People born in the United States after 1960 don’t remember it. Those born in the 1950’s might not remember anyone suffering from an active case of it, but we surely do remember numerous adults who carried the life-long signs of having survived it.
When the United States entered the Great War on April 6, 1917, the countries of Europe had already been fighting for four long years. By the summer of 1918, the US had drafted 2.8 million men and was sending 10,000 soldiers to France every day. The human toll of the war would be tremendous and would not be limited to those killed, but would also include the multitude of wounded and traumatized, as well as those who would suffer long-term health issues, like the ones that would plague my uncle George Harris for the rest of his life.
Although the Great War only lasted 14 months for George Lindel Harris, his experiences in France would have a profound influence on the rest of his life. Read about his early years in Part 1.
George and Dorothy Taeuffer Harris started their married life in October 1922. After their marriage at the John and Mae Taeuffer home on Magnolia Drive in Healdsburg, California, they set up housekeeping in an apartment on Octavia Street in San Francisco. There they would be located near George’s parents in Berkeley and his siblings in Alameda and Oakland.
In the midst of the Great Depression the city of San Francisco transformed a shallow, useless sandbar two miles out in the bay into a man-made island and then built a beautiful glittering fairyland on top of it. But the story of the 1939 World’s Fair actually begins seventy years before the exhibition opened.
In October 1966 I turned eight years old and was attending Mrs. Naber’s third grade class at Healdsburg Elementary School. That December I came down with yet another case of what my mother affectionately referred to as “the flu bug.” I seemed to catch every virus that passed through town and would typically miss one or two weeks of school a couple of times each year. My mother had developed a procedure to ensure that I did not lag behind in my school work. She would visit my classroom every few days to pick up my assignments, bring them home for me to complete, and then return them to my teacher to be graded. Since I was going to have to do the work anyway, there would be no benefit in malingering to extend my time away from school, so I was usually back up and around in a week or ten days. But this time my flu bug wasn’t clearing up.
My great great grandparents, John E. Congleton and Almira Almy had a large family. But like most families in the 19th century, not all of their eleven children would make it to adulthood. Learning where each of them had been born allowed me to trace the meandering migration path they took across America which finally lead them to settle in California.
My father’s family has been in the United States for several generations and in some cases since before there was a United States. Both sides of his family arrived in Sonoma County, California fairly early on in the local history. His mother’s side of his line arrived in the 1850s, while his father’s side arrived in the 1870s.
The Taeuffer line goes back several generations in the Region of Alsace, Department of Bas-Rhin in France. Or sometimes in Germany. It all depended upon which country happened to have possession of the region at the time. The patriarch from each generation of the family going back at least 250 years has served as Mayor of the small town of Frohmuhl. Or sometimes they were Burgermeister, if Germany happened to be in charge.