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Entries in ancestry (3)

Wednesday
May272015

Traveling with the Apple Watch: A Journey in Four Apps

I'm writing this (or at least the beginning of it) on Tuesday, May 26, from the Sleep Inn outside of the Atlanta Airport, where Kathy and I are spending the night because our connecting flight between New Orleans and Louisville was cancelled due to inclement weather. 

We made a quick trip to New Orleans over Memorial Day Weekend to claim a two-night stay at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter, which was part of the Grand Prize for my winning the Louisiana Peach Festival Cookery Contest last summer. It was a nice quick getaway until our flight home was cancelled at the halfway point. But this unanticipated waypoint along the way gives me a chance to write about an aspect of this trip that was different from others made in the past: the addition of the Apple Watch.

Here is our visit to the Crescent City as seen through the use of four Apple Watch apps.

Fly Delta
I had not flown Delta any time in recent memory, and in fact, I didn't even have the Fly Delta app on my iPhone. Knowing that the Apple Watch can be used as a boarding pass, I definitely wanted to try this out, but didn't actually begin setting it up until Sunday morning when we were waiting at the airport. 

I installed the Fly Delta app to my iPhone a couple of days earlier, and the corresponding Apple Watch app was immediately added to my watch. The app on my phone sent me a notification reminder the day before and even suggested I go ahead and check in. I opted not to do this because Kathy and I didn't have seats together, and I wanted to see someone at the ticket counter to make certain we were sitting next to each other on all legs of our journey. 

After getting our seats squared away, I opened the Fly Delta app on my Apple Watch to see if I could see my boarding pass QR code. No such luck--it wasn't there. In fact, the Fly Delta app on the watch is pretty limited. It will show you your flight number, gate and offer a countdown until boarding time; but that's about it. Then, I remembered from using similar apps in the past from other airlines, that the boarding pass is both accessible in the iPhone app and can be added to the Apple Passbook. So, I added it to my Passbook from the Fly Delta app on my iPhone, and voila! It was now on my Apple Watch. In fact, a Fly Delta notification appeared on my Apple Watch, allowing a shortcut to the Passbook for quick access.
My Delta boarding pass.Most use of the Apple Watch is only for a few seconds. And if you lower your arm, or move it into a position not optimal for personal viewing, whatever is on the screen usually disappears. However, once I opened the QR code for my boarding pass from the Passbook, my watch stayed on, even if I changed the position of my arm. I didn't time it to know how long it stays on, and discovered it will eventually go off, but it stayed on long enough that I could set it when there were still a half dozen or so passengers ahead of me, and it stayed on long enough for me to stick my arm under Delta's scanner when it was my turn. 

From what I could tell, Delta's scanners had no more trouble reading my watch than they would a boarding pass on the phone. Is there any really advantage? Maybe. At the very least, my phone could stay in my pocket, but I still had to have my hand free regardless. 

As is the norm right now (I can't imagine it will be for very long), the Apple Watch does create attention. The Delta employee at the Louisville gate told me that my Apple Watch was her "first." And a security agent, after seeing my unsuccessful try to scan my watch in Chattanooga (more about this in a second) when reboarding our diverted plane, told me he was going to have to confiscate my Apple Watch. He was just kidding but was very interested in hearing details from me as to my experience using it. 

About that re-board in Chattanooga: I guess paper boarding passes will remain a good backup. On our way home, our flight got rerouted to Chattanooga where we waited about two hours for the Atlanta Airport to re-open after closing due to thunderstorms on Tuesday afternoon. While we were in Chattanooga, we were allowed to disembark from the plan with the admonition from the flight crew to stay close. 

When it came time to re-board the plane so we could again attempt to make it to Atlanta, I got in line and attempted to stick my wrist under the scanner again. I quickly got fussed at by the Delta employee at the gate: "No, we're not doing it that way right now!" she scolded in a manner that gave me a flashback to getting in trouble for not following the rules in elementary school. For the reboard, they wanted to see either a Photo ID or our original paper boarding pass. I had my paper boarding pass somewhere, but I had no idea which pocket it was in. Since Kathy had already gone through with her paper boarding pass, they let me in just on the basis of my name (not the greatest level of security, mind you).
           
I should also point out that I used the paper boarding pass at TSA checkpoints. I figured it was best not to do anything out of the ordinary.

