Two final blows came to the young Paul Kaser as he made the abrupt transition from carefree youth to independent adult.
September 1926,If you have read the two previous stories about a letter and a life-shifting death in the family, you know that at 17, Paul left Millersburg Ohio to start college in Washington D.C.
October-November 1926. But shortly after school started, he was called home because his mother died. His father decreed that he could not go back to school.
April 1927. Therefore at 18 he was home, when his younger brother, Milton Kaser, got pneumonia and ultimately died. Not only was this a blow because he loved his younger brother, but now he had to live alone with his father. But that was not to last long.
December 1927. Cliff Kaser, Paul’s father, married Mildred Jameson Dailey in Millersburg and they set off on a trip to Florida. I did not know her name until I found this marriage license.
The way my father told it, the woman his father married just wanted to go to Florida, so she married Cliff on the promise that he would take her there. Within a week, Cliff was back in Millersburg–without Mildred.
I have not dug deeply enough to find a divorce record, but their is a mystery hiding in this story. I know from the records that Mildred continued to call herself Mildred Daily on census reports, and all official papers. And when Clifford Kaser died, the death record listed Mame Kaser as his wife, and he shares a burial plot with his first wife, also. They both apparently wanted to forget that day in December 1927 when they were officially married.
That is the problem with family stories. You only hear one side. And the essence of a story is that there must be a conflict between a “bad guy” and a “good guy.” Now, maybe my Dad’s recollection is true and Mildred just wanted to get out of town. Maybe unemotional and strictly religious Cliff didn’t turn out to be the man of her dreams and she bailed. But maybe Cliff deserted Mildred down there in Florida in a fit of pique.
Maybe they were just two lonely widowers looking for company when they married. Cliff’s wife had died a few months earlier and Mildred’s husband had died at the end of 1925. Find a grave says that the cause of his death was “alcoholism.” If that is true, it could lead to all kinds of twists to the story. But I don’t know.
All I have to go on are my father’s admittedly biased report, and some official documents.
At any rate–his father’s marriage and the brief trip to Florida disrupted my father’s life once more. At 19 he was thrown on his own, expected to find a way to make a living.
End of 1929-January 1930. Toward the end of 1929, back in Millersburg, and once again working on building duct work for furnaces, Clifford Kaser began to feel bad. He had a hernia and went to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Mt. Vernon Ohio for treatment and surgery. His death certificate graphically describes the cause and contributing factors in his death. Too graphically, for me to add here. As my father said, he died of complications from an operation that today would be totally routine. (Ironically, my father also died of complications of an operation).
January 13, 1930. Paul Kaser officially becomes an orphan when his father dies. Paul is now approaching his 22nd birthday. For more about his rootless life during the early years of the Great Depression see “Paul Kaser: No Permanent Residence.“