A Changed Man: An Old Army Mystery

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9781552123881: A Changed Man: An Old Army Mystery
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How would you feel, what would you do upon learning that the name you had grown up with was completely phony? It happened to me in middle age, with a husband and two grown-up children at the centre of my world. And for several years I simply didn't believe it!

I still have scribbled notes from that day at the hospital, when my dying father denied he was Thomas Burton, the name Mother and I had known him by all those years we were together. When he identified himself as Ruskin Friton, I had to ask him to spell it. He did, and gave us his address in St.Louis, the names of his father and several aunts and uncles.

Would you believe an old man so confused by Alzheimers that he no longer recognized his wife and daughter?

Would you be annoyed, even angry with a parent who hid your relatives from you? Deprived you of finding your roots?

Would you care enough to start sleuthing?

For years Mother and I had been suspicious that this loving and supportive husband and father was lying to us about his past. We had never met his family. In my early twenties I had made a few inquiries, all in vain.

Now I began by sending out more letters, still dubious that Dad had at last told us the truth. I was blown away when Ara Kaye, Reference Specialist at the State Historical Society of Missouri, helped me locate our whole family of Fritons, uncles, aunts and all, in the 1900 U.S. Census. I believe my hands were shaking as I read about Ruskin, his parents, and grandparents in old St.Louis.

Completely captivated, I spent the next ten years churning out hundreds of queries to government agencies, military headquarters, libraries, veterans' groups...across the United States and as far away as Germany, wherever clues and hunches led me. I found my relatives in St.Louis, the present generation, who knew about the son who had vanished and was never heard of again. We shared wonderful old letters, documents, and photos, and I was thrilled to recognize my father as a boy of ten or eleven.

I knew of his service in the Army during World War I because that is where he met my mother, Margaret, who was a Red Cross nurse at the hospital where he was stationed. They began dating and eventually were secretly married. (It was against the rules for nurses to date enlisted men)

Was the Army aware of the secret identity change? Did they perhaps order it?? Certain key letters and documents suggest this is the case, but the evidence is by no means conclusive.

Was Ruskin Friton/Thomas Burton engaged in undercover work? The family was German, and he spoke the language.

Or perhaps he committed some crime?

Friends ask: "Betty, if your dad did something dishonorable, would you really want to know?"

The answer is yes--whatever he may have done will not dim this daughter's love and gratitude.

Why would a brainy young soldier disappear forever from his family and hide them from his wife and child? My research has filled in many gaps, but the ultimate answer is still missing.

I ask my readers: "How would you feel? Would you write this book?"

My prime reason for going onto the net with this true account is the fervent hope that someone out there can provide information or clues. Organizations and/or individuals who share my interests in military history, true mysteries or genealogy are invited to link their website to this one: www.trafford.com/robots/00-0052.html.

A Changed Man is more than just a mystery. The reader will embark on a sentimental journey into the zestful youth of the Twentieth Century, with its flappers, bootlegging, revolutionary inventions, and newfound freedoms; also a fond recollection of two vibrant and unforgettable people: Tom and Margaret, whose antics will make you laugh out loud, as when...

-Tom locked bumpers with Richard Dix and dragged the furious film star all across Hollywood, to punish him for tailgating.
-Or when he was thrown into a Mexican jail for the crime of winning big at a poker game.
-Or Margaret's electrifying experience with spark plugs on the old Scripps Booth.
-Or she drove her brother's Model T Ford into the neighbours' choice flower bed and was invited in for tea by the forgiving neighbours.
-Read about the frequent root beer explosions, due to Tom's yeasty formula. (We had to carry bottles upstairs from the cellar, wrapped in a pillow).
-Learn why Tom was delighted when our dear dog Peter bit him on the arm.

Warning to readers: If you dip into this story, you may find it highly addictive and not be able to put it down. This was my fate when writing it! You'll be sleuthing for clues. If you come up with any, please share them with me!

DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THESE PEOPLE?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

A bit of a job-hopper, Betty Eckgren taught school in California and Hawaii; then worked as a journalist for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin; next, an information officer in Tokyo, and advertising copywriter in London. With a master's degree in Library Science, she became a librarian in the Los Angeles and South Pasadena Public Libraries; later, in Canada, at the Greater Victoria Public Library.

