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Monday, October 25, 2010

Found! Facts about the Red-Headed Girl!

So, now I'm able to provide an update on the "red-headed" girl! 
My brother sent me a package last week.  It contained, among other things, an old address book that had been our mothers.  While looking through it, I came upon the name "Rita Turpin"....Aunt Rita!  Aunt Rita was the red headed woman that I remember from when my grandmother Auer lived in a "brownstone" apartment on 88th Street in Manhatten.  This was very near to Gracie Mansion - the home of the Governor right on the edge of the East River.  My mother and grandmother often took me for walks in the park along the river there when we visited.  I didn't put it together until just recently, but my mothers parents lived right above Grandma Auer.  Rita lived in the apartment across the hall. 

Next to Aunt Rita's name in the address book,  "Mary Wade-daughter", was written along with a phone number.  It is not uncommon for people who are ageing to record the names and phone numbers of their friends children in order to have a contact should the person they are trying to contact, not respond.  I must admit, I do it myself now. 

Anyway, I waited a few days and dialed the number having no idea what state I was calling.  Turns out, Mary Wade of Middlesex, New Jersey answered.  She seemed to recognize my name immediately and most graciously talked with me a good hour or so.  Mary and her brother had also been working on a geneology project and while they have information I need, I have some that they need as well.  How nice that I can be of some help to them too!  And I've found and gained some new cousins!

Mary explained that Rita had been her mother and was one of two children born to Josef and Marguerite Auer.  When Rita was only 9, Marguerite had been hit and killed by a car while leaving church.  Mary said that this was about 1923 but that doesn't fit with the 1920 census.  I have to find an obituary or some other record.   Marguerite was of Irish descent and sported red hair- hence the mysterious red hair inherited by Rita, herself!

After Marguerites death, Josef sent his two children, Rita and John to live with other family for awhile - presumably while he recovered from the loss of his wife.  According to the 1920 census, Josef moved in with Charlie Chaplin who is listed as an "in law".  Shortly after, he returned to claim his children and introduced them to his new wife and their new step-mother, Marie Boehm Krings Auer.  Marie, AKA Anna Marie, had been married to William Krings and the two had had three sons; Eddie, William and Walter.  Marie and Josef set about to merge their families.  Mary told me that Rita had told her at some point that she (Rita) had treated Marie poorly and that as she matured, she had felt terrible about the way she had treated her step mother.  Who would expect a nine year old to understand a father's re-marriage and tolerate a new step-mother as she continued to mourn the loss of her mother?  What is important is that as Marie aged, Rita, although by now married with children of her own, was there to provide care for my great grand-mother, Anna Marie Boehm Krings Auer.

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