Almost a Certainty
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Nancy Belle. I am a reader. Books have been my safe haven for a great part of my life. My children all marveled at my ability to shut everything out and escape the turmoil around me, just by picking up a book. Much of what I know about this world is from the written word. My education is much greater than what is shown on paper, simply because I can and love to read. Having come to my senior years I have stories to tell and opinions to share, hopefully for your pleasure or enlightenment. Yet, perhaps some may not be in agreement or find my stories boorish, that's alright, too. Here's to my exploring and finding my way, with words!

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Almost a Certainty

William Merritt Scotton, Sr. and Genevieve (Clark) Scotton, were married Wednesday, August 24, 1938 in St. Joseph, MO. She was a few months from 18 years and he was a couple of months into 21 years. They met by chance because he and Dorothy Castile were cousins and Genevieve and Dorothy were best friends. Merritt and Genevieve didn’t waste any time and married shortly after meeting.

Their first adventure as a married couple was a box car honeymoon. They rode the rails illegally, hob knobbing with the Hobos, making a loaf of bread and a can of pork and beans, heated in the can over a small fire, their first supper together. They were headed to Billings, Montana, where the rest of Merritt’s family lived. Merritt’s father Samuel, who worked for the railroad and his mother Lucinda, along with his older brother David E. with his wife Myrtle Mae and children Angela 7, Guadalupe 5, David Jr. 2, Everett a newborn, making this home already a houseful. They all resided at 213 S. 26th St. a fairly new home, only just built in 1930. They rented for eleven dollars a month and had lived there since, at least, 1935 according to census records of 1940.

Merritt and Genevieve were warmly welcomed and Genevieve was immediately in love with the children, especially the two youngest boys, David Jr. and Everett. They didn’t stay very long as, according to Genevieve, they were very transient and worked at a chicken ranch in Wyoming for a bit, Merritt worked also at hunting, fishing and trapping, more pleasure than work for him. Merritt had an uncle in the Tacoma area of Washington State, they spent time there and in California, somewhere near Los Angeles, Genevieve had a sister there, Mary, who married in 1937 and had a son in 1938. Eventually they ended up back in Billings, living at 2617 2nd Ave South, for a spell in 1940. Somehow they managed to escape the 1940 census, but were caught up in the Billings directory, which shows Merritt as a laborer. Genevieve and Merritt had no children during this time.

Sunday, December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor, Day of Infamy, Merritt had enlisted in the Army at Laurel, Montana Friday, October 2, 1936.He was twenty years old. However, shortly afterwards he went AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and returned only after the Japanese attacked Hawaii. According to his Army records he was away 1713 days. That translates into about 4 years and nine months and has him turning himself in around mid summer 1942. He was sent to Camp Hood, Texas. Genevieve followed him there and stayed a short while, before returning to St. Joseph, MO, where her mother and father lived as did several sisters and brothers. Something was different at Camp Hood, as after many years of being barren, Genevieve was pregnant for the first time. This child, William Merritt Scotton Jr. aka Little Merritt, was born Sunday, May 28, 1943 at the home of Bessie Clark (Genevieve’s mother) on the kitchen table. A tiny, little one, at around five pounds. Earlier that same month Genevieve’s younger sister Esther had her first son John Frank Goldizen, a bonding experience that would last the rest of their lives.

Little Merritt was a golden child, much-loved by Genevieve and her family and greatly cherished as well by Merritt’s parents. Genevieve moved in with Samuel and Lucinda sometime after the Little Merritt’s first birthday. Most likely after Merritt shipped out to the European Arena on Friday, August 11, 1944. For reasons unknown, Samuel became disenchanted with Genevieve, but adored his new young grandson. Samuel was retired from the railroad now, spending days at home and getting much attached to Little Merritt. One day Genevieve overheard Samuel talking to the young toddler, saying “your mother doesn’t deserve you and we are going keep you with us”, or something to that effect. Genevieve, usually not one to argue or confront, did so on this occasion and quickly made arrangements to go back to St. Joseph, MO with her own family. This was just a few months before November of 1944. Tuesday, November 14, 1944 Samuel was found dead of a heart attack sitting on a bench at Casey’s Golden Pheasant. One of his local haunts in Billings.