Maps
Kathy and I have been to New Orleans multiple times over the years--both individually and together--but I'm not there enough to remember how to get around very easily. This sometimes surprises people because I spent the first half of my life in Louisiana, but that was at the northern end of the state; and people outside Louisiana assume that the state and its most famous city are one and the same.

Although I'm not certain of the immediate benefit of it, I've kept the Map app in the Glances section of the Apple Watch. The shot to the left shows where we were staying at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in relation to our surroundings. 

But the real benefit was using turn-by-turn directions on my wrist instead of having my face in my phone as we walked. I found it amazing how many people were walking around the French Quarter with their noses stuck into their phones, oblivious to their surroundings. You see this kind of practice everywhere these days, but it's dangerous on many counts, and I would suggest even more dangerous in the French Quarter. 
On most days, Kathy and I would select our location ahead of time--restaurants such as Tujagues, The Original Pierre Maspero's, Mother's Restaurant, to name a few we visited--and I would run the search for it on my iPhone. For what it's worth, this can be done straight from the Apple Watch with voice commands. However, I preferred to see the entire route first on the larger screen of my iPhone 6 Plus.
   
Once the route was started, I let the Apple Watch takeover. This allowed us to simply walk down the streets and enjoy the sites on our way. When I approached a corner where I needed to turn, the Apple Watch alerted me with the sound of a turn signal from what sounded like an older model car, and a series of taps on my wrist. By lifting my wrist, I could see directions telling me which way to turn.
    
My only complaint in this procedure has to do with my own impatience. After I made a turn, I wanted to know immediately which turn would be next. I don't know if the Apple Watch doesn't update that fast by design or if it's just a bit slow in this process, but it usually took getting about a quarter up the block before I could see the next direction on my wrist.
   
Once we arrived at our destination, the Apple Watch alerted me that we had arrived--I suppose in case we couldn't see that for ourselves.
   
Again, the great advantage to this is the primary benefit of the Apple Watch itself: I can be free from the drudgery of having my face in my phone all the time. Not only is this safer (no YouTube videos of me falling into a fountain, thank you), but it also allows me to enjoy the world around me while I walk.
   
I would not have thought of Dark Sky as a travel app, but it came in very handy on our trip. If you're not familiar with Dark Sky, it is a wonderful weather app that has the uncanny ability to tell you when it's about to start raining within a very accurate specified number of minutes. And in my experience, it's nearly always right.
   
The timing for our trip to New Orleans was either perfect or no-so-perfect according to how one looks at it. New Orleans can be miserably hot and muggy at certain times of the year, but during our stay this week, we experienced regular rain showers. Fortunately, these weren't the all-day rains I remember as a child growing up in Louisiana; instead, it would rain for short periods of time, followed by mostly cloudy skies. So, although we had to work around rain, it was not a constant hindrance; and we kept fairly cool most of our time there. 
   
This is the only screenshot on this page not from my Apple Watch. I borrowed this one from the Dark Sky iTunes page.Dark Sky came in quite handy because of this. Again, I had not thought about depending on Dark Sky while we were in New Orleans, but with the constant on again/off again rain, we were regularly kept up to date about whether we needed to be under cover or if it was safe to walk out in the open. Dark Sky would tell us that rain was beginning in x number of minutes, so we knew how much time we had to get to our next destination. Or for Sunday morning's swim in the Bourbon Orleans' saltwater pool, we knew we had about 50 minutes before rain would temporarily spoil our fun. 
   
Dark Sky also really helped us out on Monday afternoon when we visited St. Louis Cemetery #3 (more about that in a moment). Dark Sky told us exactly how much time we had to look for Aunt Gertrude's grave (yes, I had a real Aunt Gertrude, though I never met her). Thanks to Dark Sky, we knew we had about an hour to search for Gertrude's final resting spot before the rain hit. And Dark Sky gave me a gentle reminder on my watch when the rain was getting close. That allowed me to contact Uber, and our ride appeared right before the rain came down in buckets.
   
Uber
As anyone who has tried it out knows, Uber is an excellent service for those travel spots where you don't have a vehicle of your own, and it is usually less expensive than a taxi cab ride. Due to regulations in New Orleans, a taxi cab was cheaper from the airport to our hotel, but once we were checked in, Uber became our go-to service for a couple of trips we needed to make that were a bit beyond walking distance.
   
