Saturday, January 31, 2009

Can't pick your relatives~~~~~~~~

My grandmother was nuts.

She insisted that we are direct descendants of Marie Antoinette. How? I thought her whole family was killed. I have tried to find proof to this but I have not yet, so I am skeptical.

But my dad's younger sister died when she was 14 or so. I don't know why, but it must have been quite a burden on my grandmother. But she searched and finally adopted a girl about the same age as my late aunt, and even (the weird part) with the same initials as my Aunt Gladys. So Gloria Mae Wheaton became Gloria Mae Galpin.

I;m trying to get my head wrapped around this book I want to write on trucking- write what you know is what people tell me. So this morning I remembered a box of stuff up in my attic that had pictures of my grandfather standing next to his 'new' trucks in the 1920s and 1930s and thought they might be a cool addition to my book.

While searching through this box of junk this morning, deposited and not moved since my grandmother died in 1996, I found a rather curious envelope that I had missed almost 13 years ago now. It was a letter with a lawyer's return address on it, and in the envelope there was a few legal papers and another envelope.

In the smaller envelope was a letter from my adopted aunt Gloria, along with pictures of her grand kids dated 1980. It was a short note, explaining who was who, but the gist of the note was plea for her birth certificate, since she never got it when she fled from my nutty grandmother when she was old enough to leave. In the larger envelope was an adoption letter, making Gloria my grandparents adopted child and thus changing her surname to Galpin.

I live about 65 miles from where my grandmother lived and while she was alive, was fortunate that a neighbor who she had known since HE was a boy, checked in on her and looked out after her in my absence. After she died, Tom, the neighbor, and I talked a lot and he remembered Gloria as a beautiful girl, very popular at school and quite out of place in my grandparent's home. My dad was away in the Navy, so Gloria was the only one left at home, and Tom said as soon as she was able to, left because (as he said) my grandmother tried to make Gloria Gladys.

Why my grandmother never sent these papers to her is beyond me, but I remember in my grandmother's will Gloria was to get nothing, and she went out of her way to word it so. She even mentioned Gloria's three know surnames: Galpin,Wheaton and her married name Accettulla.She even mentioned my older brother, whom I never have met, but that's not the point here.

So, I have been doing a web search for my adopted aunt to try and get in touch with her to send these papers to her. The letter to my grandmother has a Pittsburgh PA address on it, so I have found someone in PA with her name, and I hope she is still alive so I can send a letter to her and hope she is the right one.

So anyone knowing a Gloria Accettulla in Pittsburgh, tell her that her adopted brother Eddie's son has the papers she was needing almost 30 years ago.

I'm off to mail a letter to Pittsburgh. Maybe I can get to meet her before she passes on, because she must be quite elderly by this time.


soapy t said...

no you cannot pick your family, but you can pick your friends. i blame everything that is wrong with me on my parents.

artkincell said...

Oh Amy, so what's wrong?

Have you 'settled up' with your parents yet? I never did and regret it now that they're both gone. My therapist told me that I should have and it could have improved my life immensely. I had to learn the hard way-

More discussion can take place here:

soapy t said...

thanks. i am fine with my parents. i just like to scream, "i learned it by watching you alright. i learned it by watching you." i am not talking about smoking weed, just anything/ everything in general. i think as people we are all fucked up. and we are only here b/c of our parents therefore i can blame them. i take responsibility for my actions, i play like i am an adult. i blame them more for fun and to mess with them. i am here as a result of their actions so i feel somewhat entitled. it's fun.

Janice Okoh said...

What a wonderful, sad, scary story. Gloria/Gladys.Write what you know. Write about that! I would!