My great-uncle Tommy Flanagan was the third Flanagan child, the oldest boy - no doubt bossed around by his two big sisters, but having the benefit of his mother till he was eleven years old.
In 1900, we caught him as an 8-year-old with his mom and dad and brothers and sisters. And then he disappears. Not even a photo remains. All we know is that at the age of 33 he died.
The Death Certificate arrived this week. Cause of death: Delirium tremens. From e-medicine:
From Medline Plus:
It is a hard diagnosis to face -- a decline into oblivion. Perhaps he had gone missing, maybe picked up off the streets and delivered to the overcrowded City Hospital on St. Louis' south side, far from home. Maybe he was sick with tuberculosis or hepatitis. Maybe he didn't get the DTs till he was there for a couple of days drying out, but too sick to leave.
The hospital didn't get much info on Tommy except that he was single and worked as a day laborer - the kind who stands outside of a mill or a factory and hopes someone points to him for work. Maybe that's where he collapsed on a sweltering day in July.
My mother recalls a story Kitty Mom told her. Apparently the hospital had enough information to notify my grandmother about her brother's whereabouts. She was just pregnant with her fourth child. She went to visit him and, in the throes of his misery, he asked for grapes. She left, expecting to return with grapes, but by 6:15 next morning he had passed away.
4.22.05 (revised 12.10.05)