I got a flurry of email yesterday concerning a proposal to set up a center for the history of World War I, named after my Grandfather George Seanor Robb, at his alma mater Park College.
I forwarded the email to eight siblings and cousins for their feedback. It would be an honor. The Center would be associated with America’s only museum devoted exclusively to World War I which is in Kansas City. My Grandfather shipped out to the great war from Kansas City. In fact he had written to a “mormon girl” hoping to meet her at KC on his way to New York. Somehow he missed her in the hustle and bustle of the station. He may have been thinking of proposing to her but that did not happen. When she wrote him later to tell him that a wealthy, older, New Yorker had proposed to her my Grandfather wrote back from the trenches of France and told her that as he could not be certain of returning home she should accept the marriage proposal.Â Had she waited for my GrandfatherÂ I would never have been born.
I know this story because my Mother loved to tell me stories about her family. I guess you could call it gossip but my Mother so loved her family warts and allÂ so thatÂ what she told me never seemed like gossip withÂ that word’sÂ spiteful overtone. Even so, not all the stories were flattering. This is the email I sent my second Cousin this morning.
I’d love to see that letter. I’ve wondered about Mina for years. Mom had some stories about her and the family.
I believe her husband, Mr. Burke, was disabled. That may be too euphemistic a way to put it. I think Mom reported that one or both of his legs had been amputated. Mom never met him and I have no idea how long he and Mina were together.
Mina was the oldest and from what I understand the least popular of the Robb kids. She was close to her temperamental Father, Thomas, and regularly tattled on the boys who often got lickings because of her. I think she was supposed to be very bright.
She apparently made it her responsibility toÂ make sure thatÂ her sickly ,maiden, sister Susie got an education and aÂ teaching degree which, as we all know,Â Susie put to formidable use keeping errant, third-grade, Salina boys in line.
Apparently homemaking was not Mina’s cup of tea. On one occasion, perhaps before WW I her little brother, George, helped her clean up her house. Grandfather was disgusted with the state of its house keeping, it being the human equivalent of the stables that Hercules cleaned out in one of his seven labors. He told sister Susie that he “would never take a wife of his” into Mina’s house and I don’t believe that he ever did.
He did visit California once and Aunt Susie evidently warned Mina to clean her house like crazy so as not to appall her little brother. Evidently Mina must have worked feverishly to pass muster because Grandfather never expressed any disapproval of Mina’s California home.
Mom remembered meeting Mina’s daughters at some point. I’ve got their names somewhere in family records and a few years ago I googled them but since I don’t know what their married names are I have no idea where they are now. If I find some clues for you perhaps you could follow up as California is a likely place for their descendents to be hanging out. I’d be fascinated to hear any recollections from Mina’s side of the family story about her ratty little Robb brothers. My guess is that three generations on their Kansas stories have been all but washed away.”Â ÂPeople have always been too obsessed with being remembered for being paragons of virtue. Frankly paragons are boring. I wouldn’t mind meeting one but I wouldn’t hang out with them.Â I’d preferÂ aÂ person with a little vinegar in their veinsÂ any day of the week.ÂÂ