Forgotten Sorrows

These pictures are from a March 28, 1956 New York Journal-American article titled Mysteries of the Mind. The caption for this picture to the left reads:

VICTIM … Here is a portrait of Irene Lee, 6, who dreamed that she was being run down by a truck. Several days later the child was struck and killed.

Next to that picture was this one of her parents.

This caption reads:

PARENTS BLAMED FATE … Mr. and Mrs. Earl Lee of Miami, kneel beside the grave of their daughter, Irene, 6, who was the victim of an auto accident in November, 1938.

And that’s it. There’s isn’t another word about Irene or her family. It isn’t clear if the picture of her parents is from 1938 or 1956. They’re probably long gone. I wonder if they had any other children.

Another child is mentioned in the article, Ilga Kirps, “a 12-year-old shepherdess, who lived with her mother and young brother and sister in Ilzene, Latvia, in the 1930’s … A feeble-minded child, she was unable to read a book, but was supposed to be able to read other people’s minds. So fantastic were her telepathic powers, that Prof. Ferdinand von Neureiter, noted European psychologist, put her through stiff tests, which, he decided, eliminated all possibilities of fraud.”

I don’t know why I even mention any of this. A child has a bad dream, is tragically killed, and for the rest of their lives her parents somehow think destiny was against them. Or the Journal-American exaggerated.

I was just talking about this today, though. Losing a child is something many people never recover from. Some people are destroyed a little, some a lot, no one is ever the same. I think that’s why when I was going through some of the papers I copied while at Duke University, deciding which to post about, this one stood out. I hope they had other children. I hope they were able to recover some happiness out of life.

10 thoughts on “Forgotten Sorrows

  1. I would like to know where you got the information that Prof. Ferdinand von Neureiter was a Nazi. He was my father-in-law, although I never knew him, as he died before I married his son, Ferdinand Neureiter.

  2. Hello. I took that line out because I’d have to go back through my notes, which I filed away. Is there no truth to this information? Does your husband have any information about this? If my information was wrong and there is absolutely no truth to this, I apologize.

  3. Thank you for replying. Unfortunately my husband died almost 5 years ago, but I am 100% certain that it was not the case that his father was a Nazi. From my knowledge of the family over the years, through talks with my husband, his sister and my mother-in-law, and other family members, who have also passed on,I have never heard anything at all that could possibly be construed in this way.
    Thankyou for taking out the line, and it would interest me if you find any information regarding this in your notes.

  4. I think it had to do with a book he wrote about eugenics, but again, I don’t remember and I’d have to go back and look (which would be difficult at this point which was why I opted for removing that line). Could he have been an unwilling member?

  5. He was a member of the NSDAP as research has shown, but that does not make him a Nazi.
    According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica in the article on Germany, the section dealing with the period ‘The Totalitarian Police State’ – I quote – “Schools, universities, the press, the theatre and the arts were forced to follow the pattern of Nazi regimentation, and the most determined efforts were made to indoctrinate the younger generation with the Nazi ideology through the schools and the compulsory Hitler Youth.” So it would seem rather difficult to avoid membership.

  6. I’m not sure how to respond to that, so I’ll just say I wish you all the best and I hope all news in your life is good news.

  7. What I meant was that with your “Yeah, alas” you appeared to me to see things in black or white and no grey areas. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life it is that there certainly are grey areas, and for those of us who were fortuaate enough to have lived in a democracy and not in a totalitarian state, it is often difficult to comprehend such things as being forced to belong to a political party. Not everyone is a hero. Thank you for your good wishes, but a long life has taught me that unfortunately not all the news one receives is good. But one can always hope.

  8. I meant it as a expression of sympathy for the impossible choices (or no choices) in life. (I would like to think I’m a hero, but I’m probably not.) As I said, I think the eugenics book was at the center of the issue I read about, but I didn’t read the book and although eugenics fell out of favor due to how it was interpreted by the Nazis, that doesn’t mean it was your father-in-law’s point of view. I suspect you may have read this book and would know better.

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