Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lydia #1

This is Lydia Margaret McKee, my maternal great-grandmother.

She married Henry Marshall on December 28, 1871. Soon after the birth of their third child, a son named Harry, she became ill, and, as was common in those days, her doctor prescribed morphine for her pain. What a tiny woman she was. It must not have taken the drug long at all to grab hold and run away with her.

Lydia did, in truth, run from her family somewhere around 1882. She left the little white-washed house there on the Missouri plains. Henry, daughters Jenny and Nellie (my grandmother, then a tot) and the boy suffered the knowledge that her decision must have been made to spare them from her tailspin down into addiction and a certain hideous death.

There was a report from someone who knew the family that Lydia had been seen wandering the streets of Chicago, alone. That was the last they knew of her.

Not surprisingly, my grandmother, Nellie, grew to become a wonderful, loving wife and mother to her husband's two daughters from a deceased first wife, and to their own three boys, their daughter (my mother), and to the infant girl they adopted when the boys were grown. Nellie was a tea-toadler her entire life. The addiction gene that was passed down from Lydia hid and waited ... waited for me.


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2 comments:

Phivos Nicolaides said...

I absolutely love this touching story and the name of your great grandmother. "Lydia" was an ancient country in Asia Minor and of course the name also is mentioned in the Greek mythology.

Ericka Z-W said...

Wonderful story. Sounds oh, so familiar. The tales of childbirth, addiction, and mothers leaving are familiar to my family as well. Thank you for sharing the story of your beautiful grandmother.

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