When I learned my grandmother’s name yesterday they also gave me her last known address. Unfortunately, that’s all the information they have on her. They don’t have an age, medical history or anything.
But that’s okay. Even an address can be very telling.
My grandmother’s last known address was: 1725 3rd Avenue Columbus, Georgia. This was where she lived at the time of my father’s adoption in 1941-42.
When I looked up the property on Google Earth it looked pretty grim – an empty lot full of cars in what looked like a rough area of town. There is no house or building to any clues as to who lived there. There are no occupants who might have known a previous owner who mentioned something of a young mother who gave her baby up.
The remnants of a concrete driveway provide the only evidence that a house may have been here at one time. The sun-bleached concrete fans in from a regulation lip against the grey asphalt of 3rd Ave. to form a narrow path about two metres in length.
I searched the property on the City of Columbus website and discovered that it is owned by the Salvation Army. There’s a church and mens shelter right behind the property. The property itself is used as an overflow parking lot for church vehicles.
I have a thousand theories about what could have happened, but the first thing came to my mind was that it was once the site of some kind of Salvation Army shelter. Down in the South, especially in those days, the myriad of churches played a huge role in social services.
During his lifetie my father made ample use of those services, so it wouldn’t surprise me if his biological mother fell into their care from time to time. This scenario makes a lot of sense to me.
But I don’t know for sure. Right now I’m just speculating.
I’m going to contact some church historians and see if I can learn more about the property.
It’s unlikely the church has any records that mention my grandmother and it’s even more unlikely that there are still people around who might remember her from that. But if I’m able to piece together what the property was used for, who went there and who served them I think I’ll be able to reconstruct a bit of my grandmother’s life story.