My mom’s from Cincinnati. Irish Catholic. Her parents lived in Mt. Adams, then moved and raised their family in Hyde Park.
After nurse’s training in the 50s, Mom ran away to Los Angeles with her girlfriends to live for a year on the beach and sidle up to Catholic celebrities (e.g. John Wayne’s kids) in the communion line. She came back to the Queen City but eventually met my father and they moved to Southern California where I was born and raised. Same house for 48 years now.
Her beloved brothers and sister stayed in Cincinnati, and the Murray clan is close and so welcoming to their California cousins whenever we visited “back east” growing up and now. Cousins Therese and Tommy met us at Winton Woods State Park on a glorious Monday. We ate and talked and lamented we couldn’t visit longer. Tommy looks just like my brother Mark. Therese is the older sister everyone wishes they had.
My Aunt Peggy is a Sisters of Charity nun (below, left). She lives in their retirement house, slowed a bit, but good for her after a lifetime career as an educator and matriarch of the Murrays. Her friend Eileen has been like a member of the family and is always good for a little razzing about the Reds.
On the way south, a mere 70 miles away, we stopped in tiny Smithfield, Kentucky tracing Ben’s family this time.
Ben’s grandmother was from here. Her brother, Fielding, was a medic in World War I. Only nineteen, he died as a result of wounds suffered while trying to save a fellow soldier. It was mere days before the armistice. Ben’s middle name is Fielding.
A mere private, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor. We aren’t sure if his remains are in there. Maurice, who mows the cemetery grass every two weeks, is married to a Meek, and Ruth has been trying to get documentation on the medal. We told him we’d mail her a print out of what we’d found on the Internet. (They don’t do computers-they know they might be missing out on something, but they’re old fashioned and that’s ok.)