Through my move over the last month, and the forced sorting of what I can reasonably keep close to me and what I need to put into storage, I have once again been sorting through boxes. My favorite ones are those that contain the old family photo albums and mementos. When my mom passed away the family legacy (photo boxes) came to me.
I always stop and think about one memento in particular – and speculate on what the “back story” truly was. You will understand.
My Great Grandfather Sigmund “Siggy” Oppenheim and Great Grandmother Mary Elizabeth “Polly” Smith were married in 1897. They had a daughter Olive Vere (nicknamed Babe) in 1906.
Whatever their relationship was, it did not end well. The sadly cherished memento is the letter that Polly wrote to Sid:
Thursday 9 P.M. February 10 – 1910
I suppose you spent a restless night, and be surprised when you get this letter, but I have made up mind that we have lived long enough together this way, cat & dog life. We have lived as man & wife in name only for nearly four years.
I don’t care for you and you don’t care for me. I only regret leaving Babe but as soon as my wages increase I will try to have her with me oftener. I am not far away and will see her nearly every day.
I had no intentions of going to the theater with Etta so don’t go and bother her for she knows nothing for when I left yesterday I made preparations. So good bye for ever.
Sig never saw Polly again from what I understand. She moved from San Francisco to Marin County – Sausalito area across the Golden Gate Bridge. She never interacted with her daughter Babe (my grandmother) again.
From my mother I know that Siggy was a loving, affectionate grandfather. She adored her Grandpa Siggy. I never met him.
Sad as it is, I treasure this snippet of my history.