All names in this post have been dramatically changed.
In a post I made a few weeks ago about my trip to the Mallee Desert, I made mention of how I stopped in the town of Ouyen on the way to Ponygirl's farm to do some research on my paternal side's family history.
At the Ouyen Historical Society's chambers (open Fridays) I found old rates' ledgers, old town maps and some other stuff featuring my great-grandparents.
They asked me to write down in the guest book any specific requests I had, and I wrote something vague like, "Looking for information on the Kneejerk family."
Well, yesterday, in the mail, came a letter from one of the old ladies at the centre who had, in her own time, compiled a whole geneaology for me. It must be her hobby or something, and I much appreciated it as not only did it have all the information as to when my grandfather and his siblings were born, married and so on, but it even had some information on my great-great grandparents (from Ararat and Ballarat apparently).
The one that shone out though was the entry for my grandfather's marriage.
It said: Leonard Arthur Kneejerk married Irene Rosenberg, 1931 (reg: 8236).
That's all well and good, except... who the fuck is Irene Rosenberg? My grandmother was Antonia Fairbairn, and she married my grandfather Leonard in 1935! When she was pregnant with my eldest Aunt!
I can now only assume that my grandfather was married once before. My Dad had never mentioned this to me, and indeed, he may not even know. Nobody might know! I may be the only person in the Kneejerk family that knows this. What do I do? Do I tell Dad? "Hey Day, did you know Pa was married before he married Nana?"
My grandfather died in 1992, and may have thought he took the secret to the grave. My grandmother died a couple of years after that. Dad is 70. Is this the sort of thing to tell a 70 year old man?
My grandfather Leonard was an odd man. I remember his as a grump, but a very interesting one. He was a voracious reader, a communist, a mad sports fan, incredibly well-dressed (after his retirement he sat in a chair in his Ascot Vale housing-commission flat for about twenty years wearing 3 piece suits, chain smoking from a pipe and downing a bottle of whiskey every day) and was only interested in discussing literature, philosophy, politics and sport. If the discussion was along the lines of "How's the health / kids / meal?" he'd not speak.
Hm. Like grandfather, like grandson.
I never saw him walk, though apparently he got his haircut every Wednesday.
Maybe his lack of sociability was all just a 50 year ploy to avoid ever disclosing his previous life.
At his funeral there were a group of people none of us knew. They weren't Masons. He hated Masons. We assumed they were Communists. They stood there, paid their respects, and then left, refusing to answer questions.
I'm now thinking they were Rosenbergs.