Wordless? Riiiiight. Not happening!
To the left is the wedding announcement of Clementine Mae Hamilton to Robert Bernier. The couple was married in 1948.
Clementine was my grandmother. It is interesting to me that this article listed her as "Miss," implying she'd never been married before her marriage to Robert. In fact, she had. She'd been married to my grandfather, Franklin Depperman, and they'd divorced around 1944. Clementine and Frank had two children before they did so; my mother and her brother.
Clementine went on to have five more children with Robert. These children are my half-aunts and half-uncles though I've never met any of them. Take that back....when I was seven or eight I remember going with my mother to visit Clementine and I believe one or two of her sons were there at the time. I could be mistaken about that memory because as I said, I was very young. My mom had seen Clementine briefly as a child from time to time but that visit was the first time she and my mom had actually met face to face as two adults. I wish I'd been old enough to pay more attention to that meeting instead of occupying myself playing in the front room of Clementine's house.
Clementine wrote my mother for a while but eventually the letters stopped coming. Years later, in the late 1990's, I located her again and we corresponded a bit. The letters to me stopped coming eventually as well. I did not even find out she'd died in 2002 until last year.
I suppose this sounds sad, and in a way it is. I never got to really know my grandmother. My grandfather remarried and the woman he married -- Pearl -- she was my "grandmother" for all intents and purposes though she was as aloof in her way as my grandfather was in his.
In another way, it isn't sad at all. Though my grandmother by blood, Clementine never "felt" like my grandmother in spirit. She seemed warm and loving but she was always very apologetic and I think she always felt the need to apologize and/or explain her actions. She didn't really need to. To my mother, of course, but not to me. Knowing my mother's family like I do I completely understand how Clementine, a shy 20-year old girl, would have felt going up against the proverbial irresistible force in the person of my great-grandmother, Franklin's mother. Many older and wiser people were powerless against her and Clementine just didn't know how to wage that kind of war. She didn't belong in that family anyway. That family would eat kids like her for dinner. I'm glad she got out when she did.
Still, Clementine's people are my people. I share blood with her sons and her daughters. I'd like to find them someday and begin a dialogue.
31 minutes ago