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Elephants in Africa

Gumma said that one of Papsi’s brothers — Erich, I think — I’ll look in the files to find out for sure — had difficulty establishing himself.  Gumma remembers that he and his family went to South Africa to start a plantation in the bush.  Her uncle went on a hunting trip and was gone for a couple of weeks.  When he returned he found his house had been flattened and his entire family killed by stampeding elephants.  Gumma told this story one evening at dinner in Woodstock as a sort of “you-think-you-have-it-hard” object lesson story.  An interesting sidelight that I recall was her off-hand mention that this uncle needed to petition Papsi for money and tension about the money and who had access to it.  It had to do with Papsi being executor of his step-mother’s will and how the estate was doled out among the heirs.  Gumma was foggy about the particulars — but it strikes me that a little investigation might find the basis for this fable about money, family, inheritances, and tragedy.   I wish I could remember the circumstances of Gumma’s telling the story more precisely, but I can’t. 


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