Another Time, Another Place

Once upon a time I was married. The person that I married was very confident and self-important. His entire family took pride in who they were, although they didn’t seem to be anybody very important at all. They took pride in their family name, and they took pride in their happy little family unit, and they took pride in their pride. They scrubbed their faces and their floors and their cars, and everything shone in their pride of self.  It was an interesting concept to me.

My mother-in-law’s parents were a tyrannical little Frenchman named Moselle and a sweet Swedish cookie named Jaderberg (Yah-deh-bear).  My husband explained that his grandfather was from the Moselle region of France.  You know the place, the Moselle valley, the Moselle wine.  Ah, of course, others would smile and agree, oh, yes, of course. 

During and after my divorce, my mother-in-law did something unheard of.  She sided with me.  Not with her own dear eldest blood child, but with me.  She decided that he was wrong, and that I was wronged, and that she would choose not to choose him.  She was my greatest ally, and my champion, and a source of great strength. 

She died in 2006.  My father-in-law has since moved on, and has recently met someone that he adores.  She’s very nice, and I can’t even look at her.  It makes me too sad because I miss my mother-in-law so much.  She died too young.

So I decided that I will make a family tree for her memory on my ancestry.com account.  I found her father, Mr. Moselle, in 1930, and further back in 1920.  Both times he is living in the home of his parents.  In 1930, his father, also Mr. Moselle, claimed that his birthplace was in France and that his mother tongue was French.  But in 1920, something weird happens.  He claims that he was born in Austria, and that his mother tongue was German. 

I finally found this little family in the 1910 census, living as lodgers in a boardinghouse, and now their last name is Mozell, and our head of the household, Mr. Mozell, is from Germany and his mother tongue is German. 

That’s a heck of a long way from the vineyards of France.  And I’m a heck of a long way from Tennessee.  Our lives take such odd twists and turns that no one can predict, and we form alliances where they shouldn’t exist, and when the bad comes, hopefully we get up and go on.  We reshape and reinvent ourselves to make the best of our situations. 

Sleep well, Mozells.

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6 Responses to “Another Time, Another Place”

  1. Leo Says:

    I know a man that prior to WW II was named Wintraub, a fine German name. Suddenly his name became Winthrop, a much more English sounding handle. In WW I Mozell changed to Moselle. I may have did the same, given the same choices. A rose is yet a rose…

    Like

  2. Becky Says:

    Whoa, “throat lump city” this one is! It has breathtakingly resonant implications on many levels – personal, familial, historical, and emotional.

    Like

  3. Kari Says:

    Amen BB

    Like

  4. The Soho South « Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] we went again to the Soho South on Memorial Day.  I noticed the wine list had a Riesling from the Mosel area of Germany.  I’m not much of a wino, but it seemed like the drink to order.  It was a […]

    Like

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