This is a post about a post. My mother-in-law posted the other day at Immigrant Daughter, and in it she revealed something I only just discovered while reading it. She did not make much of this in her post but, as you will see, I have been pondering it ever since I read it.
Here’s the much-shortened version of the back story: My father-in-law (now gone from us for two years) was born out of wedlock in Indiana in 1924. He was raised in foster homes, and his story is one of extremes: tragedy and redemption.
This is one of my favorite pictures of him, in my breakfast room, holding my cat. You can read more about him on Immigrant Daughter. He married MIL in 1949.
When he was grown, with his own family (maybe in his 50’s??), he found his blood family. After he was given to the foster system as an infant, his parents had married and had two sons—his full brothers. His parents had both died by the time he located the family.
In that research he came in contact with his aunt by marriage who had been married to the then-deceased Alfred, FIL’s mother’s brother. And during the course of the research to find his family, a publication about Alfred surfaced. Alfred was a candidate for governor in his home state of Indiana. This was a message to his voters back home from his Army post in Camp Llano Grande, Texas. It was written on September 15, 1916, and the gist of it is that Alfred, serving the Army on the Mexican Border, was for prohibition. Here is a scan of it:
Now, switch attention over to MIL. She grew up on the East Coast, born into a Greek family in 1930. In her “archives,” she found a similar publication about her father’s brother, Charlie. This was also called “A Message from the Border.” Here is a scan of it.
It is an article informing Charlie’s union local (Union of Operating Engineers, No. 542) back in his home state of Pennsylvania about Charlie’s service to the Army on the Mexican Border. The article speaks of Charlie’s earnest work against prohibition. The date? September 15, 1916. It is also from Camp Llano Grande, Texas.
- MIL’s uncle from Pennsylvania and FIL’s uncle from Indiana
- both in the Army at Camp Llano Grande
- at the same time
- feature in articles on prohibition
- on the same, exact date
- And MIL just happens to have both of these in her possession???!!!!
I don’t know about you but this seems like an awful lot of coincidence to me. Of course, we have no idea that these men ever met—Alfred was an Officer who later retired as a Colonel. Charlie was a private at the time of this article, and returned to his civilian life later on.
Certainly, they could have no idea that Alfred’s nephew (born some 8 years after these missives were written) and Charlie’s niece (born 14 years later) would later marry. They probably were not even aware of each other’s articles on prohibition being generated and set back to their respective homes on the same day.
I just think it is weird as all get-out that these traces of by-gone folk converged in this way.
I told this to one of my associates this morning, and she puzzled, quiet for a moment. “I’m trying to find the meaning of this,” she said. Me, too. I have thought a lot about it.
For me, it is like some kind of message of hope through FIL. It seems to tell me that the craziness, uncertainty and trouble of life does, indeed, fit into some scheme and some plan. It feels like a message crafted for me back in 1916, as if God knew that in 2010 C would need a little communication that He is in control—beginning to end—and that it will be okay, no matter how it seems at the moment.
And, believe me, C does, indeed need to believe that the insanity of her last three years is in the hands of Someone Who Knows What He’s Doing. For sure.
And I can’t keep from thinking about this:
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Yes, I know I over think, but that is how it feels…. C