This caused a rift between Merritt and Genevieve, not the first, but the worst, to date. Merritt blamed Genevieve for his father’s death, because her moving back to St. Joseph with the baby had broken his Father’s heart. Genevieve spent the rest of her time waiting for Merritt to come home in St. Joseph, MO. Merritt remained in the Tank Destroyers unit 804 ETO until Monday, July 16, 1945 when he returned to Fort Hood and was fully dismissed from service on Friday, October 19, 1945. Returning to St. Joe, MO to file his discharge papers.

There isn’t any information from Merritt’s side of the family, however, there is from Genevieve’s. It wasn’t long after returning home, that Merritt and Genevieve were arguing. It went beyond arguing into a physical altercation that put Genevieve in the hospital. Merritt apparently had come to the opinion that Genevieve had not been faithful to him and that Little Merritt was probably not even his child. Whether this came from Merritt’s father or not, is unclear, but very well could have and most likely had festered for nearly a year. Genevieve’s sister Esther said that the entire family was in disbelief, dismayed and angry when Genevieve returned to Merritt’s side. Esther also offered that many of the men, who returned from that war, didn’t return fully intact, be it physically, emotionally or mentally. Others of the family were not as kind as Esther and found no grounds to forgive Merritt Sr.

Merritt and Genevieve, very soon returned to Montana. Merritt took on trucking and labor jobs in the heating and plumbing industry. Years passed, no other children were born after Merritt’s return from war. Young Merritt was growing tall and smart. Often Genevieve would talk about Little Merritt and say that he would be sent to the store at the age of three and bring home everything he was sent to fetch and the correct change, to boot. It has been said that even at the young age of three, he could carry on a very intelligent conversation with any adult. The makings of a young genius and the delight of his parent’s eye along with his grandmother Lucinda and many other friends and relatives. He, like his father, enjoyed fishing and caught his first fish, a trout, from the Yellowstone River at the age of three. Learning to love the great outdoors at a very young age. The song below was one Genevieve came to love later. It reminded her so much of her son Little Merritt.

Bimbo by George O’Dell 1948 (49)

Sung Originally by Gene Autry ‘The Singing Cowboy’ and later adapted by Jim Reeves.

Bimbo, Bimbo, where ya gonna go-e-o
Bimbo, Bimbo, whatcha gonna do-e-o
Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mommy know
That you’re goin’ down the road to see a little girleo.

Bimbo’s got two big blue eyes that light up like a star,
And the way to light them up is to buy him candy bars.
Crackerjacks and bubblegum will start his day off right,
All the girlies follow him just a-beggin’ him for a bite.
Bimbo, Bimbo, candy on your face-e-o,
Bimbo, Bimbo, chewin’ on your gum-e-o.
Bimbo, Bimbo, when you gonna grow
Everybody loves you, little baby Bimbo.

You never catch him sittin’ still, he’s just the rovin’ kind,
Altho’ he’s just a little boy, he’s got a grown-up mind.
He’s always got a shaggy dog a-pullin’ at his clothes,
And everybody calls to him as down the street he goes.
Bimbo, Bimbo, where ya gonna go-e-o
Bimbo, Bimbo, whatcha gonna do-e-o
Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mommy know
That you’re goin’ down the road to see a little girl-e-o

About late ’47’ and into ’48’, Merritt Sr. was experiencing some medical problems. He suffered from bleeding ulcers and extreme back pain. Genevieve went to work, away from home, to make ends meet, as these problems were keeping Merritt off the job, often. She took on house cleaning jobs and Merritt watched Young Merritt when she was working or sometimes Grandma Lucinda would or some nearby friends, the parents of Elda Mae Shrum a nice little playmate of Young Merritt, would watch him.

Tuesday, February 17, 1948 was a banner day, a record-breaking 63 degrees Fahrenheit day for Billings, MT. Folks were out and about enjoying this rare day, but keeping an eye on the Yellowstone River. It wasn’t just warm in the lowlands; it was warm in the Rockies as well. Snow was melting and causing the river to swiftly rush with icy cold waters full of ice floes and hinged in with treacherous ice shelves at its banks, the water slowly creeping up to flood stage, some feared. Many were keeping an eye on the river. Along with folks in Billings feeling edgy about the river flooding, there were others further away, experiencing feelings of dread; Grandma Bessie Clark in St. Joseph, Missouri recalled a feeling of doom, all day long. The wash tubs were banging on the porch wall and there was no wind. The rocker was rocking by itself and ‘By Golly’ she just couldn’t shake the feeling of something bad is gonna happen. Merritt Sr.’s Aunt Pearl Scotton Perrigo in St. Joseph, MO, also known to have predictive dreams, visions and in general ESP, was finding it difficult to clamp down on what was trying to be revealed to her and spent several days in extreme unease.

