I was gobsmacked. My grandmother had a brother? A brother more than 40 years her junior? This is what my cousin’s former wife told me:
[In 2012,] a man called (and for the life of me I cannot find the slip of paper on which I wrote his name and phone number) and stated that he was the illegitimate child of Thomas Aldrich. He was trying to find out information about his family and for some reason he found me because of [my husband.] He was born in 1954 to Thomas. His mother was a young, Jewish nurse at the hospital in which Thomas practiced. Thomas was very generous and left a trust fund for his son. Therefore, when he was murdered, his son was provided for. His son currently owns 5 hotels around the country, one in Chicago, one in Los Angeles, but I cannot remember the others.
A welter of emotions overtook me. Wow. A long-lost great-uncle. A couple of times over the next eighteen months, I reached out to W. to prod her memory. In the meantime, I waited and hoped that Tom’s son would find me. Any Google search of my great-grandfather’s name will quickly link to me and my blogs, so I believed that there was a decent chance I’d hear from him. A couple of weeks ago, W. told me she’d remembered that the man’s name was Malcolm, but still could not recall more. The information was too thin for me to formulate a good search query, so I continued to wait.
And then, this week, W. emailed to say that she’d suddenly remembered this man’s last name, had looked him up, and had been stunned at what she found. There was a photo, which did not seem to match the “nearly white” appearance he’d ascribed to himself. (Did the segregated Homer G. Phillips Hospital even have white nurses?) But the clincher: Malcolm Aldrich, alias Malcolm Couch, alias a hundred other names and Social Security numbers, is a convicted felon many times over, a defendant in dozens of lawsuits, a specialist in real estate scams and schemes and general fraud. While I was waiting for a hit on my blog, Saint Louis television statement KVOM was reporting this scandalous news. And then this. Lord. And see this from 2009.
It is certainly possible that Malcolm Aldrich, or Couch, or whatever, is both the son of James Thomas Aldrich [Aldridge] and a shady slickster. Either way, I’m keeping my distance.