My family was in an auto accident this week. By God’s grace we all walked away from our totaled van a little shook up but otherwise fine. I am thankful for seat-belts and the airbags of modern vehicles. But I thought this might be a good week to write about my great grandpa Gotcher.
No one in my family ever knew much about my grandpa Leo’s father, or the rest of his family for that matter. Through my research I have found several bits of information that explains alot about my grandpa. His father, Charles Gotcher was a cement worker in Omaha in 1925. Grandpa Leo was seven years old and the fifth boy in a family of six; he had a younger sister. On the evening of August 16, 1925 Charles was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his neighbor and the car hit a viaduct pier. The driver was cut and bruised but otherwise okay. Charles died in the hospital from a fractured skull. (source: Omaha Obit and Death Certificate) What I find really ironic about this cause of death is that Charles’ father, Daniel Gotcher died seven years earlier of a fractured skull in a steel railway accident.
Times were hard and for a widow with six children it was even harder. Leo’s mother quickly remarried and continued having children. During the depression, the older boys moved out and worked for neighbors and Leo went into the Civilian Conservation Corp. His stepfather died and his mother remarried again taking only the girl and her 3 younger children from her second husband to live with her in her new marriage, in Missouri. The brothers moved around, several moved to the Northwest U.S. So Leo was on his own.
I try to imagine how Leo felt as a seven year old boy when he found out his father had been killed in an auto accident. Did he understand that his father was gone? What was his relationship like with his father? He never talked about his dad, did he have any memories of him? I look at my children and try to imagine what they would remember about me if I was suddenly gone? And I treasure every moment I have with them.