Things I’ll never know about dad

a mission

Les (center), Agatha (right), and presumably other Walkers

My sisters and I long knew the biological father of my dad, Les Green, was someone other than my grandfather, McKinley Green. But what we’ll never know:  was he aware of the name of his biological father, Rev. Raymond Cornelius Cone? Did he have any dealings with him whatsoever? I tend to doubt it, but…

And how did he feel about being treated as “illegitimate”? When did he find out? Did he know about the newspaper coverage? My maternal grandmother remembered the stories. Did this affect the way she saw Les Green? They were not fans of each other, which left my mother in the middle of that mess.

One of my sisters suggested that we ask dad about this while he was alive. I was highly resistant in no small part because whatever information that we did know came not from him but from his wife and mother-in-law. I surmised that it was not something he wanted to discuss. I could have been wrong, I suppose.

His maternal grandparents claimed him as their son in the 1930 Census, though the truth had come out in the subsequent decade. As mentioned before, Cone had denied paternity. This was, of course, far before the days of DNA testing that would have proved the minister was a lying son of a…

Did dad know that his mother Agatha, the day after he was born, had taken legal action against RCC? After reading the newspaper clippings from September 1926 through January 1927 in the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, I’m still unclear precisely what Cone was being charged with. I THINK it was the failure to own up to the paternity, as opposed to assault or rape.

Mission back on

In March 2020, I had planned to go to Broome County Clerk’s office in Binghamton. Reportedly, there are printed volumes with the transcripts of trials of that vintage. But that trip was scuttled because of the COVID outbreak, with that office closed.

It has now reopened. I need to make a pilgrimage to my hometown to copy the record of grandma Agatha’s fierceness. Did dad believe that despite the verdict exonerating Cone, that his mom was telling the truth?

I’ve been working on my time-travel machine. One needs to line up the questions because one doesn’t know how long one can survive sojourning in the past.

Dad died on August 10, 2000.


Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Things I’ll never know about dad”

  1. Hmmm….this opens up some cans of worms for me. I happen to be adopted, and it was an inside adoption, facilitated by my late uncle Hamparsoum Kelikian in Chicago, who was an orthopedic surgeon. My father was Robert Bernstein (a political science grad student at Drake U in Iowa, but also a pretty good violinist and son of Jewish immigrants from Germany or thereabouts) and my mother was Marie Kassouny (an Armenian from Lebanon who was studying classical piano at Drake). I did meet my biological mom in the late 1980s, she was towards the end of a career at Malone College in Canton, OH, where she taught piano and she passed in 2008). Having done the Ancestry testing, I did find out a few things about the Bernsteins (via nieces and nephews) but never met Robert, who predeceased Marie. Apparently in 1954, he wanted her to have an abortion, she did not and decided to give me up for adoption, and my parents were Armenag & Alice Boyajian. When I was born, dad was 59 and mom was 46, so it was somewhat like growing up with grandparents as parents. But in many ways, they were pretty progressive and wonderful parents – and Binghamton was a little different then!

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