpected Southern Europe percentage in both of our samples that needs to be investigated.

I read stories of this kind in my research of many families. I’m not ashamed to find the truth but wonder if grandma would still be angry with me for pursuing the truth.

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Relatively speaking

Most family trees have complications of some kind…some secrets are eventually discovered.

Ella and Santford were married in 1928. The date marked on the photo indicates that they married after the birth of their first child Betty. The best man and maid of honor are husband and wife Elmer (brother of the bride) and Florence.

Many years later after the death of Elmer, Florence married Alfred, the ex-husband of the above mentioned child Betty. The children from the previous marriages of Alfred and Florence are cousins as well as step-siblings. Alfred and Betty were my grandparents and Florence was my step-grandmother as well as the widow of my grand-uncle.

I never thought of Florence as anything other than my grandmother. It was wonderful growing up with extra grandparents.

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Mr. Demille, I’m ready for my close-up…

Felix (aka B-B eyes)

Sylvester isn’t going to allow his brother to upstage him.

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Easter Saturday

A nice walk at Verona Park in Verona, NJ, dinner at the Verona Diner then Easter Vigil at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark, NJ

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Mom’s first baby

Mom always told me that Tinker was her first baby. She rescued the small calico from a group of children throwing rocks at the kitten.

My brother and I were warned to stay away from Tinker because she would lash out at us if we approached her. She was a beautiful cat so we couldn’t resist trying to pet her from time to time. The result was always the same – tears and blood loss.

We learned to respect Tinker and missed her when she passed away at age 13. After all, she was Mom’s first baby.

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