My mother was born in 1935. Her mother was already on her second marriage and would go on to a third union. My Uncle Louie was the product of her first marriage; my mother and my Uncle Albert from the second marriage and Aunt Felice and Uncle Junior from the third union.
Getting information out of my mother is like pulling teeth. Getting information from my other relatives is not an option-most are dead and even if they weren’t, they were master secret-keepers, too. Here’s what I’ve pieced together over the years from my mother and Aunt Angie, Uncle Louie’s wife (now deceased).
My grandmother married my Uncle Louie’s father and had Uncle Louie. I don’t know anything about him. Then she may or may not have married my grandfather, but she had my mother and Uncle Albert. After that she hooked up with Juan Cosme, the father of Aunt Felice and Uncle Junior. One night my grandmother was cooking dinner. She needed to go down to the bodega to get milk and left my mother watching the food and the kids. When she didn’t come back my mother went upstairs to Uncle Leo and told him her mother wasn’t back, as she wasn’t allowed out on the street. He went to look for her. He found her dead on the stairs on a lower landing of the apartment complex. My mother was fourteen years old. This happened, as far as I can approximate it, in November 1949. Her stepfather killed her mother. I don’t know if he stabbed her, but this is my recollection. He may have strangled her. His nickname was “the Indian”, because he was dark-skinned. He was also “crazy” according to my mother. This may be true since both his children, Aunt Felice and Uncle Jr. are schizophrenic and have spent time in mental institutions. Of course, subsequent sexual abuse may have contributed to their psycological problems. Anyway, Juan went to prison and the kids were dispersed to the family. Uncle Louie was in the Army. My mother went to Uncle Leo and his wife, Carmen. Aunt Felice, who was about three years old, went to Uncle Cando and his wife, Lucy. Uncle Albert, age 11, and Uncle Jr., age five, went to Port Jefferson, NY to Saint Charles Hospital, which was a place kids were sent to when no one wanted them, I guess. I’ve asked my mother why no one took them but she never gave a reasonable answer. My mother says Uncle Albert was “hyperactive”, the term used then, and I don’t know why no one took Uncle Jr. He later contracted polio and is in a wheelchair. Maybe the boys were of no interest to the relatives? I know my mother loved Uncle Leo and Aunt Carmen and kept in contact with them, and after they died, kept in contact with their children.
Scant facts. I’ve tried for years to find out the details of what happened. I’ve used the internet to perform research, to no avail. I’ve asked my mother all I could. I have to be careful with my inquiries because she gets angry and wants to know why I want to dredge up this stuff. I know it’s painful to her, but maybe if everything wasn’t a secret in this family I wouldn’t be so curious. So I continue my search/research for the details of the murder of Felicdad Santiago Rosa Mejias Cosme’s death in Brooklyn in 1949.