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Thursday, September 18, 2008

I found him

I found my grandfather.

Milton Blair Cash, Sr., 50, of 702 Summit Street, died at a local hospital yesterday afternoon from self-inflicted bullet wounds.

Death came 26 hours after the prominent manufacturers' agent shot himself twice at the downtown Twin City Club on Wednesday morning.

- The Winston-Salem Journal
August 2, 1946

You have to understand that he was rarely spoken of in my family. We knew one word - suicide - and even that was only said in whispers when my father wasn't in the room. Otherwise, it was as if my grandfather had been erased. I had no grandfather who had no grave.

We filled in what we believed to be the details using our imaginations and perceived overheard remarks. As the youngest cousin, I was the last recipient of the older cousins' hand-me-down non-truths, magnified and distorted, like a horrible game of Telephone.

Rarely would my father mention him. Once a few years ago when we were driving downtown, my father gestured out the passenger window at a building and said, "That's where he did it." He didn't say who "he" was or what "it" was, and he didn't have to. I knew not to ask for more information.

I've been slowly and quietly unraveling the tale. There's still more that I don't know than do know, but at least now I have an ending place. Salem Cemetery, just where I hoped.
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