A Changed Man is her second book. The first, 500 Live Ideas for the Grade Teacher, was co-authored by Vivian Fishel and published by Row-Peterson. It sold more than 30,000 copies.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

from Chapter One "When my Aunt Lydia learned that her younger sister was intending to marry a soldier she had met at the Army hospital where both were assigned during World War I, she was distressed. "You just met him a few months ago, Margaret. You know almost nothing about the fellow." She did her best to dissuade Mother. Margaret Kumpman was an Army nurse, working in what had been the old St. Mary's Catholic Hospital in Hoboken, New Jersey, but was now Army Embarkation Hospital #1. In her memoirs she recalls that it was only a 7 ride on the tube to New York City and Lydia's apartment on Lexington Ave. Her parents also lived nearby, on a farm in Dover, New Jersey. They were German immigrants, proud of their American citizenship, but their German accents alienated some of the neighbors and won them few friends during the war. Margaret, only three years old when the family had immigrated, grew up beautifully bilingual, with no telltale accent. "You've never met his parents," Lydia objected. Margaret needed no reminder. The fact disturbed her also. "They live in California," she explained. What she had not confided to her sister was a strange and somewhat chilling incident in New York City a couple weeks earlier. She and Tom had been shopping, and then he left her standing within sight of the Harbor while he went to speak with a middle-aged couple waiting with their luggage on the pier. "I've got to have a word with them," he told her. "I won't be long." She watched from a distance and wondered why she had not been invited to come with him. Finally she saw the couple board a liner docked nearby, and Tom came hurrying back, looking a bit embarrassed. "They're on their way to Europe," he explained. "Oh, friends of yours, I guess?" "Well--actually, they're my parents." "Your--parents!" He could see that she was stung. "Look, Margaret, I'm really sorry you couldn't have met them!" "Well, were you ashamed to introduce me?" There was an unhappy silence. He reached awkwardly for her hand, but she drew it away. He bit his lip, wondering what to say. Finally-- "This is very confidential," he warned. "My parents--I don't quite know how to put it--You see, they're leaving the country, probably for good; sailing to Germany, by way of a neutral country, of course." "To Germany!" Mother was dumbfounded. "Because of this damned war! They've got to get out of here in a hurry--or be arrested." She stared at him." "Are they spies, for heavens sakes?" By this time Dad felt he had already said too much. He clammed up.

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Betty Eckgren
Published by Trafford Publishing, Canada (2000)
ISBN 10: 155212388X ISBN 13: 9781552123881
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Book Description Trafford Publishing, Canada, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.How would you feel, what would you do upon learning that the name you had grown up with was completely phony? It happened to me in middle age, with a husband and two grown-up children at the centre of my world. And for several years I simply didn t believe it! Would you believe an old man so confused by Alzheimers that he no longer recognized his wife and daughter? Would you be annoyed, even angry with a parent who hid your relatives from you? Deprived you of finding your roots? Would you care enough to start sleuthing? For years Mother and I had been suspicious that this loving and supportive husband and father was lying to us about his past. We had never met his family. In my early twenties I had made a few inquiries, all in vain. Now I began by sending out more letters, still dubious that Dad had at last told us the truth. I was blown away when Ara Kaye, Reference Specialist at the State Historical Society of Missouri, helped me locate our whole family of Fritons, uncles, aunts and all, in the 1900 U.S. Census. I believe my hands were shaking as I read about Ruskin, his parents, and grandparents in old St.Louis. Completely captivated, I spent the next ten years churning out hundreds of queries to government agencies, military headquarters, libraries, veterans groups.across the United States and as faraway as Germany, wherever clues and hunches led me. I found my relatives in St.Louis, the present generation, who knew about the son who had vanished and was never heard of again. We shared wonderful old letters, documents, and photos, and I was thrilled to recognize my father as a boy of ten or eleven. I knew of his service in the Army during World War I because that is where he met my mother, Margaret, who was a Red Cross nurse at the hospital where he was stationed. They began dating and eventually were secretly married. (It was against the rules for nurses to date enlisted men) Was the Army aware of the secret identity change? Did they perhaps order it?? Certain key letters and documents suggest this is the case, but the evidence is by no means conclusive. Was Ruskin Friton/Thomas Burton engaged in undercover work? The family was German, and he spoke the language. Or perhaps he committed some crime? Friends ask: Betty, if your dad did something dishonorable, would you really want to know? The answer is yes--whatever he may have done will not dim this daughter s love and gratitude. Why would a brainy young soldier disappear forever from his family and hide them from his wife and child? My research has filled in many gaps, but the ultimate answer is still missing. My prime reason for going onto the net with this true account is the fervent hope that someone out there can provide information or clues. Organizations and/or individuals who share my interests in military history, true mysteries or genealogy are invited to link their website to this one: A Changed Man is more than just a mystery. The reader will embark on a sentimental journey into the zestful youth of the Twentieth Century, with its flappers, bootlegging, revolutionary inventions, and newfound freedoms; also a fond recollection of two vibrant and unforgettable people: Tom and Margaret, whose antics will make you laugh out loud, as when. -Tom locked bumpers with Richard Dix and dragged the furious film star all across Hollywood, to punish him for tailgating. -Or when he was thrown into a Mexican jail for the crime of winning big at a poker game. -Or Margaret s electrifying experience with spark plugs on the old Scripps Booth. -Or she drove her brother s Model T Ford into the neighbours choice flower bed and was invited in for tea by the forgiving neighbours. -Read about the frequent root beer explosions, due to Tom s yeasty formula. (We had to carry bottles upstairs from the cellar, wrapped in a pillow). -Learn why Tom was delighted when our dear dog Peter bit him on the arm. Warning to readers: If you. Seller Inventory # AAV9781552123881

