“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?”
is for the Manspeakers, George and Anna Martha. Anna was my grandfather’s first cousin, sister of Ben Davis, and aunt to the girls who also attended my grandfather’s funeral in 1963. In the Guest Book, the Manspeakers’ names appear immediately after Anna’s younger sister, Nora Hart.
When George and Anna married in 1923, he was a widower with two young daughters. He and Anna had three more girls. Even after marriage and having children, Anna continued to work in the garment factory where she had worked in 1920. George was a brick mason by trade. Perhaps he built their home in Martinsburg, West Virginia. While the house is not for sale, you can tour it on Zillow, which incorrectly dates the house from 1956. Another realty site gives a more accurate estimate of 1926.
|Manspeaker house in Martinsburg, WV|
snipped from Zillow
Probably the most eventful thing that ever happened to the Manspeakers happened to George’s niece Irene. Single and age 31, Irene gave birth to a baby boy in June 1939. Yet a day later, the baby was dead. And the cause? “Violence at the hands of some person or persons unknown.” Manner of injury: contusion and strangulation.
Am I the only one who is suspicious? Irene was the informant, yet she claimed not to know the father. This could be one juicy story to ferret out.
Avoid malady and malaise but be malleable to being mesmerized by the maelstrom of magniloquent and mellifluous myths and metaphors offered by the mavens of the blogisphere at the A to Z April Challenge.
© 2015, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.