It was almost two years ago that I got in touch with Ed Richter.
He was a first cousin to my great-grandpa Frank Becker.
At that time I had made a lot of progress in developing my Becker family tree. As I was looking at all these first cousins, I realized that Ed was still living. On a whim, I wrote him a letter, and asked if he would be interested in some of the family history stuff I had uncovered.
I was excited to hear back from him and eventually to meet him in person. As it turns out, he lived only about 15- minutes away — just a straight shot down Chambers Road.
We talked on the phone and met at his house several times. He remembered quite a bit about his aunts and uncles on the Becker side, even though he wasn’t especially close to them. I learned things from him that never would have turned up in old censuses or church records.
During the time I knew Ed, he was diagnosed with cancer. At the end of March 2009, he died. But I didn’t know about it until recently — and I feel pretty bad about it.
Continue reading “Edwin A. Richter, we won’t forget you”
I know the pace of this blog has been a bit slow lately. There’s a couple of reasons for that. The first is that I now work a four-day week. On those four working days, I have far less free time. The second is Josie and the girls. Josie has been quite fussy the last few weeks, and the harness has undoubtedly exacerbated that to some degree. When she’s crying, she only calms when we hold her a certain way and rock her, and it can be exhausting on nights where she won’t go to sleep.
But thankfully we’ve also had some really nice peaceful times with Josie. I think we are getting better at caring for her.
Of course the other girls continue to be demanding, too, always wanting to be in action, especially with the recent spate of warm weather.
One way to take care of everyone is to go for walks in Ferguson, which tires out the girls, and lets Josie sleep on my chest in the baby carrier. We went to the library and Walgreen’s yesterday morning, for example, and ran into a friend on our way back home.
Right now all three girls are sleeping. I’m enjoying a bit of time to import some video of a family history interview I shot earlier this week during my furlough from the Post-Dispatch. The subject is Mr. Richter, who is the only living first cousin of my great-grandfather, Frank Becker. A couple days after our interview, he had an operation to remove some cancer. If you think of it, please pray for his recovery.
One of many neat things about doing family history research has been getting in touch with so many family members that I hadn’t talked with before. For example, I have enjoyed calling and visiting with Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Jerry who were my great-grandma Becker’s siblings.
Another good story is a man I met named Ed, who is (as far as I can tell) my great-grandpa Becker’s only still-living first cousin. His house is just 10-15 minutes away, in the little north neck of St. Louis city along the Mississippi riverfront. I didn’t know that Ed existed until I began doing this research.
It was a pleasant surprise to make his acquaintance. We have invited him over several times, and it’s fun to be able to share food and folklore with him.
He didn’t know his Becker relatives that well, but still he is able to remember some things from childhood and share some stories. In fact, I have been able to tell HIM some stories that he didn’t know, like how his uncle John Becker was murdered. He knew something about that vaguely, but had never been told the details.
He has also told us stories about living through the great tornado that hit St. Louis in 1927, about life in the heavily-German area of north St. Louis where he grew up, about serving in Italy in World War II, about his time in the fire department, etc.