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Betty Eckgren
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Book Description Trafford Publishing, Canada, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. How would you feel, what would you do upon learning that the name you had grown up with was completely phony? It happened to me in middle age, with a husband and two grown-up children at the centre of my world. And for several years I simply didn t believe it! Would you believe an old man so confused by Alzheimers that he no longer recognized his wife and daughter? Would you be annoyed, even angry with a parent who hid your relatives from you? Deprived you of finding your roots? Would you care enough to start sleuthing? For years Mother and I had been suspicious that this loving and supportive husband and father was lying to us about his past. We had never met his family. In my early twenties I had made a few inquiries, all in vain. Now I began by sending out more letters, still dubious that Dad had at last told us the truth. I was blown away when Ara Kaye, Reference Specialist at the State Historical Society of Missouri, helped me locate our whole family of Fritons, uncles, aunts and all, in the 1900 U.S. Census. I believe my hands were shaking as I read about Ruskin, his parents, and grandparents in old St.Louis. Completely captivated, I spent the next ten years churning out hundreds of queries to government agencies, military headquarters, libraries, veterans groups.across the United States and as faraway as Germany, wherever clues and hunches led me. I found my relatives in St.Louis, the present generation, who knew about the son who had vanished and was never heard of again. We shared wonderful old letters, documents, and photos, and I was thrilled to recognize my father as a boy of ten or eleven. I knew of his service in the Army during World War I because that is where he met my mother, Margaret, who was a Red Cross nurse at the hospital where he was stationed. They began dating and eventually were secretly married. (It was against the rules for nurses to date enlisted men) Was the Army aware of the secret identity change? Did they perhaps order it?? Certain key letters and documents suggest this is the case, but the evidence is by no means conclusive. Was Ruskin Friton/Thomas Burton engaged in undercover work? The family was German, and he spoke the language. Or perhaps he committed some crime? Friends ask: Betty, if your dad did something dishonorable, would you really want to know? The answer is yes--whatever he may have done will not dim this daughter s love and gratitude. Why would a brainy young soldier disappear forever from his family and hide them from his wife and child? My research has filled in many gaps, but the ultimate answer is still missing. My prime reason for going onto the net with this true account is the fervent hope that someone out there can provide information or clues. Organizations and/or individuals who share my interests in military history, true mysteries or genealogy are invited to link their website to this one: A Changed Man is more than just a mystery. The reader will embark on a sentimental journey into the zestful youth of the Twentieth Century, with its flappers, bootlegging, revolutionary inventions, and newfound freedoms; also a fond recollection of two vibrant and unforgettable people: Tom and Margaret, whose antics will make you laugh out loud, as when. -Tom locked bumpers with Richard Dix and dragged the furious film star all across Hollywood, to punish him for tailgating. -Or when he was thrown into a Mexican jail for the crime of winning big at a poker game. -Or Margaret s electrifying experience with spark plugs on the old Scripps Booth. -Or she drove her brother s Model T Ford into the neighbours choice flower bed and was invited in for tea by the forgiving neighbours. -Read about the frequent root beer explosions, due to Tom s yeasty formula. (We had to carry bottles upstairs from the cellar, wrapped in a pillow). -Learn why Tom was delighted when our dear dog Peter bit him on the arm. Warning to readers: If yo. Seller Inventory # AAV9781552123881

