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Friday, May 6, 2016

How Susi Came to Give Me Some Family Pictures

12:32 PM (1 minute ago)

The woman we met at Dollar Tree because she came upon  my mother  throwing up in the parking lot was Susi Moldauer. (My mother was throwing up because she needed to take a pill while we were driving and said she couldn't drink our bottled water because it wasn't cold. Taking the pill without water made her sick).

It was a lucky meeting because Susi had some family photos which she sent me. (All our family photos went missing when my parents moved to Florida around 1992. I feel the loss sorely).

Her mother Else Moldauer was a good friend of my grandmother Emmi and my great-aunt Fritzi. I must have met her, but I can't separate her from the other Viennese women speaking a language I did not understand.

Mrs Moldauer was mean, according to my mother. "Her husband committed suicide, but nobody told me" she added. Then the zinger: "And Susi's brother drove off a cliff." All told in a very matter-of-fact tone.

I went to college with Mrs Moldauer's grandson. I didn't really know him. His father must have been the one who died tragically: he was an eminent physicist. 

"One of the creators of statistical theory of nuclear reactors, Prof Peter A Moldauer, died in a tragic traffic accident on January 27, 1984. "

The Moldauer family, like my mother's family, came to the United States from Austria in 1938. Ship manifests are easy enough to find: they came on the Conte de Savoie: Carl Moldauer 37, Else Moldauer 41, Peter Arnold 15, Suse Hermine 4.

Carl's dates: 1901-1972.
Else's dates: 1897-1993.

The web of acquaintance. As a child I thought almost everyone in Boston was from Vienna. 

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