There was this little boy who had an awesome older brother. No, that’s a different story. I’ve told you about all those older brothers. I was the youngest of one family and the oldest of another. There was a time when TV’s came in big boxes and they showed only black and white pictures. Roy Roger’s was on TV and the next show on was my favorite, Sky King. I wanted to live on a ranch and fly planes!
We lived in a small house in a bad area of Wilmington, California. We were 200 feet from highway #1 and just about anything could happen in the alley that ran beside our house. My grandma and grandpa owned the house (I didn’t know it back then) and they lived about 10 miles away. We lived in the big house, two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, and living room. Across the back yard was two little one room houses (cottages?). A really nice old lady lived in one and always gave me pie to eat. The other one housed what would turn out to be life long friends. How they fit the Mom, Dad, and two kids in that little place I will never know. The Mom’s name was Shirley and she was not much taller than I (at five years old). If you look up vertically challenged in the dictionary, I’m sure you will see her picture. I have to give her the credit for making life great no matter what happened in 1960.
You see, one day Mom and Dad took off on a trip. Shirley came over and stayed with me and watched my baby brother while my folks were gone. Mom and Dad were back in a couple days, I remember them saying “Hi Carbine”. I looked up from Sky King for at least 2 seconds and waved. I was real busy petting the dog too.
What I didn’t realize, back then, Mom and Dad were on the way to visit the stork and bring home a present for me. I guess the stork messed up or something? Because of Shirley, the house just got back to normal, like nothing ever happened. I don’t remember anyone ever saying anything? I don’t think there was a funeral or a service of any kind. I must have overheard something along the way and asked questions. I remember Mom telling me that Matson had a full head of red hair. Weighed in at over 11 pounds and almost 24 inches long. His intestines did not fully form. The doc’s tried to put him back together but, it wasn’t meant to be.
Fifty years later the genealogist in me wanted to find out what happened and of course there wasn’t anyone left to tell the stories. I used all my tools. Spent hours pouring over leads. I could not find out anything. Heartbreaking! The genealogist brick wall.
I was planning a trip to southern California last year and thought I would try to find my little brother. After a few hours, NOTHING, again. I looked up all the cemeteries around Wilmington, nothing. Only half have records on line. I got the list and started calling. I am amazed at how helpful people are. Each and every place I called, spent time looking through their records. Some had to take time to research and they would actually call me back. Did God make special people to handle death records? I got to the end of the list and, , , gave up. Then I get a call from a very nice lady. “I am so sorry but, we are unable to locate your brother.” “What was your father’s name?” . . . . . “Yes, we have a contract with him in March 1960, could your brother be named Matthew?” I told her that I thought his middle name might have been Matthew. “This must be your brother then.” I explained that I wanted to visit two days later on my way through the area.
Matson had been named after his grand father Matson, and his grand father Matthew.
Two days later I drive through the gates and park. I went into the office to ask how to find his grave site. “What is your brothers name?” . . . “Oh we talked on the phone. I went out and located you brother first thing this morning.” “We are so glad you were able to visit, I’ll take you out there right now.” (This is above and beyond.) She takes me to this huge area full of little ones that only spent a very short time on earth. Hundreds! She left me there and I noticed that someone had taken the time that morning to make sure that everything was perfectly clean and the grass manicured. (Wow)
My highest recommendation for the All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach California. No way to ever thank them enough.