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Book Description Trafford Publishing. Paperback. Condition: New. 178 pages. Dimensions: 8.8in. x 5.9in. x 0.5in.Ruskin Friton (the authors father) disappears from his loving family in St. Louis, and serves in the US Army under a different name during World War I. He marries an Army nurse, Margaret Kumpman, who knows him only as Thomas Burton. Daughter Betty, who has been researching this unsolved mystery for 10 years, wants help from readers. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781552123881

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Book Description Trafford Publishing, Canada, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. How would you feel, what would you do upon learning that the name you had grown up with was completely phony? It happened to me in middle age, with a husband and two grown-up children at the centre of my world. And for several years I simply didn t believe it! Would you believe an old man so confused by Alzheimers that he no longer recognized his wife and daughter? Would you be annoyed, even angry with a parent who hid your relatives from you? Deprived you of finding your roots? Would you care enough to start sleuthing? For years Mother and I had been suspicious that this loving and supportive husband and father was lying to us about his past. We had never met his family. In my early twenties I had made a few inquiries, all in vain. Now I began by sending out more letters, still dubious that Dad had at last told us the truth. I was blown away when Ara Kaye, Reference Specialist at the State Historical Society of Missouri, helped me locate our whole family of Fritons, uncles, aunts and all, in the 1900 U.S. Census. I believe my hands were shaking as I read about Ruskin, his parents, and grandparents in old St.Louis. Completely captivated, I spent the next ten years churning out hundreds of queries to government agencies, military headquarters, libraries, veterans groups.across the United States and as faraway as Germany, wherever clues and hunches led me. I found my relatives in St.Louis, the present generation, who knew about the son who had vanished and was never heard of again. We shared wonderful old letters, documents, and photos, and I was thrilled to recognize my father as a boy of ten or eleven. I knew of his service in the Army during World War I because that is where he met my mother, Margaret, who was a Red Cross nurse at the hospital where he was stationed. They began dating and eventually were secretly married. (It was against the rules for nurses to date enlisted men) Was the Army aware of the secret identity change? Did they perhaps order it?? Certain key letters and documents suggest this is the case, but the evidence is by no means conclusive. Was Ruskin Friton/Thomas Burton engaged in undercover work? The family was German, and he spoke the language. Or perhaps he committed some crime? Friends ask: Betty, if your dad did something dishonorable, would you really want to know? The answer is yes--whatever he may have done will not dim this daughter s love and gratitude. Why would a brainy young soldier disappear forever from his family and hide them from his wife and child? My research has filled in many gaps, but the ultimate answer is still missing. My prime reason for going onto the net with this true account is the fervent hope that someone out there can provide information or clues. Organizations and/or individuals who share my interests in military history, true mysteries or genealogy are invited to link their website to this one: A Changed Man is more than just a mystery. The reader will embark on a sentimental journey into the zestful youth of the Twentieth Century, with its flappers, bootlegging, revolutionary inventions, and newfound freedoms; also a fond recollection of two vibrant and unforgettable people: Tom and Margaret, whose antics will make you laugh out loud, as when. -Tom locked bumpers with Richard Dix and dragged the furious film star all across Hollywood, to punish him for tailgating. -Or when he was thrown into a Mexican jail for the crime of winning big at a poker game. -Or Margaret s electrifying experience with spark plugs on the old Scripps Booth. -Or she drove her brother s Model T Ford into the neighbours choice flower bed and was invited in for tea by the forgiving neighbours. -Read about the frequent root beer explosions, due to Tom s yeasty formula. (We had to carry bottles upstairs from the cellar, wrapped in a pillow). -L. Seller Inventory # LIE9781552123881

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