Today’s Tombstone Tuesday is about my great-aunt, Alfrieda Charlotte Anna Elizabeth Kirschstein Schaaf. She was my grandmother’s baby sister, born in Chicago on 26 Nov 1894, the fourth of four children of Bruno Julius Wilhelm Kirschstein and Anna Schumann. She almost made it to her centennial, dying in New Hope, Hennepin, Minnesota on 11 Jan 1994.
Aunt Frieda is buried in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery with her husband, Norman Joseph Schaaf. I was in Minneapolis a few weeks ago and finally made it to Fort Snelling. This veterans’ cemetery is virtually surrounded by the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and I think a jet comes in over this cemetery about every 30 seconds 24/7. While this might not sound appealing to most, I found it oddly appropriate, for my Aunt Frieda loved to travel.
I don’t think she and my grandmother had particularly pleasant childhoods, as their parents divorced rather acrimoniously in 1905. But as adults, I think they managed to find a great deal of pleasure in trips they shared together to Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, Banff and Calgary, and California, which made them both rather glamorous figures to me as a child.
Aunt Frieda would take the train from Minneapolis to our suburb outside Chicago and stay for a night or two before departing with my grandmother on one of their trips. She’d alight from the train carrying one of those little white Samsonite train cases, dispensing Hershey’s kisses and talking non-stop.
I’m glad I found her gravesite, although I have to say I’m disappointed with Veterans Affairs that they don’t add a surname for wives who are interred at Fort Snelling, just the first name and middle initial on the verso of the husband’s gravestone. For someone whose name was Alfrieda Charlotte Anna Elizabeth Kirschstein Schaaf, seeing it truncated to “Alfrieda C., his wife” was a bit disconcerting.
And now I’m off to the local LDS Family History Center, which has just reopened after a month’s hiatus and holds, I hope I hope, some microfilm that will shed light on more Kirschsteins and Schumanns.