A Secret Grave 60: Victor’s Lineage

 

Victor came from a long line of medical savants. He didn’t know this until his teenage years but information regarding health and healing had been handed down in his family from generation to generation. His grandfather, Rudolf Gottlieb, had fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe in the early 1900s, emigrating to Canada where he practiced as an internist in Toronto, the city of Victor’s birth. He died in 1962 when Victor was seven years old. Shortly after that the family moved to Dallas.

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irma-rudolph

Irma & Rudolf Gottleib

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Victor’s memories of his grandfather were scattered and dim – he recalled an elderly man with a big white beard in a black suit and yarmulke who spoke more yiddish than English; he remembered smells of garlic, tea, schnapps, and cigarettes emanating from the old man’s clothes, and having to go to shul where he didn’t quite understand the protocol as Rudolf fervently davened in that weird up and down, back and forth motion, reciting prayers in a nasal sing song voice. Most of all he remembered the cold, non-negotiable silence between his father and grandfather, and that – on the rare occasions when he was at his grandfather’s house – he wanted to run and hide. This was because, as Victor learned many years later, his father, Leonard, had married out of the faith, choosing a lanky blond non-Jewish woman named Evelyn Frances Beaumont as his bride.

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evelyn

Evelyn Frances Beaumont

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Leonard met Evelyn after the war, when he was a medical student in Dallas, specializing in urology. Evelyn, ten years his junior, volunteered at the hospital as a candy striper and the minute Leonard laid eyes on her, he was smitten. He knew, of course, that marriage to Evelyn, who had grown up Baptist, would not only be frowned on by his family but would most likely cause a complete breakdown in relations.

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evelyn-sexy

Evelyn

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Her family wasn’t too thrilled either. As far as they were concerned, Jews were money grubbers with pointy heads and they didn’t like the idea of their daughter moving north to Toronto. But in 1952 Evelyn discovered she was pregnant with Victor’s older brother, Roy, and her mother threw a shotgun wedding with the bride, who was barely showing, dressed in white.

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ Cover photo ~ Penelope_Connell Family tree (cropped), Niall Williams, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

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