Monday, September 2, 2019

Vivian Mitchell - Bitter Crossed with Nice

Vivian to left, Jasper at rear, Shirley at right
I have been searching and searching for more information on Vivian Mitchell, but I cannot find it. Part of the problem is her husband was John Mitchell, my Grandfather's brother.

But John Mitchell had a son, also named John Mitchell, who was little Johnny.

Worse, Little Johnny had a son named John, and when the grandfather died, little Johnny became Big Johnny and the grandson was named little Johnny. And I can't find middle names for love nor money.

You know how many "John Mitchell" s there are? A shit-load. And so, I will leave those details for later, and on to Vivian's story.

Vivian's story begins with the first Big Johnny. To quote the story, Big Johnny worked on the barges on the Mississippi river. It is there he meet Vivian, who was a cook. They may or may not have had an affair (else why bring this up int he story to me?), but that wasn't a key part of the story.

Big Johnny worked on the barges and sent money home to his first wife - the use of the term first wife hints where this story is going. Anyway, upon his return home, the first wife had spent all the money. The implication was on illegal booze and men. But Big John forgave all that. In fact (according to the story) he even quit the river to live on dry land with her. That cramped her style and she ultimately divorced him.

Now divorced, Johnny "happened" to meet Vivian again, and they married. And here, is where it gets weird. In the picture above, Vivian is standing next to Zela (my grandmother), Martha (my aunt), Jasper is behind with Shirley in the pink. Vivan's great-grandson is below. FYI - Everyone in the picture has passed except the great-grandchild.

It seems that Vivian and John had at least one or two children. They also collected Jasper.

Jasper was Vivian's old boyfriend, but was a little learning disabled, but from a rich family. The family kicked Jasper out at some point, and Vivian and Johnny took him in. While this sounds fishy, Jasper has lived with them through Big John's death and always been there as a friend. I get the impression Jasper and John were great friends and no hanky-panky ever went on with Vivian and Jasper.

Much later (after the adoption story below) Vivian collected Shirley. She was the child of a distant relation with learning disabilities, and Vivian preferred her to stay with her rather than "go to a home". Which is what they did with mentally disabled people back in the olden days.

The missing piece of true crazy is not in this picture. Vivian has an adopted son that is only a little younger than I am. You see one of our relatives was "with child" sans husband. She put the child up for adoption and Vivian wanted another baby. At this point John was over 55 and sick and had no desire for another baby, but he agreed for Vivian's sake.

Alas, it was not to be. The relative did not want the child to know her, and so pressed for a closed adoption out of the family. But Vivian's maternal instincts at this point were not to be denied, and so she arraigned an adoption of another child. He is not in the this picture and he was a bit of a problem. Big John died before the child hit his teens. I never meet him, but he did stay with Zela once for about 3 weeks before Dad kicked him out.

While we were there, and I was bored, I read all of his year-book autographs. He was part of the pot crowd, before joining the military. I think it might have been a "military or jail" situation.

One last thing. .. I said, as you do to be polite, "Vivian is a very pretty name."
"Ha!" She replied, "I was the 13th child and they ran out of names. They named me Flossy after the cow. I choose Vivian."

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