An Addendum to the Invisibles: The Missed Griffin
By B. R. Taylor
In Part 5 of "Invisibles: The Unseen History of the Griffin Family", it is mentioned that Robert Griffin spent 2 years (1931-33) in Germany and France.
You might, however, be unaware that during this time he fell in love and secretly married a young Frenchwoman named Annette. "She's an extraordinary young woman," he once told his friend Peter Drury.
He had no idea how correct he was; Annette was the granddaughter of Dr. James Noel and Chloe (last name unknown), the mistress he took after retiring to Paris. Chloe bore a son in 1870, naming him Gaston. Noel was so pleased at the birth he gave Chloe a large house in the country and an even larger bank account to have the child provided with the best education available. Armed with both the Noel genius and a small fortune, he invested well and by the time his father died was moderately wealthy.
Gaston married (possibly for the 2nd time) in 1905, and his daughter Annette was born in 1910. Being a prudent man, he had a substantial trust fund created for the child, which she would not gain control of until she reached 25. Unfortunately, Annette lost both parents in the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19, and her father's lawyers, unable to locate any living relatives, placed the 8-year-old in an exclusive girls' boarding school. She remained there for the next 10 years, excelling in both math and science, and graduated in the spring of 1929.
The Depression took its toll on the family fortune, but didn't wipe it out completely. Annette had sufficient funds to purchase a townhouse in Paris and hire a maid and cook/housekeeper. She lived quietly, attending the ballet, opera and the occasional art show or museum event.
It was at one of the latter she met Robert Griffin, recently come from the Dark Continent and visiting Paris with his friend Peter Drury.
It was love at first site, and within weeks they had secretly wed. The marriage had to be kept secret because a clause in her father's will stipulated if she was married before her 25 birthday her trust fund would go to her children. If she bore no child she or her husband could claim the trust fund 20 years after her 25th birthday. This was to keep fortune hunters away.
A few months later Annette left Paris and retired to her grandmother's house in the country. She remained there for nearly 2 years, giving birth to a son she named Michel in February 1932. Griffin would occasionally visit her and his son until he returned to Africa, promising to return when he'd made his own fortune.
Annette split the next few years between her townhouse and the house in the country. When she heard of Robert's accident and subsequent confinement, she had a lawyer sent to Capetown, intending to have her husband (though she told her father's lawyers he was her fiancé) returned to France for treatment. The lawyer arrived too late; Robert had escaped and was on his way to England, having forgotten both Annette and his son.
The next news she heard of Robert Griffin was that of his death in England.
Two weeks later, she turned 25 and gained control of her trust fund (not, at the time, being married). She withdrew enough to book passage for herself, her son and her housekeeper on the next liner for America. She set up accounts in a New York bank and had her trust fund transferred across the Atlantic.
Deciding she needed to do something to distract herself from her grief, she went back to school and earned a degree in Education. She moved to a small town and got a job teaching French and Science at the local high school. Eventually she remarried and had other children, but refused to allow her husband to adopt her son -- whose name she had Anglicized to Michael -- in memory of her first husband.
Michael grew up a patriotic American, so much so that when the Korean War broke out in 1950, he couldn't wait to volunteer to go. The only thing which delayed him was marrying his high school sweetheart, his mother having extracted a promise from him to do so before signing up.
After a one-week honeymoon, he kissed his bride goodbye and headed off to the front.
Their son Kermit was born in April 1951. A daughter, Marilyn, and another son, David, were born after their father came back from the war.
Unfortunately, Michael and his wife divorced (possibly they were too young when they married), and she was given custody of the three children. Wanting nothing to do with her ex-husband, the former Mrs. Griffin moved to another state and got a series of low-paying jobs, making barely enough to keep her children fed, clothed, and sheltered.
The day after Kermit graduated high school he enlisted in the Army, sending most of his pay home to help his mother support his younger siblings. He discovered -- much to his surprise -- he was a more-than-competent fighter, but didn't really care for the military; it didn't pay enough, for starters. Especially when your days were spent slogging through the Vietnamese jungle having unfriendly strangers shooting at you.
Then he had a fortuitous accident which would change his life forever.
He got into a fight in a bar, and ended up fighting alongside a group of mercenaries. The leader of this group was a man named Paul Blaisdell.
We may never know what Blaisdell saw in the young soldier, but it was enough to keep tabs on the kid and recruit him at the end of his service. Being at loose ends and needing the money (and also having somewhat of a fondness for the older man), Kermit Griffin accepted the job offer.
The next two decades of his life are better left unexamined, but it's safe to say they were spent in the company of Paul Blaisdell and various others. Sometime during this period Kermit became a proficient computer hacker, and toward the end of the first decade Blaisdell managed to finagle (through certain connections) a job as a police captain in the city of Sloanville, somewhere in the Midwest. He brought Kermit with him, and found him a position as a detective in his precinct, the 101st. Kermit continued to work at the 101st even after Blaisdell was forced to disappear to protect his family from his past.
While working at the 101st precinct Kermit was sometimes partnered with Blaisdell's foster son, Peter Caine, great-grandson of Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin priest forced to flee his native China after killing the nephew of the Emperor. Peter is the son of another Kwai Chang Caine, the namesake and grandson of the original Caine. Peter's father, after losing his wife, became a Shaolin priest in a temple in California. He went on to found his own temple in the Midwest, bringing Peter with him to train the boy.
Caine's temple was attacked and destroyed in 1978. Though both Peter and his father survived, neither was aware of the other's survival. A few years later, Peter was taken in by the Blaisdells.
Fifteen years after the temple was destroyed, Peter and his father were reunited.
Intriguingly enough, it appears Kermit Griffin may have been given the opportunity to become an Invisible Man himself. He was one of the candidates considered by The Agency for Project: Quicksilver's first human test (insert link to http://www.pjfarmer.com/secret/invisible/im9.htm here). When he learned (through hacking the Agency's computers) what the project involved, he turned down the offer, saying, "Don't you think there have been *enough* invisible Griffins?"
It begs the question of who knew how much of Kermit Griffin's ancestry.
Did Kermit know he was related to the invisible Griffins, or was he merely referring to the numerous accounts of them? Was The Agency aware of the relationship, and how did they learn of it?
We may never know.
This reinforces the ties between the Griffin and Wold Newton families, and also brings KF:TLC into the Wold Newton Universe (I've noted the original Kwai Chang Caine was listed, but not his grandson or great-grandson.).
© 2005 by B. R. Taylor