For the past 3 weeks I've enjoyed telephone calls from a man that is with the AOH, Ancient Order of Hibernians. Thanks to Mr. Tennessee, I've been put in touch with him through his friend who is also a member of the AOH. Things have gotten quite interesting, I've learned more pieces of the puzzle that I never knew before. A connection was made, a very old and significant connection, one that Uncle Jerome could have only organized himself. And I discovered, had it not been for John Devoy, I might not be here today. Yes, you heard me, John Devoy, probably the most famous Fenian in all of Irish history.
What's absolutely astounding is I finally found help. The AOH member has taken hold of my story and the work that I am doing on behalf of Uncle Jerome. I finally have supporters, a few at the moment, but it's enough. They are actually going to places that I can't right now, making inquiries and taking photos on my behalf. They BELIEVE in what I am trying to accomplish, which is vindicating Jerome and freeing him from his arrest/suspension which binds him in death to this day. They will help. And I can't express enough my deepest gratitude, I say that with a huge sigh of relief. Finally, help has arrived, and just in time.
I've about given up asking my local and state politicians to assist me. I've been lead on by Senator Coleman's office for well over a year now, and basically got the feeling they just wanted me off their backs. Sure, they made some inquiries for me, but they weren't aggressive about the search. I also sent Senator Ted Kennedy a long letter, and as expected it has gone unanswered. Guess it's because I'm not his constituent, never mind the fact we are both Irish. It's the politicians that put my family in this boat, (no pun intended for those of you that get that), and it's been over 120+ years that my family has questioned why... why weren't the charges against Jerome removed? Why weren't they ruled upon? Why was a mock inquiry allowed if they had no intention of ever erasing the stain that still holds my ancestor under arrest to this day? I can't help but think that even though my Irish family didn't really seem to suffer the common day discrimination that all Irish were branded with in the 1860's and 70's and so forth because they were honestly quite "well to do" at the time, they were unequivocally politically discriminated against during the inquiry. And I can't help but think that discrimination continues to this day. I have this thought that every search I do for Uncle Jerome's records are flagged with comments such as "DO NOT REVEAL" or "TOP SECRET". I can't help but think that no one, even to this day, wants to admit that the Navy made a mistake. God forbid the US Navy admits THAT. It's almost as if someone is playing that game "hot potato" with Jerome's file... once I get near enough to finding it, it's all of a sudden not where I think it is and I'm passed off to ask somewhere else, for fear that once I do read his file I'll find the missing documents which were stolen from his cold dead body on the Lena Delta, or I'll learn the truth that James Gordon Bennett conspired with the US Navy to cover up what really happened to Jerome while forced to sign on as a seaman with the Navy just to represent the New York Herald. Conspiracy. It's been around for hundreds of years. Today, it's the stuff that movies are made of. When I'm done with all this, I'll be giving a copy of the script to Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. Seriously. This is the wish of Cousin Louise, and I'll carry it out in her honor.
Until then, the search is still going, people are helping, and the story of Jerome's life is being written. I could say that I can't ask for any more than that, but c'mon here.... I always hope for more. St. Pio always said, "Pray, Hope, and Don't worry". Ok then.