My paternal grandfather’s, AC (his actual name was Atelsimar and has been spelled in many different ways), family often visited him during his institutionalization at Central Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana. Often photos were taken of the visits, such as this one of Papa with two of his nieces. Their father was Papa’s youngest brother, Adam, who not only looked after Papa’s affairs, but ensured Papa knew his family cared and loved him.
Papa had been exposed to chemicals when he worked in Port Arthur, Texas in the 1920s; he was also hit in the head with a butt of a gun. I have also been told he was kicked in the head by a horse. It is unknown what caused Papa’s mental health issues, however these things may have contributed or caused it.
Dad was a few months of being born when things came to a head with Papa which ended up with institutionalization. Uncle Adam would take dad to visit his father… to make sure he knew his father. When dad became an adult he was drafted in the Army during the Korean War and made the Army his career. We were not around much to see Papa as often as I would have liked to have visited with him. When he was released from the institution when he was about seventy-years old, he went into different nursing homes which were closer to home than Pineville.
When we would visit with Papa, we would bring a checker board with us as he loved players checkers. I remember how polite he was saying “yes, mam”, “no sir”, etc. The only time I remember Papa raising his voice was a time when mom told him we are his grandchildren. His response was “you are a fool, woman, I don’t have grandchildren!”. You see, he never realized he has a son and therefore never understand about us being his grandchildren.
About ten years ago after working on my family tree, I became fascinated with knowing more about Papa and his family. I knew his brother Adam and later became close with his sister Virginia. I’ve met most of Papa’s other siblings, however was young or didn’t see them often to have really known them. Thru genealogy research, I’ve learned about his family – his parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I’ve learned a little more about papa’s life before illness.
While Virginia was in a nursing home, I would often pick her up for her to go to church with me. She told me papa remembered them and things before his illness however he was unaware of things after his illness. His mental illness affected him for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, I didn’t know much about the family and regret not having the foresight to ask Aunt Virginia and Uncle Adam more about the family when they were alive.
I did learn thru genealogy research that Papa was the oldest of his five full siblings. He also had three older half brothers – Amos, Amar and Joseph.. Amar, twin of Amos died at a few weeks old. Papa had more (full) siblings who were twins – his brother Noah and twin Henoch. Henoch died at four years of age. And his brother Adam was twin to Eve, the youngest of the siblings. Papa, Aunt Virginia and Uncle Joseph were single births.
Seeing the picture above, plus many of the other photos taken on his siblings visiting with Papa makes my heart feel good.
To Papa in heaven, hope you are still winning at checkers! Hugs and love to you!