Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Sad Ending... May's Story

It's early November 1933, May and Leonard are living in Washington DC with 8 children, one a newborn son named Richard, born October 24th. May is ill, not recovering from the birth as she has in the past. She is taken to Georgetown University Hospital, where on November 9, 1933 she passes away from post partum infection.

Leonard is alone with 8 children - 3 of them are not his, but from May's first marriage. Their father, Clarence Keener is dead.

Edna, the oldest, is 9 years old. She must step up to care for her siblings - a nearly impossible task for someone her age. Difficult decisions are made, and two of the youngest children will go to live with other family members.

The baby Richard (so I've been told by other Kidwell family members) goes to live with May's mother and her sister Marie helps to raise him. Carr (or Carl) goes to live with Leonard's brother's in-laws, members of the Poates family. The six remaining children stayed with Leonard.

Leonard seemingly immersed in his sorrow for May, writes notes and poems about missing someone who has gone away. I have hundreds of hand written pages of notes, poetry and songs that he scribbled during the years that followed her death. Too many to read in fact. What a difficult time it was for him, having lost his love. I'm sure he was deeply depressed, and wondered how they would get through it.

May was buried in Fairfax County, Virginia at the Flint Hill Cemetery. I've written before about the difficult time I had finding her headstone. Leonard loved to garden, and I'd bet that the now very large blooming bush that grows on her gravesite was planted by him. May's family didn't care for Leonard which is possibly why she wasn't buried in the Anderson family plot at the Lewinsville Presbyterian Church cemetery. I'm sure there was much discussion about this.

Leonard and the children went on with their lives. His mother Sallie came to live with the family and remained with Leonard until her death in 1956. Leonard died in August 1978 at the age of 82 in the VA hospital in Martinsburg West Virginia.

1 comment:

  1. What a sad story, eight little children without a mother.