On this day, town folks weren’t thinking about much else other than possible flooding, Spring and how strangely warm it was. Some and many of the rest of the USA and globally were concerned about Atomic Energy. Was it a good thing or just a very dangerous and deadly weapon? There was no ‘Cold War’ yet, but there was concern about Stalin and Stalin’s growing Russian threat to the world. They were perhaps wondering about what was going on in the Middle East as the new Jewish State of Israel had just been established with no great fanfare from the Arabs. On this day in Billings, MT, no one was expecting a nightmare to begin in broad daylight, no one was expecting the horror of every parent to be a reality, for one unlucky set of parents and the heartbreak of many more directly involved, one way or another. On this day, Genevieve had to work and left Little Merritt with his father. Merritt Sr. had a doctor’s appointment and left young Merritt with the Shrums at around 3:25pm, by his recollection. Mrs. Shrum claimed she let the children, her daughter Elda and Merritt Jr. play outside; it was 60 degrees, after all! Her recollections put it around 3:15 that she last saw the children, together. That would have been fifteen minutes before her own daughter was flagging down a stranger and telling him a “little boy fell in the river”. The river that was perhaps a half mile from her and Little Merritt’s respective homes. Although many were watching the river, they failed to notice two very small children playing dangerously close to its banks. How did these children manage to travel the approximate four blocks, much was just pasture, in fifteen minutes? Genevieve would ask these questions, over and over for the rest of her life.

Such a beautiful, yet ordinary day very quickly fell into the pits of hell. Genevieve came home shortly after Merritt left for the doctor and was met by Mrs. Shrum who informed her that Merritt Jr. was missing. James Pellows with whom little Elda implored for help had called the Sheriff who immediately set up a search party for Merritt Jr. The searchers had early on found the boys tracks leading out about fifty feet, on an ice shelf and a stick laying in the ice, the girl said he had used, playing in the water. These searchers did not let that keep them from continuing the hunt, even though it had already been said among them, “it’s almost a certainty, he had plunged into the river”, as in keeping with the events and feelings, the weather began chilling down, still, many continued searching till 11 o’clock that very night. Merritt Sr. having returned from his doctor’s appointment was informed by Genevieve that Little Merritt was missing. He then joined the other searchers, hoping to find his son.

Wednesday February 18, 1948, Billings awoke to this tragedy being played out in the lowlands South of town. All of Billings was shaken to its core and though most felt it “almost a certainty”, the boy was lost, they prayed and held out hope and volunteered to search.

From the Billings Gazette, Billings, Montana Page 1, Wednesday, February 18, 1948
Search for a 4-year-old Billings boy, feared drowned in the ice packed, swift flowing waters of the Yellowstone River, was halted for the night at about 11pm Tuesday (February 17, 1948), when Sheriff Albert Thomas ordered weary workers to end the hunt, until daylight Wednesday. The Sheriff said the boy; Merritt Scotton, Jr. disappeared from his home at 415 South Twenty-Fourth Street about 3:30pm Tuesday and was last seen in the vicinity of the river near Steiner’s Dairy, south of Billings. Search along the river was launched, Thomas said when 3-year old playmate of the boy, Elda Mae Shrum, 306 South Twenty-Fifth Street, approached James Pellow, 115 South Twenty-Fourth Street who also was in the vicinity of the stream and told him, “A little boy fell in the river”. Thomas said searchers had followed the boy’s tracks onto the ice lining the river banks. He reported the ice lined banks and the swiftness of the stream flowing in the open channel at an estimated 10 to 15 miles per hour was hampering the search for the boy. The father of the boy, Merritt Scotton, Sr. held slender hopes Tuesday night that his son would be found alive. He said the boy was “very fond of horses and cows” and sometimes went to nearby ranches on the south edge of Billings to see the animals, but never was known to go as far as the river banks. Scotton said he last saw his son playing near his home about 3:25pm Tuesday when Scotton left the house to go to a Physician’s office. Later, he said, his wife informed him the boy was missing. Starting at about 7am Wednesday, an augmented search crew, composed of Patrolman Dewey Brey of the City Police Force, Charles Bury and Tex Collier of the Sheriff’s office, John Edwards and Charles Poccl, Billings sportsmen, will renew the search. Sheriff Thomas said late Tuesday night. The Sheriff said special grappling equipment had been obtained to aid in the search Wednesday.

