It’s been mentioned here that my dad doesn’t talk much about his childhood. He answers questions when I ask but doesn’t elaborate beyond the basic answers. It frustrates me because he’s a wealth of information if he’d just open up. He was adopted at a young age but remained in touch with his biological family. That amounts to four families (branches) about which he could fill in research gaps.
The branch I’ve focused on recently is that of my dad’s adopted mother, Minnie Lea “Bebe” STONE Frye. Her father, Arthur Stone, owned a cafe in Amarillo. (He once ran a boarding house, that’s how Bebe met Gordon Frye.) I had birth and death dates for Arthur but nothing else so I did a search at Ancestry.com. I was shocked by what I found and eager to ask dad questions.Our most recent ancestry conversation went something like this:
ME: Did Bebe ever talk about her dad?
DAD: Not really.
ME: Did you know he killed himself?
DAD: I remember them talking about it but I didn’t pay much attention. Her brothers came to visit her a few times and they talked about it then.
Of course, he hadn’t been adopted when Bebe’s father died and the conversations would have been removed from the event. But he knew it was a suicide. How does one fail to mention such a detail? He was surprised that I found the newspaper articles regarding the death and has decided the internet is pretty amazing. *sigh* Click the article image for a larger (more readable) version.
A subsequent article published in the Amarillo Globe, June 3, 1947 states:
“Mr. Stone died Sunday evening ‘from a gunshot wound, purposely self-inflicted,’ according to the verdict made by Justice of Peace Charlie Carrier, acting as coroner.”
When I started my research, I was far removed from the people involved. I never met Bebe and only met Grandpa Gordon when I was a teenager. Arthur Stone was just a name to me. Somehow, the newspaper articles and the information my dad shared made him more real.