I just watched an interesting program on the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby on a new edition of the _Nova_ series on PBS. It had many interesting theories, but no conclusive evidence about who the actual kidnappers were, although Hauptmann seems to have definitely been involved. I am interested in this case because my mother was, and she talked about it when I was a child. She never believed Hauptmann was guilty, and she never cared for Lindbergh after he went to Germany to live in 1935 because he came back seeming to espouse the German cause shortly before the war began in Europe in 1939.
So what, you may ask, does this have to do with anything genealogical in our family? We weren’t related to any of the players in the piece, of course, but I think it had a direct effect on how my mother cared for her two children. The kidnapping happened when Jack was about a year old, and Mother always said that while our family wasn’t the Lindbergh’s, the whole story made her especially careful of where Jack went, what he did, and who he was with as he grew up. I never could understand however how she allowed him to get on the streetcar on Sundays with Howard Knight, his best friend, and ride all over town. She was none the less protective of him I think it’s fair to say.
Then came little Christine. I think she was more protective of me than of Jack, and I think it was because I was a girl, and, as she always said, a cute little girl. (Sorry Tammy, if you read this, but I was.) At any rate, kept watch over me wherever we went, and always warned me against speaking to strange men. (There are at least a couple of times in my life that I wish I had listened to that advice a little more! 😉 ) At any rate, I wasn’t to leave the yard with anyone, and if anyone approached me anywhere and tried to drag me away I was to scream bloody murder. Before I started to school, and because I had a habit of wandering away from her in stores, she had a harness for me which had a strap hooked to the back and a wrist strap for her to keep hold of me. (Those were not unheard of in the day, and although today it would be deemed child abuse probably, I’ve seen cases where I wish people still used them.) The one time when I was about 12 and she did leave me alone in the children’s section in the basement of the old Anderson Carnegie Library was the only time anyone ever threatened me, but I’m not going to write about that here.
At any rate, if my mother, or my father, for that matter, was overly protective of us as children I think it was because they loved us, and wanted us to be as safe as possible, not unlike today’s parents. The Lindbergh kidnapping, like the Sandy Hook murders, and so many others events, made parents across the country hug their children a little more closely and made them become a little more protective of their “little” ones.
The program pointed out one interesting thing about Lindbergh that I didn’t know, and that was that when he returned to Germany after WW II as a consultant for Pan American Airlines and the U.S. government, he managed to secretly, and under and assumed name, father children by seven German women, said children having come forward in 2003 with DNA proof of their parentage. He was a great believer in eugenicss, one reason he was so enamored of “The Master Race” theory, and oddly enough, one reason why some people think he might have had something to do with the kidnapping of his own child!
And now you know the rest of the story, about kidnapping, over protective moms, and how traumatic events shape our lives. And now, I strongly suspect, my mother knows who kidnapped/killed little Charles Lindbergh.