Unlike the day before, Wednesday was not a banner day; the weather was deteriorating rapidly with a high of 57 degrees Fahrenheit early in the day and falling quickly to 9 degrees by end of day. Wind chills were worse with wind speeds of 20 to 37 mph, making it feel like -7 degrees and then it began to rain. People who made Montana their home were used to this and were probably tougher than many in the rest of the country; it didn’t stop them from doing their best to find the youngster.

Young Merritt’s parents, grandmother and other family along with friends and neighbors are devastated and have to face that the child will not be found alive. That hope is lost; the waters of the Yellowstone River have continued to rise. Temperatures continue to fall, 16 degrees high for the day and 1 degree for the low. Humidity is 88% and it’s snowing by noon. Searchers continue to brave these elements in the hope that the child’s body can be recovered.

From Billings Gazette, Pages 1 and 4; Thursday February 19, 1948
A Sheriff’s search party abandoned hope Wednesday night, that a 5 year old Billings boy believed drowned in the icy, swift waters of the Yellowstone River Tuesday, would be found alive, but planned to renew the hunt at daylight Thursday. The boy Merritt Scotton, Jr. disappeared from his parent’s home at 415 South Twenty-Fourth Street, at about 3:30pm Tuesday. He was reported last seen in the vicinity of the river near Steiner’s Dairy south of Billings. Hopes that he would be found alive ended Wednesday after a concerted search had failed to yield a trace of the youngster. Sheriff Albert Thomas directing the search said searchers abandoned the hope at nightfall Wednesday after patrolling and probing the ice laden and swift flowing river waters as far east as Huntley. The search he said would be renewed at daylight Thursday. The Sheriff said rising river waters, huge ice floes riding the swift current and shelf ice along the river banks, made the search a hazardous and almost hopeless undertaking. Thomas reported the river level rose four inches since the search started Tuesday. Sheriff Thomas said a search along the ice lined banks of the river was launched immediately Tuesday after a 3-year old playmate of the boy, Edna Mae Shrum, 306 South Twenty-Fifth Street, first reported young Scotton missing. The girl, Thomas said, ran to James Pellow, 115 South Twenty-Fourth Street, who was also in the vicinity of the stream and told him, “A little boy went in the river”. A Sheriff’s search crew hunted along the banks of the ice packed river until late Tuesday night and then resumed the hunt at daylight Wednesday. The search party was augmented Wednesday by Patrolman Dewey Brey of the City Police Force, Charles Bury and J.E. ‘Tex’ Collier of Sheriff’s office and John Edwards and Charles Poccl, Billings sportsmen. The father of the missing boy, Merritt Scotton, Sr., also has been with the search party since his son disappeared. Two boats and special grappling equipment was being used to aid in the river search Wednesday, the Sheriff said. Sheriff Thomas said searchers Tuesday had followed the boy’s tracks onto shelf ice lining the river banks and that it appeared almost a certainty that the youngster had plunged into the icy waters. He reported the ice lined banks and the swiftness of the stream flowing in the open channel at an estimated 10 to 15 miles an hour was hampering the search for the boy. The boy is Mr. and Mrs. Scotton’s only child.

Thursday February 19, 1948, This day brought renewed efforts by the searchers to find the body of this young child. Dynamite charges to the ice shelves and boats with grappling equipment to make every effort to retrieve what the river has claimed. Imagine what the parents of young Merritt were thinking when the Sheriff tells them they have resorted to blasting the ice. What parent wouldn’t think that perhaps they would be blasting their son apart and not breaking him free? Thursday ends with no results, but plans to continue searching at daylight the next day.