The Uber app on my Apple Watch allowed me to request a ride directly from my wrist, but I preferred to make the initial request from my iPhone. This allowed me to get an estimate for the fare ahead of time (the two rides we made were both around $11 each). Once I had made my request through the Uber app, though, I could let the Apple Watch take over. 
   
With the Apple Watch I could monitor the amount of time left before the driver reached us. This has the same advantage as using the watch for turn-by-turn directions: it keeps my face out of a phone and keeps me aware of my surroundings. The app on my watch would give me a snippet of a map displaying my location as well as an approximated time for our driver's arrival. 
   
My great grandfather, William Porter Mansfield, had a brother, Thomas Mansfield. This great grand uncle of mine fell in love with the New Orleans culture and moved his family there in the 1930s. I know that he died in 1940 (from complications of diabetes--I have his death certificate), but I don't know for certain where he was buried. His wife, Ursula Gertrude Woodward Mansfield, died in 1962; and according to her obituary, she was buried in St. Louis Cemetery #3.
    
I wanted to find her grave, and ultimately I hoped to discover that old Uncle Thomas was buried with her.
I figured that once we were in New Orleans, I would check in with the office that held the cemetery records, and they could tell me where in St. Louis Cemetery Aunt Gertrude was buried. Unfortunately, I forgot that Monday was Memorial Day--our only real day to look--and the office was closed for the holiday. Kathy and I decided to go out to St. Louis Cemetery #3 anyway, even though it was the metaphorical needle in a haystack. 
    
St. Louis Cemetery #3 is quite large. We looked around for 45 minutes to an hour and never even saw one Mansfield on a tombstone. There were, of course, lots of French names. Okay, technically, there weren’t the traditional tombstones either. New Orleans cemeteries are above ground because of the high water table. We don’t want Aunt Gertrude to float away after all. 
   
A family (not mine!) entombment at St. Louis Cemetery #3
While at the cemetery, I don’t believe I pulled my phone out of my pocket even once because of my Apple Watch. At one point, Kathy and I went in two different directions to try to cover more ground at the same time. She and I would text back and forth every now and then, but I strictly used my Apple Watch for text, dictating my messages to her through the watch. 
   
After a while, Dark Sky warned us of impending rain, so I called our Uber ride to pick us up. The first time I tried to find an Uber car in the area, none were to be found, but I waited a couple of minutes, tried again, and one was available.
    
A few incidentals and final thoughts. 
On Tuesday morning, after going through security at the New Orleans Airport, my Apple Watch alerted me to the fact that it had only 10% battery left. It had not been down that low since my 72 hours of use. Evidently, I did not have the charger, which only connects via a magnet, properly in place the previous night. As soon as we got to our gate, I found an empty outlet and plugged it in. In about an hour’s time, it charged to 60% which was more than good for the rest of the day. But this was a good reminder that it might be best not to depend on the watch as the sole solution for one’s boarding pass. I did have a paper copy inside my vest. 
   
While en route to Atlanta, storms closed the airport, and our flight was temporarily rerouted to Chattanooga. By the time we finally got back to Atlanta, our flight had been cancelled, and we had to spend the night in a nearby hotel. For dinner, the Yelp app came in quite handy. We did not use this app in New Orleans because we essentially knew what restaurants we wanted to visit while there. However, I’ve discovered that the simple interface for Yelp on the Apple Watch is fantastic. Tapping on Restaurants brings up a list of available dining establishments in proximity order from those within a certain number of feet (really) to miles. Tapping on the restaurant will bring up more details including a map, which will give you turn-by-turn directions. 
   
When we were waiting in line to board our rescheduled flight Wednesday morning, the Delta agent began going over directions for scanning boarding passes. Paper boarding passes were obviously assumed for most travelers, but the agent also mentioned boarding passes on phones and gave instructions to hold the phone a couple of inches above the scanner as opposed to laying them down on it. No mention was made of proper procedure for the Apple Watch. I try to be nonchalant when using my Apple Watch in situations like this, but I admit my inner geek is performing cartwheels inside. As I turned over my wrist and passed my watch over the scanner, the Delta Agent said in a quieted tone, “Now that’s what I’m talking about."
   
