“My grandfather lied to my grandmother. I guess it runs in the family.*
But I never got married while I still had a family. That’s what I’m talking about. He lied about being married at the time he married the only grandmother I ever knew
He had a wife in another country, from what I heard from my cousins back on the farm. They told me what their parents told them about the story of my biological grandfather named Westergom. He was a Hungarian who lived in my grandmother’s house when her first husband died. He may have come from a town called “Westercom” in Hungary, by the way.
Westergom had rented a room at my grandmother’s house in Mays Landing, New Jersey. He eventually became close with Grandma Hagel. That was her first married name. (It was her last married name too, but I’m getting ahead of myself.)
Westergom married Anne Hagel and helped to raise four children. He also fathered four other kids before he was eventually found out.
You see, he had another family in Canada. I don’t know how his American family found out, but he was forced out of the farmhouse where eight kids lived. New Jersey police then arrested him when he tried to get back in. Some say he threatened my Aunt Betty — one of his biological kids — with a rifle before he was knocked to the ground by my Uncle Ferdinand and carted off to Trenton where he remained imprisoned until the day he died
No, I never did anything like that.
But, I lost my first wedding ring while in Vietnam.
I misplaced the second one more recently when I had to remove it (for the first time) to have an X-ray of my arthritic left hand. I appeared single for who knows how long and even found it much easier to flirt with the ladies who would often glance at my hand to see if it was safe to return a smile I planted in their lovely pathway.
Yes, I admit. I got an eye for women. I love ‘em all, but will never take on another wife so help me god, Grandma. One bigamist in the family is enough!
(Peter Hagel, the brother of the first Hagel, a John, married his brother’s widow after learning she was single again. When asked why he would marry someone with eight children, he told my cousin Rosemary that he would have lots of kids to look after him in his old age. (He did!) He was a real life hobo, having ridden the rails and prospected for gold in Alaska after he was shanghaied in San Francisco before the Quake of ’06. I never wanted to live a life like his because I believed that one tramp in the family was also enough!)
[*Prompt provided by Collegeville “Just Write” on using the first sentence above.)
(For another look at my hobo grandfather, please see: Grandma’s hobo husband)