Billings Gazette Friday February 20, 1948 page 8
Ice Shelf Blasted Along River Banks
Search for a 4-year old Billings boy missing since Tuesday when he is believed to have drowned in the Yellowstone River, ended on the third day without results Thursday. The boy, Merritt Scotton, Jr. last seen in vicinity of the river near Steiner’s Dairy, left his parents home at 415 South Twenty-Fourth Street about 3:30pm Tuesday. Sheriff Albert Thomas directing the hunt along the river east of Billings said the search has yielded no trace of the youngster. The Sheriff said rising waters, large ice floes riding the swift current and shelf ice along the banks made the search a hazardous and almost hopeless undertaking. The river level was up more than four inches since search for the boy started, Thomas said. The Sheriff said searchers Thursday, set several dynamite charges to blast shelf ice on the river banks South of the Steiner Dairy at the point where the boy is believed to have plunged into the icy stream. It was hoped, Thomas said, the blasts would dislodge the body and cause it to float downstream. Searchers will comb the river islands downstream Friday in the event the body is washed aground the Sheriff stated. Thomas said high water and the swift current were hampering the search efforts. The sheriff’s search crew, using two boats and special grappling equipment has worked the river as far as east as Huntley. The crew hunted along the ice packed river until late Tuesday night and throughout Wednesday, then resumed the search at daylight Thursday. The boy, only child of Mr. and Mrs. Merritt Scotton, Sr. first was reported missing by a playmate 3-year old Elda Mae Shrum, of 306 South Twenty-Fifth Street. Scotton told officers his son liked “horses and cows” and sometimes went to ranches on the south edge of Billings to admire the farm animals.

Friday, February 20, 1948 waters have now risen to flood stage in the raging Yellowstone River. Yet searchers patrolled the swift current to as far North and East as Huntley. Exploring the many river islands that are also ice packed. A tad bit warmer than the day before with a high of 30 degrees and a low of 10 degrees. Yet there is snow for the better part of the day and the river is treacherously high at flood stage. These brave men still made the effort and only by order of the Sheriff abandoned the search. Merritt Sr. has also been a part of the search from the start and had stated early on that he had no hope of finding his only child alive and at this date, stated that he had no hope of finding young Merritt and that everyone had done all they could.

From the Billings Gazette, Saturday, Feb 21 1948; Billings, Montana
With waters rising to flood stage in the ice-choked Yellowstone River, a sheriff directed search for 4-year-old Merritt Scotton Jr. of Billings, believed drowned Tuesday in the stream south of the city, was abandoned Friday night. Sheriff Albert Thomas reported that searchers, wearied after four days of patrolling the ice-lined river banks and combing islands in the Yellowstone channel east of Billings, were forced to abandon the hunt without finding a trace of the missing youngster. River islands were searched Friday on a chance the body may have washed aground, the sheriff reported. The sheriff said searchers Thursday set dynamite charges to blast shelf ice on the river banks near the Steiner dairy south of Billings at a point where the boy is believed to have plunged into the swift ice-packed waters. It was hoped, Thomas said, the blasts would dislodge the body and cause it to float downstream. He added that the river is rip-capped at that point with discarded automobile bodies. High water and ice floes in the swift current hampered efforts of searchers since the hunt was launched Tuesday. The only evidence searchers found that the boy drowned in the river, Thomas said, were tracks leading to a 50 foot ice shelf and a stick which the tot was believed to be using to play in the water at the edge of the open channel. The stick was found at the brink of the shelf ice. A three-year old playmate of the boy, Elda Mae Schrum, 306 South Twenty-Fifth Street, told officers she was with young Scotton at the time and that he was lowering the stick into the stream when he suddenly toppled into the stream. Frightened, she ran from the scene and met James Pellow, 115 South Twenty-Fourth Street, who was in the vicinity, and informed him of the tragedy. The boy, only child of Mr. and Mrs. Merritt Scotton Sr., 415 South Twenty-fourth Street, disappeared from his home about 3:30 pm Tuesday and was last reported seen in the vicinity of the river. Scotton, who has been with officers since the search was started, said Friday night, “every possible effort” had been made to find his son, whom he has given up as dead.

Saturday, February 21, 1948, with the very real danger of searchers also becoming casualties, the Sheriff had to make the tough decision to halt all search activities. The Yellowstone River was in flood stage and chances of finding young Scotton were slim to none. Whether it was at this time or shortly after it was discovered that Genevieve was once again with child. She has said she cried through the whole pregnancy and probably marked the child, by doing so. This day though, was the beginning of living without even any semblance of closure. No comfort would be found for the parents of Merritt Scotton Jr. The start of living without their young son.

