July 20, 2010

The End of an Era




A southern California sky. 2010.


Yesterday and Today

Himself: Swam, job hunted, took EDD test, Amvets, cooked dinner.

Herself: Swam, didn’t write in my blog. Store meeting at 9; meeting at 1030…to which I was late, found a couple of suits at Amvets, simple dinner.

Gratitude: Always the Geezer even when he is pissed at me.

Uncle Dan, as mother called him, died in 1924. His estate was placed in trust to provide income for his sister, Aunt Ellen. She lived into her hundreds traveling back and forth from Cleveland to Florida every year with her companion. I even remember her stopping to visit mother one summer the year she did a long road tour.

When she died, the trust continued to benefit his brother and sister Nettie equally then their heirs. When the last grandchild of three of them died, only then would the trust be disbursed to the heirs each getting one third of the trust.

My mother wasn’t the youngest granddaughter, and she always told me that her cousin Vee would outlive all of us. I believed it. She didn’t, and the estate will finally be disbursed.

To find out how many children Nettie had, for I am on Nettie’s branch of the trust, I need to wander down to the garage. Since I need to go down there to dig up my birth certificate to prove I’m me to the trust, I’ll check on that later in the day. Oh, I could look up the information on line, or in one of several family history volumes I have downstairs, but I am lazy. The antique file drawers in the garage are easier.

Nettie’s daughter Mary had two children with TEB, our Gimpa. Their son had two children, their daughter, my mother, had one….me. That will be our small corner of the trust.

Imagine something such as this trust, moving through time like this. It’s affected four generations of family members and more non family than can be counted. Often I have had small questions about the trust and the times that produced it. Didn’t Uncle Dan think his sister capable of managing her own money? Why didn’t she marry? Why didn’t he? How did the trust survive the Great Depression? How did it become so badly managed at several points through time?

In a way, it will be sad to close this small link to a past I never knew. Now all my thinking is moot. I need to fill out the tax forms and send off a copy of my birth certificate to Cleveland.

8 comments:

  1. Wow, this is interesting! Keep us informed. It sounds like stories we've read through time where a wealthy person dies and some unsuspecting person receives a chunk of money

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  2. Life is always interesting when it turns itself inside out like this.

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  3. An inheritance no matter how large or small changes our lives. I think for the intelligent there is some obligation to use this wisely, if indeed it has been there over the years.

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  4. I think the link to your past is wonderful -- a tangible link to ancestors you didn't know who have made you you!

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  5. Sometimes the questions are as interesting as the answers.

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  6. I keep waiting for my wealthy aunt to die and leave me some of her money. But wait! I don't have any rich aunts.
    Anyhow, I hope it makes a favorable difference, i.e., is a substantial amount. Enough G doesn't have to worry about a job anymore.

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  7. If an estate kept on going that long it must have been a big one. I guess "Uncle Dan" was a rich man, and a careful planner. Sounds like he wanted his estate to benefit as many descendents as it possibly could.

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  8. That is a twist in life that might not be expected. In the "olden days" rich people wanted to be sure that the estate did get passed down through many generations so that one did not just waste it all or allow it to go to a surviving spouse. My great grandfather protected his estate through one generation. That is the only way my grandmother made it through the depression. The house was in trust and couldn't be mortgaged or sold. The laws got changed a bit when all of the rich folks tried to tie up their estates forever, so it limits how long a trust can continue.

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