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Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Decomposed Composer

From the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News of Dec. 11, 2005:

BEETHOVEN'S BONES

By Richard Scheinin
Mercury News

Joan Kaufmann is thumbing through neatly cataloged volumes of family papers at her Danville home when she comes across a page of particular interest. Casually scribbled are the contents of an aluminum lunchbox that once belonged to a relative named Tom Desmines in the South of France: "11 silver spoons . . . 1 gold chain . . . Chinese lock and key . . . box Beethoven skullbones."

Kaufmann, 70, chuckles: "I never assumed that I married into a family like this."

She did, 47 years ago. But it's only recently that the family history has come sailing out of the mists. In 1990, she and her husband, Paul, a business executive, visited Desmines, an old bohemian who was badly ailing, and brought home the bones that Paul had been hearing about since he was a boy and which his Uncle Tom had stashed in the lunchbox.

[snip]

[Read the whole story]

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