Family History

In college, I took a Sociology course where we were given three choices to write about for a term project.  I selected the Three Generational Analysis, where I had to find out about my great grandparents, my grandparents and my parents.  I didn’t learn anything about my father’s grandparents, which were my great grandparents on his side, but I did have stories about his mom and dad and also him and his family.  The best story that I learned about came from my mother’s mother and it was about her father.  My great grandfather lived in Russia, actually it was Belarus, but back in the day that was considered to be Russia.  He worked as a court magistrate being a government official dealing with minor cases that were mostly lawsuits.  This story takes place back around 1880 and it involved a man that was awarded ten thousand rubles because he lost both of his legs while working on the railroad.  It is hard to find a reliable currency converter, but I guess that this would be around 3 years of pay today, so it was a substantial amount.

Things were different for handicapped people back then, as living conditions for persons with disabilities were harsh, as most of them were unable to fend for themselves, so they were left to wander the streets, becoming beggars.  After the guy who lost his legs was given the money, he approached my great grandfather and told him that there was no bank here in this town, but he did have a bank account in the next town over, but he had no way to get there.  My great grandfather traveled to most of the nearby towns, and he happened to be scheduled to go to this same town where this guy’s bank was the very next day.  He felt pity for this unfortunate man, and he told him that he would deposit the money in his account for him.  Empress Catherine II (the Great) decided to introduce the first paper money in Russia, which replaced silver rubles, and it took a long while to catch on because people didn’t trust it at first, but this made large sums easier to carry.

My great grandfather locked the money in his hotel room and went out to have dinner, but when he came back to his room, he found that he was robbed, and this guy’s money was gone.  He felt awful for the handicapped man, so he fenagled some money out of another government account and placed that in the handicapped man’s bank.  He was doing some fancy work with the books, but he finally realized that they were on to him and that is when he absconded the country.  If it weren’t for this incident, I probably wouldn’t be here today.  I don’t look at my great grandfather as being some type of criminal, I see him as a compassionate man that cared about heling the handicapped.

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Abscond.

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