In 1942 Jerome Damore, my great grandfather, died of pneumonia, leaving behind his wife Susan and their six kids. To make things even worse, just over a year and a half later Susan died due to complications in surgery. The kids, the oldest of which, Rose, was 18, and the youngest, Theresa, only 11 at the time, were left alone in the house. To be able to support themselves, the three boys, Albert, Ernie and Peter, dropped out of school and took over their father’s construction company along with their cousin, Angelo. The company, Damore Construction, was quite successful at the time. Unfortunately, the oldest of the boys was only 17, and they were not ready to manage such a large company. There was a lot of fighting between them, until the eldest, Peter, was kicked out. The family was never able to fully recover.
Fig 1. A picture of my great grandfather Jerome and his three sons Peter, Albert and Ernie. Along with them is Jerome’s brother Joseph, and his son Angelo. (Shown on left)
The was possibly the most significant event of the three. With the other two, the majority of the consequences were put on one or two people. The fallout from this one though still resonates with people today. It changed our family dynamic entirely. Fractures in our family that to this day haven’t healed. Money being moved around and lost. Missed opportunities that will never be fixed. Although some good came out of it, this was a truly tragic event.
Fig 2. The four eldest kids, Peter, Reta, Ernie and rose in front of their home with their parents. (Shown on right)
A Deeper Look
After all this happened, everything changed, not only with the family but financially. So much had been staked in that company. It eventually failing by the end mixed with the fighting between the members caused much of the family fortune to be shifted around or lost. The main cause of the downfall of the company was when Peter was kicked out. He was the oldest and, from what I’ve heard, “the brains of the company”. The other three boys couldn’t deal with running Damore construction. It had nothing to do with how competent they were. It was the fact that they had to suddenly drop out of school and begin taking on a responsibility they were not prepared for. Not too long after, Damore Construction ended up dissolving. All of the boys stayed in construction in one way or another, but not together. As a consequence of everything that happened, the family became fractured. Although some of the kids, such as Theresa and Rose, stayed talking to as much as the family as they could, Albert and Ernie distanced themselves from Peter. This not only affected them, but also their kids and grandkids. My family right now is very close. I know nearly all of my cousins on my mom’s side and we all get together at different points during the year. My mom never had that. In her words, she felt cheated. Because of the strain the death of Jerome and Susan put on the family, and that all culminating in the downfall of Damore Construction, she never got to meet pretty much any of her family or be as close to her cousins as I am. Although most of that is horrible, it might be part of the reason I’m so close with my extended family. We didn’t want to end up in the same way.