I readily admit that using the watch for some of the situations described above is pretty geeky, and I simply like such things. However, it should not be missed that the Apple Watch gets my face out of my phone’s screen. Look around you in a a crowded setting. It’s nose to glass everywhere you look. This is not only dangerous; it’s also a bit…well, antisocial is stronger than I mean as it communicates intent. At the very least, so much public phone gazing is less than social. The Apple Watch, which is designed for quick glances, helps me be safe and more plugged into what’s going on around me. That’s not too bad. 
   
   
   
Questions, thoughts, comments, rebuttals? Leave them in the comments section below!

 

Tuesday
May012012

Skeletons in the Family Closet, Part Two: A Shooting in Phillips County

William Mansfield's simple grave marker in Maple Hill Cemetery, Phillips County, ArkansasSupposedly, my great grandfather shot first. 

However, we only have the testimony of his killer for this fact. There were no other witnesses, so ultimately we’ll never know what really happened. All we know for certain is that on April 8, 1920, William P. Mansfield died of four gunshot wounds he received the previous day in Lexa, Arkansas. 

Believe it or not, learning that my great grandfather died in a gunfight is not what shocked me most. The more startling revelation relates to what my great grandmother did afterwards. 

William P. Mansfield was born in Kentucky in 1880, the son of a Scottish immigrant who married an American girl from the bluegrass state. I don’t know a lot about William, and I know even less about his parents, but I’ve learned enough to piece together his movements for the last fifteen years of his life. 

In 1905, William married Daisy Julian, a young woman whose families had settled a couple of generations earlier in the northwest corner of Tennessee in Obion County. Daisy had grown up in Union City, right on the border with Kentucky, where she no doubt had met William. They married on Saturday, April 22, in Alexander County, Illinois. I’m not certain why they went to Illinois to get married, but it’s actually only 70 miles north of Daisy’s hometown.

By 1909, they were a family of four living in Helena, Arkansas: William, Daisy, Mary Elizabeth (age 2) and John my grandfather (age 1). William worked for the Solomon-Moore Land Company, and they all lived in company housing on the south end of town. 

William moved the family wherever he could find the best work to provide for them. The very next year, the family crossed back over to the other side of Mississippi River and settled in Boyle, Mississippi, roughly seventy miles south down river. 

The details surrounding the next few years are sketchy, but by 1920, the Mansfield family had moved back to Helena, Arkansas, where they show up in the 1920 U.S. Census, taken in January of that year. They were no longer living in company housing, and William seems to be working as a freelance carpenter.

Daisy (my great grandmother) and her son, John (my grandfather), 1957 in Memphis, TennesseeIn my previous post, I wrote about John Mansfield (William’s son), my grandfather who died a few months before I was born. John was intelligent and charismatic, but ultimately, his life brought with it much tragedy. In the course of less than two decades, he abandoned two separate families--two wives and seven children combined. In the end, as an alcoholic and diabetic, he died alone in a flophouse of gangrene poisoning because he would not go to the doctor regarding his infected leg. 

I also noted that my grandmother (John’s second wife) felt like her husband could have accomplished more in life had he not had to drop out of school with only a grade school education in order to support the family. 

Why, though, did John have to drop out of school? When I started researching my grandfather and his family, I initially got stuck in 1920 because there were a number of unanswered questions. 

Although I found the family intact in Phillips County, Arkansas, living in the town of Helena in January, 1920, I stumbled upon a marriage record for December of the same year in which a Daisy Mansfield married a man named L. E. A. Yeager. Assuming that there weren’t multiple Daisy Mansfields in Helena, Arkansas, in 1920, I had to wonder what had happened to William Mansfield? Did they divorce? Did something happen to him?

So I dug a little deeper and came across a listing in the Arkansas Death Index for a William Mansfield, who died on April 8, 1920, in Phillips County, Arkansas. Was this my great grandfather? Could he have died at less than 40 years old? To know for certain, I sent off for his death certificate. After I received it, I discovered that it was indeed the William Mansfield of my family tree. 

If not some kind of terminal illness, I halfway expected to discover that William died in some kind of accident--perhaps a misstep in his line of work as a carpenter. I did not expect to see “gunshot wounds” as his cause of death. I was a bit shocked. Part of me, which has no real emotional attachment to this man, thought it sounded a bit exotic to have an ancestor die in a gunfight. 

Nevertheless, I knew there had to be more to this story. How did my great grandfather get into a position in which he died of gunshot wounds?

