My grandmother used to sit on the front porch swing on summer evenings with us kids and tell fascinating stories about the family. One story in particular made quite an impact on me and I’ve repeated it many times to my children and grandchildren.
It seems that my great-grandfather, who was an American Indian, was married to a beautiful French woman several years his junior. As the story goes – one night, they were quite late getting home from a social engagement. John went to the living room to have his usual nightcap while wife Rachelle hurried to her bedroom to get ready for bed.
As she faced her dressing table and started taking off her locket, she spotted something unusual in the mirror – a strange object sticking out from under her bed. Startled, she didn’t know what to do, but her intuition told her she might be in danger and she knew it wouldn’t be wise to call out to John. So without making a sound or acting any differently, she walked over to her husband’s bureau, opened the top drawer, pulled out the pistol he kept there, walked back over to the bed, bent down and fired a shot under it.
The noise brought John running to his wife's side. He found her still holding the gun and looking stunned. Blood was running out from under the bed.
Turned out – a man had escaped from a prison not far from where they lived. It was assumed that he was in the process of robbing them, heard them coming and slid under the bed hurriedly leaving a small corner of his jacket showing at the edge of the bed.
Now... my grandmother had a great imagination and was very good at entertaining kids, so I won’t bet the farm on the veracity of this story, but I do know that there’s a French woman named Rachelle in my family tree.
I wonder... Why did the young, beautiful Rachelle leave France to marry an older man who lived in the southern United States... especially since his pictures portray him as quite unattractive?