Oh, the Questions I Would Ask

2016 09-19 Gustave R MangelsMy great-grandfather Gustave Robert MANGELS died on this day 44 years ago.

Although I was 13 or 14 at the time, I had never met him.

And as I was drafting this post, I started wondering how much my dad had known of his grandfather.

Gustave and my great-grandmother Esther Ingeborg CLARIN divorced when my paternal grandmother was fairly young. Theirs was an ugly divorce and bitter feelings ensued on both sides. My grandmother was sent to live with Gustave’s parents in Chicago. Both her brothers were farmed out (literally) to families they didn’t know in Indiana.

Coincidentally, Gustave also relocated to Indiana. He married a second time, bought a house, and raised a family. He worked at the same company nearly all his adult life and died at the age of 82.

My grandmother and one of her brothers didn’t see each other again until they were adults. It was only genealogical serendipity that later uncovered their remaining brother. The boys were reunited when they were 79 and 85 years old. Sadly, my grandmother had died the year before that remarkable day.

How could these circumstances not impact the lives of everyone involved? Oh, the questions I would ask…

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One thought on “Oh, the Questions I Would Ask

  1. What a sad story. But how amazing that the brothers were able to find each other, even if so late in life. It’s interesting that your grandmother went to her father’s parents, yet you never met your great-grandfather. What a dashing man he was! And yes, don’t we all wish we had time machines and could travel back and ask our ancestors questions?

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