Assuming that such an event would be big news in a small town in 1920, I contacted the Phillips County Library, which I had learned housed the archives of the local newspaper. After I described the event to one of the local librarians, she told me she would look in the newspaper around the days surrounding William’s death to see if there were any accounts of what happened. 

When I talked to her later that afternoon, the librarian told me that she had found two articles regarding William Mansfield’s death. One was written soon after he had been shot, but while he was still alive. The second one was written after he had already died. She told me she would send the articles to me in the mail.

After I thanked her and was about to hang up, she said, “Oh, and I now know the name of your great grandfather’s killer, if you are interested.” I was certainly interested but had not really thought about it. I assumed that the killer would just be a name to me. Out of curiosity, though, I said, “Yes, please, tell me the killer’s name.”

From The Helena Daily World, April 8, 1920You hear of people’s jaws dropping when hearing shocking news, but it seems like more of a cliche than an actual physical reaction. Yet, I can promise you that my jaw literally dropped when she said that the shooter’s name was L. E. A. Yeager. 

Yes, this was the same man my great grandmother, sweet Daisy, married later that year!

There were no eyewitnesses to what actually happened. The events reported in the paper on April 8, 1920, were based solely on the story of Lester Elgin Archer Yeager, a Phillips County sheriff’s deputy, and the shooter of my great grandfather. On the evening of Wednesday, April 7, 1920, my great grandfather, William P. Mansfield, traveled from his home in Helena fifteen miles to nearby Lexa, Arkansas. 

According to Yeager, the quarrel between the two was over lumber contracts. Yeager also claims that William fired a gun twice before he could even open the door (a little detail that still sounds odd to me--was he trying to shoot through the door?). Then, Yeager returned fire shooting William four times. He died the next day. 

Of course it’s tragedy enough that Daisy lost her husband in such a violent manner. Yet it absolutely blows me away that eight months later, she married her husband’s killer!

There is obviously much more to this story, and it will require an eventual trip to Helena, Arkansas, to look for more answers. In the meantime, though, I have lots of questions. For instance, I don’t blame Daisy for marrying so quickly. That was common in those days for means of support, especially when there were children involved. But why would she marry her husband’s shooter? Was William Mansfield a really bad man and Yeager seen as a savior? Were Daisy and Yeager involved in an illicit relationship? Did Yeager have some kind of power over Daisy and the rest of the family?

From The Helena Daily World, April 9, 1920And what about my grandfather, John? Even if his father was a bad man, such events had to have taken a terrible toll on a 12-year-old boy. To lose a father at such a formative time in a young boy’s life would have long-term consequences. And what did John think about his mother marrying his father’s killer? 

I will always want to be clear that I don’t want to excuse my grandfather’s bad decisions in life. He made poor choices and they were his direct responsibility. And yet, with the knowledge I have now--even if still incomplete--I have to admit that I judge him less harshly than I did before. 

Is it any surprise that someone who had experienced such tragic loss at such a young age might have trouble maintaining long-term relationships later in life? Again, even if William was not a nice guy, young boys often want to look up to their fathers, often overlooking their flaws. What kind of feelings were inside 12-year-old John when his mother married his father's killer? When she brought him into their home? Is it surprising at all that as an adult, he might try to futiley escape these memories in a bottle? 

In my next and final installment, I’ll offer some closing reflections on these events and my grandfather’s life. And I may even throw in a little bit of philosophical speculation in regard to this very enthralling section of my family tree. Check back in a few days.

 

As always, your thoughts, questions, comments, and rebuttals are welcome below.

Wednesday
Apr252012

Skeletons in the Family Closet, Part One: The Grandfather I Never Knew

John at 49 in 1957, ten years before he died. I never knew my paternal grandfather. He died five months before I was born.

John William Richard Mansfield (one of many variations of his name) died during the first week of July (we don’t know the exact day) in 1967. Estranged from the family, he died alone in Memphis, Tennessee, as a result--according to his death certificate--of septicemia. 

If you’re not familiar with septicemia, I’ll save you the bother of looking it up: it’s blood poisoning. My grandfather, John, had two conflicting maladies; he was both diabetic and alcoholic. The two do not go well together because consumed alcohol converts to sugar in the digestive system. Moreover, John was not one to faithfully take his insulin injections. 

