Thursday, April 28, 2005

A Missing Person ...

My father’s youngest brother, Chris, disappeared when I was quite young. It was probably in the 40’s. I remember times when he came to our house to visit us. I always liked him; he was an attractive young man.

At some point, he just seemed to disappear into the sunset. My father and his family tried for years to find Chris, but they were never successful in doing so. They did not know if he was still alive after so many years of searching.

It is hard for me to remember the full details of this, as I was so young when it happened, but the subject did come up from time to time. I have no idea, of course, as to what precipitated the occurrence.

My father’s family was a bit dysfunctional. His father and mother did not speak to each other for fourteen years, communicating through their children. I don’t think my father was very close to his father for a time, but eventually, before his father died, they did establish a closer relationship.

I was so surprised, upon the death of my mother last June, to acquire a card my grandfather had sent to my father, upon my birth as my father’s first child, giving him instructions on my care. I don’t remember ever seeing my grandfather’s handwriting before that.

My father’s sister had emotional problems causing her to be institutionalized for many years; and his other brother was an alcoholic. He died years ago in a rented room, estranged from his wife and daughters. My father was the one stable member of the family, keeping house and home together for a wife and eight children, plus countless grandchildren. He enjoyed life.

It always bothered him that he never found his little brother. I named my first child Chris, although he is not totally named for my father’s brother. He was due on Christmas. I also have a niece named Kris. Chris is a great name.


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