Sunday, May 16, 1948, just one day short of three months later, Little Merritt is miraculously found, just a couple of miles northeast of where he had disappeared. The Yellowstone had relented and mercifully gave up her hold on the small body. Mr. R. I. Kinsey was the person who discovered the sad remains and reported so to the authorities. Little Merritt was removed from the cold waters and brought back into the family fold, only to be buried in short order. Genevieve was not allowed to see her young son; she was pregnant and had remained distraught the three months after the loss of her son. Even her request to have the clothes he had worn returned was denied. Merritt and everyone else thought seeing the child’s body in its current condition would be more than enough to put her over the edge and endanger the current pregnancy as well.

From the Billings Gazette, Monday, 17 May 1948 page 1
The body of a 4 year old Billings child missing since Feb 17, was discovered floating in an eddy of the Yellowstone river east of Billings Sunday afternoon by a resident of the area R.I. Kinsey of 3043 Lockwood Flats informed Yellowstone County Sheriffs office that he had sighted the body of Merritt Scotton Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Merritt Scotton, Sr. of 415 South Twenty-fourth Street, floating in a river eddy near his home. The portion of the river in which the body was found is located five miles east of the bridge across the Yellowstone River east of Billings. The child was the object of a long and hard search by county officers and residents for several days following his disappearance at about 3:20pm February 17. Deputies under the direction of Sheriff Albert Thomas probed holes and eddies of the ice-packed river until rising water and winter weather forced them to abandon their search. The body was recovered from the river Sunday by deputies and County Coroner Howard C. Smith

Tuesday, May 18, 1948, Three months nearly to the day, only ten days from his fifth birthday, Little Merritt is laid to rest at the Mountview Cemetery in Billings, Montana. Called Committal Rites were performed at graveside. Any record of who was in attendance are either not recorded or lost to time. It can be surmised that all family in Billings were there to support Merritt and Genevieve in their loss. Grandma Lucinda, Uncles David and George and perhaps all who had searched and those who were directly involved in the horrible events on that tragic day in February three months earlier. The weather was a compliment to the somber event and it rained with intermittent thunder showers throughout the day. Most likely the only minor positive in this moment, would be, knowing, having the closure and comfort of knowing and the cancellation of wondering forever more.

Taken from the Billings Gazette Tuesday, May 18 1948 Page 3
Smith Funeral Home
SCOTTON – A committal service for William Merritt Scotton Jr. son of Mr. and Mrs. W.M. Scotton will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at Mountview Cemetery.

Billings Gazette Wednesday, May 19, 1948 page 2
Committal Rites Set for Drowning Victim
Committal services will be conducted by the Salvation Army Tuesday at 2PM at Mountview Cemetery for Merritt Scotton, Jr. 4 son of Mr. and Mrs. Merritt Scotton, Sr. of 415 South Twenty-fourth Street. The body was found Sunday afternoon in an eddy of the Yellowstone River east of Billings. The child had been missing since February 17 when he was last reported playing near the river bank.

Billings Gazette Wednesday, May 19, 1948 page eleven
Graveside Committal Services Conducted
Committal services in Mountview Cemetery were conducted Tuesday afternoon for William Merritt Scotton, Jr., 4-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. W.M. Scotton of 416 South Twenty-fourth Street, who drowned Tuesday February 17th in the Yellowstone River. The service was conducted by Major A. E. Austin of the Salvation Army. The boy is survived by his parents, paternal grandmother and maternal grandparents.

There really is no end to the story. Genevieve suffered this loss for the remainder of her days and that was many, many days, as she lived to nearly 85 years. Her daughter born just a few months after burying her son would always wonder and imagine what her big brother would have been like. Even the birth of another daughter, born just 16 months after the first, would not ease the pain of her loss. Genevieve after being barren for many years, Genevieve who thought perhaps Little Merritt would be her only child, would go on to have eight more children. She loved each and everyone, yet was somehow unable to find that same kind of love she had for Little Merritt. She had become a worrier, more fearful, always trying to make sure that anything that horrible would not happen to these children. Other events in her life caused her to become these other children’s only parent and so, more worries and fears were added to her life. She had always had the ability to find the good in anyone and any situation and that didn’t change, but she held the thoughts of her son ‘Little Merritt’ close to her heart to her dying day and hoped that she and he would be reunited in Heaven. Her grief is over. Yet, as impossible as it may seem, the grief has been handed down to her other children. They all try to deal with the loss of never knowing him in their own fashion. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Little Merritt’s death, he would have been 75 years old this year May 28th.

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