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View Diary: GFHC Open Thread: A Most Interesting Cemetery (61 comments)

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  •  An imaginary(?) ancestor, abroad and away .. (2+ / 0-)
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    brook, figbash

    A very enjoyable diary - thanks!

    Exploring the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris, stands out in my mind.

    I have an uncommon surname. All of my Catholic family (save for my parents, more on that later) stuck close to their German ancestral villages, whenever possible, though one side did relocate to Frankfurt, after escaping (illegally) through Berlin's Russian sector, pre-wall. My parents were the exploratory team for the entire family, who all planned to one day move to the U.S.

    At some point, the remaining members of the family decided to stay and so, "we" were left in the U.S., solo.

    40 years on, my wife and I were wandering in the cemetery near our Paris apartment vacation rental, on a particularly sunny, pleasant day. As we were admiring some of the headstones, sarcophaguses, etc., we came across the gravesite of "Fanny <my-surname>" who, IIRC, passed away in '49, and by the Star of David, was Jewish. Huh.

    We quickly constructed a fictional account (..or is it?..) of wild, impulsive Fanny, the uniquely adventurous daughter of my great grandparents, who relocated to Paris to pursue her artistic dreams. Converting for the man she loved and, of course, fighting in the resistance, she celebrated the day of Paris' liberation on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The homebodies back in Germany, so very jealous of her thrilling exploits, deny her existence, to this day.

    In a way that I consider singularly affectionate, within our occasional humorous references and thoughts, Fanny yet lives. While I assume I am not a relation, I cannot know if anyone in her actual family (i.e.: a true descendant of someone that was an acquaintance) has given her a thought in many decades. If not, I certainly hope she doesn't mind our adoption and utilization of her spirit.

    ..now, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

    by FrankSpoke on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 12:09:25 AM PDT

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