Friday, October 16, 2015

What Happens to a Man when None of the Women in His Life Can Speak to Him?

Carlyle Davis and i were full first cousins,  now realize, although I never really knew him. He existed out there, somewhere, in family stories, but he never came to any of the family reunions and never visited one of his relatives, so far as I know.  I DO know that the man had terrible luck around women.

His mother was Mary McCaskey, already noted here as the puzzling second sister, who seems to have had some sort of intellectual (and perhaps physical) disability. She seldom spoke, and may have had a vocabulary of only a few words. She married a brute of a man (his pictures all show him with a sneer on his face and rolls of fat bursting out of his clothes).

When Carlyle was born, Mary seems not to have understood that he was anything more than a doll to play with. To protect the baby, Sister Lola took him and raised him for several years. Then, when his father saw that he was big enough to be of some use around the farm, he went back to live with his parents.

As a young man, Carlyle married an attractive woman known as Marg ( for Margaret or Marjorie?) and they had a daughter, Esther. When Marg was in her late thirties, she put her hand to her head one eventing and complained of a terrible headache. She stayed on their davenport until Carlyle tried to rouse her at bedtime.  She just kept saying, "No, No," so he threw a blanket over her and left her there. The next day he went to work early in the morning. She was still asleep.  When he returned that evening, she still had not moved, so he got worried and called his daughter, who was away at school.  She came home, took one look at her mother, and called a doctor.  The poor woman had suffered a severe cerebral hemorrhage.  She remained paralyzed for the rest of her life and never spoke another word beyond, "no, ah-no" in response to every question.

And perhaps, understandably, Esther blamed her father for her mother's condition.  She never spoke to him again, even when her own sons were diagnosed with terminal kidney disease -- a genetic defect, the doctors told her.

A sad, lopped-off branch of the McCaskey family tree.

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