It's amazing how genealogy and the internet can help in reuniting people. Reuniting? I'm using the term here but that's not really accurate. How is it reuniting when you've never met? It makes no sense but somehow that's exactly what it is.
I found a message in my email box yesterday from a man who graduated high school the same year (1959) that my uncle Frank (my mom's brother) would have if he'd finished. He'd heard through another classmate that my uncle had recently passed away and had been conducting an online search for his obituary when he ran across the name in my blog. The name he'd actually found was that of my grandfather, Franklin Depperman, Sr., but hey, it all worked out!
Anyway, he included a picture of his 8th birthday party and pointed out my uncle at the picnic table. Even if he hadn't pointed him out I think I would have been able to guess which one -- he looks so much like my grandfather and his brother when they were young! He told me that he remembered my mom and when I called her and asked her, she remembered his name as well. He has some pictures of my mom that I don't have so he'll be sending them along in the coming weeks as well. He also pointed me toward his blog, which has some great pictures of the little town that they all grew up in. I read through it in detail and really enjoyed it. I hope he continues with the memories. It makes that time period come alive for me.
I should mention my uncle now, the one that brought us all together. He passed away on the first of May. I knew that he had -- my mother called me and let me know -- but I was out of town then and didn't get a chance to write about it and then it slipped my mind until receiving the email yesterday. You see, I never met my uncle (that's not technically true -- he saw me when I was 6 months old -- but I don't remember of course.) There are many reasons for that but they are much too complex and personal to go into here. At any rate, the last time my mother saw him was at their father's funeral and she told me at that time that he was not in good shape. He seemed to be suffering from either Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia.
I don't know much about his life as our families weren't close. I learned more about his early years from his obituary -- and from the man who emailed me yesterday -- than even my mother has been able to tell me. His obituary mentioned a daughter, though, and I learned her name. Perhaps she'd be interested in getting to know me. We're first cousins, after all. I believe that I will attempt to locate her. I left a message on the guest book and hopefully she will see it.
There are other things that I do know that this obituary left out. Before I write about them, though, I'll need to go through some things that my mother gave me and try to flesh out his life a bit. I will be doing that soon.
As it stands, life is amazing, isn't it? How grand that a man I never knew found my blog and has been able to tell me things I never knew about an uncle that I never knew. So while I have never met either of the men in this story, it was like a reunion of sorts anyway. Reuniting the two men themselves, through me. Happy endings.
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