Family History – Postscript

Three more boys joined the clan during our years in Fairview. Marty and Ken came along in 1965 and 1966, respectively, and Dave completed the set of ten in 1968. In 1973 Dad was transferred to the Defense Mapping Agency in Washington, DC, where, from a small house in Kensington, Maryland (about the size of the Ridge Avenue house and packed with even more kids) we remained unawares as to what the hell he did at work.

Father Time has done his usual job over the decades since we left Fairview. We’ve said hello to scores of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and goodbye to players who entered the stage before us: Grandma and Grandpa Kalish, Uncle Martin and rest of Adam and Julia’s children, Grandma Durbin and Uncle Bob, and Aunt Jackie’s husband Richard.

We lost Dad in February, 2001. Thinking of him now, imagining his voice and picturing him smiling wide “like a jackass eating briars” as he would say, my heart at this moment hurts no less than it did when I got the news.

Uncle Dick went into politics 30 years or so after his dad gave it up for good, losing a few elections before winning Abraham Lincoln’s old seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. He went on to win a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1996, eventually rising to the post of Majority Whip. It’s a shame his dad wasn’t around to join his mom, and rest of his family, in watching little Dicky Joe of East St. Louis rise to such heights. It’s been pretty cool.

First Lady Hillary Clinton welcomes Grandma to the White House on Mothers Day 1994. Mom and Dad are in back with Uncle Dick.
First Lady Hillary Clinton welcomes Grandma to the White House on Mothers Day 1994. Mom and Dad are in back with Uncle Dick.


In addition to direct conversation or correspondence with my parents, aunts and uncles, Grandma and Grandpa Kalish and my Grandpa Durbin’s sister Margaret, here are a few other sources referenced in putting together this family history in the event anyone would like to take this further (or check my facts).

  • 29th Street. Uncle Bob’s bound hard copies of email with his two brothers and curious nephew Mike, from June 1999 to May 2000.
  • Durbin’s of East St. Louis & Related Families. A staggering collection of photos and historical information from Uncle Bob.
  • East St. Louis, Illinois. Year-by-Year Illustrated History by Bill Nunes. 1998.
  • Fairview Heights Celebrates its 1st Anniversary (1970)
  • Kalish/Malec Family History. My compendium of historical information about Mom’s side of the family.
  • Krokvica Family History in America. An excellent compilation of photos and stories by my cousin Ann Mahoney.
  • Tub of records (a very big and heavy tub) collected by Dad over many years of family history research.
  • William Gaul’s Military and Pension records from the National Archives, including affidavits from field surgeons describing his nearly fatal mule kick.

Michael Durbin
August 2015