So I’ve been doing some geneological research to find out about my
father’s family. I actually spent the better part of an entire day
off in the musty archives in downtown Manhattan, finding out as much
as I could about my grandfather. My paternal grandfather. You see,
he died when my father was 10. My father really didn’t remember much
about him, and I couldn’t blame him, thinking about what I would have
known about my father when I was 10. He was the biggest man in the
world, is just about it, I think. I was able to find my father’s
father’s death certificate, which led me to his cemetery.
But that’s not this photo.
You see, my father had a sister. His sister died before he was born.
I always knew that my Nana—the only grandparent I ever knew—had a
tough life. I never realized, and I mean never, not until now, what
that meant. You see, Marilyn, my father’s sister, died when she was 5
years old. And my Nana’s husband died about 15 years later. My
grandmother raised my father on her own, in a crappy part of Brooklyn,
with no money at all. And she had a child die. The reason I never
knew how tough she had it was because I never had children. Now I do,
and it’s the worst thing you can possibly imagine. Literally.
So I found my grandfather’s grave. But on the way, I got lost. You
have to understand, my father didn’t know where his father was
buried. I don’t blame him, he was 10. So all I had was a plot and
row number. I miscounted the rows, and ended up totally lost.
Which is when I found my father’s sister’s grave. Marilyn. As I
said, she died at 5. Until I found her, no one had likely visited her
grave in 70 years. Or thereabouts. Pretty staggering. And I found
it by accident.