Yesterday I shared some Western Union telegrams that my grandparents received following the tragic death of their son, my uncle Miles Francis Stanley III.
My cousin Susan saw my post and called to offer a bit more information on my uncle’s death. Thanks, Susan!
She reminded me of a second version of those events that I had originally heard as a child, before I started investigating my own family history.
According to the second version, both boys were target shooting with guns that they had taken without permission, and Mike inadvertently moved in front of his friend as the friend fired and Mike was struck in the head by accident.
Apparently, several years after the tragedy, Mike’s friend was overwhelmed with guilt and went to my grandparents and shared with them this version of events.
The version I posted yesterday apparently was the official police version of the incident, as I found it in several newspaper articles in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
So, what really happened? The only person who knows the truth is Mike’s friend, the only witness.
Does it even matter? I think not. The end result is the same: a 14-year-old boy is dead, the result of a tragic and totally-preventable accident.
If I makes my grandmother feel better to think that her son died at someone else’s hand rather than his own, both accidental, that’s fine with me.