The Dieffenbachs

“Do you recall the name of Dennis Dieffenbach’s brother?” came the email query.

 That brought a wave of memories flooding back to me.

When we lived on the hill on East Main Street in Richland, we lived in half of a duplex house. The other half had originally housed Mary Haak and Paul Troutman, but after a few years, I’m guessing it was around 1961 or 2, they moved out, and the Dieffenbach family moved in.

The Dieffenbach brothers were a few years younger than I was, and Dennis was the younger of the two. But what was the older brother’s name?

They only lived next to us for two or three years because in 1964 we moved to South Race Street. My last memory of the older brother is  him complimenting me on the Irregulars Assembly when I saw him in the Post Office. But what was his name?

First, I fired off a text to my sister to see if she remembered, but getting no reply, I went to my senior yearbook, which told me that his first initial was J.

The same as mine. Hmm.

Joseph? Jacob? Jason? Justin?

None of those sounded right.

It couldn’t be James, could it? I’d remember if it were the same name as mine, wouldn’t I?

Jerry? Judah? Jubal? Jehoshaphat? (It’s biblical; you can look it up: Jehoshaphat)

Then I recalled that their father’s name was Leroy, so I did what I’ve done countless times before when searching for someone’s name. I looked for the father’s obituary.

And sure enough. There it was, Leroy Dieffenbach, 1917 – 2008.

He was survived by a son Dennis. Hmm. That was odd. Usually they put the oldest offspring first. Did that mean…?

It did.

Leroy was preceded in death by a son James.

So sad to hear about yet another Richland related death of someone dying way before his time.

Here’s James Neil Dieffenbach’s grave. I haven’t found an obituary.

So why did I not recall that he was named James? Or known as Jimmy. Even now, knowing that was his name, it still doesn’t sound right to me. Very strange.

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