About a week before he died, my father’s older half-brother, Johnnie, paid his father a visit. John had a wound on one of his legs that looked badly infected. Actually, it was gangrenous. Johnnie told his father that he need to go to the doctor, but John wouldn’t go. He knew they would remove his leg, and he felt that he just couldn’t live as an amputee. Very true, but I'm sure not as he meant it. 

I’ve heard hushed stories about my grandfather, John Mansfield, all my life. As I said, I never knew him. I also heard that I had aunts and uncles I’d never met--as well as cousins--all from a marriage my grandfather had to a woman who was not my grandmother.  

My grandfather was born on March 17, 1908, somewhere in Kentucky (we’re not certain exactly where). His parents were William P. Mansfield (born Nov 4, 1880) and Daisy Dean Julian (born sometime in August, 1882). There was also a sister, Mary Elizabeth, about a year older than John, whom the surviving family knew as “Aunt Beth.” I’d never heard of any of them except for John until a few months ago.

Frankly, John Mansfield was not an overly responsible individual (and that’s being very kind). In 1931, he married Ena Prier, and they had four children--two boys and two girls. But sometime around 1938, John started seeing Maurene (yes, that spelling is correct) Fowler, my grandmother, in Little Rock, Arkansas. When Maurene found out John was married, she broke things off with him. She told him she was not the kind of woman who would date a married man.

Maurene was nearly 30 years old when she had started seeing John. I have very distinct memories of my grandmother, but they all come about three decades after these events and beyond. When I remember her, she’s at near saint-level in my mind. She was a pillar of her church when I knew her. I’m sure she could have told you her sins, but I couldn’t tell you what they were. I never saw them.

Therefore it’s hard to imagine a man like John being willing to leave a wife and four children for my grandmother. And even after he came calling again in 1939, with the ink still fresh on the papers of his divorce from Ena, it boggles my mind that Maurene would have anything to do with him. Perhaps it was her age. I have no idea how many suitors had come calling in her younger days, but I’m sure that by the age of 31, the number had drastically dwindled.  

And yet history has a funny way of repeating itself. In late 1939, John and Maurene got married. After they had three children, one of whom is my father, John simply disappeared one day. I believe it was around 1947, but I could be off a year or two. By the time he came back about half a decade later, begging Maurene to take him back, she simply wouldn’t hear of it. She’d worked three jobs at times to support herself and three children. Maurene was college educated (a rarity for women in those days) which allowed her to teach elementary school, but an Arkansas teacher’s salary in the 1940s and 50s was not enough to make ends meet. 

The charismatic John Mansfield at 20 (1928). On the left, a family friend, Aubrey; and on the right, John's sister, Beth.I don’t blame my grandmother for not taking my grandfather back. I have no doubt she probably loved him even years later. From everything I can tell, he was an extremely charismatic individual. But his increased drinking had brought chaos into her life years before, and now she had to think of what would bring the greatest stability for her three children. John and Maurene never divorced, but they would never live in the same house again either. John moved to Memphis where much of his family from his first marriage lived. 

In spite of John’s faults, there were some positives. My father tells me how smart his father was. And this information comes not from his own memory, but from the testimony of his mother, Maurene. She said there wasn’t anything mechanical that he couldn’t figure out. He could take any device apart, fix it, and put it back together again. My grandmother told my father that she really believes he could have been something more if it weren’t for the fact that he had to drop out of school after about the fifth grade to help support the family.

Also, I’ve recently met some of my “half” first cousins--that is, grandchildren of John and his first wife, Ena--who are a bit older than me and remember him. Although John’s wives and children had great reason to be wary of him, his grandchildren who knew him seem to have fond memories of their brief experiences with him. They describe John as kind and funny, even if he did tend to always smell a bit like tobacco and whiskey. One of my cousins told me that she really liked her grandfather, but her father didn't let him come around much.

It’s easy to judge my grandfather harshly. Certainly no one can excuse the abandonment of not one, but two separate families. But where did John’s life first take a turn for the worse? 

No one living now seemed to know the exact circumstances that led to my grandfather’s disadvantaged childhood, vaguely described years ago by my grandmother. As I began digging into the past, I discovered a family scandal that is not only shocking to me--even weeks after I first discovered it--but still sounds like something more the stuff of fiction than real life. Nevertheless, I have the historical records and newspaper reports that prove what happened on the night of April 7, 1920. 

I’ll provide the jaw-dropping account of those events in my next installment. 

 

As always, your questions, thoughts, comments or rebuttals are always welcome below.