Recently while my husband was blowing off our sidewalks, he spotted a gentleman looking over our house from the curb. This is not an uncommon occurrence, since the house, even in its current “need for a redo state”, is quite striking. A conversation was begun that lasted, again not uncommonly, for a while. Chance encounters making connections.
It turns out this man had known Dorothy Elisabeth Steinbuchel Wilson Gouldner in her later years as a neighbor. He was currently reading her book, A Living Gravestone, about the family and the house. We do not have a house number – this would not have been a part of its original decor – so he wanted to ensure he had the right location.
We shared stories and information and told him of the research I was doing to update and even validate the information in the book. The Foundations pillar of this BLOG is devoted primarily to that endeavor along with a place to share progress on the historic restoration when it begins in earnest.
Encounters With New Details
The visitor said Elisabeth was very proud of that book. In addition, he mentioned that Olive Ann Beech’s daughter helped her to get it to publication. Hummmm, a detail I was unaware of before, since there is no mention of this in the book by way of acknowledgment.
I am aware, however, from the book The Barnstormer and the Lady, that Elisabeth’s brother-in-law, Rene Goulnder was Walter Beech’s personal physician. His signature is on Mr. Beech’s death certificate. Thus the probable connection.
As I said, these kinds of meetings are not unusual in our lives. Folks who have had some connection to this house drive by. When we are outside they may approach us for a conversation. Although I recognize the great value of these things, as a planning, task oriented introvert, it is hard for me to stop and “sit a spell”. I would not have done well in Mayberry! My husband, on the other hand, embraces these encounters, so I usually let him hold down the conversation while I wander in and out of the encounter listening and inserting a comment here and there.
Now that I have this space to direct people to, they can become informed. They can also engage in an on-going conversation centered on all things Maison Steinbuchel. I do recognize the value of these meetings. The bits of information that emerge add interest to the story of this property and the families that lived here.
There is another kind of meeting that is emerging as well, the meetings on social media. I am honored that several of the descendants of the Hahn-Stackman-Steinbuchel clan are connected to me there. It’s a joy to see new babies being born, weddings taking place and namesakes continuing on.
The gentleman who stopped by had recently retired and, like me, now has time to tackle the things that a career crowded out. I know my career made this “set aside for later” list necessary, as well. Unfortunately, opportunities were lost to those who have passed on before I could get to them. I try not to live in regret about that and appreciate these chance meetings to fill in the blanks today.
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