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The Missing Fortune of Mr. Bird
Charlotte Veronika Rubsamen was born in Bonn, Germany in 1896 and immigrated to America in her early 20s to settle in the District. Once here, she married an American, Walter M. Bird. Walter Bird set off to fight in WWII, and Charlotte gave birth to a son, Richard. Lucia often inspects the crinkled black and white photos trying to piece together Richard’s childhood, but details are scarce. There is a weathered photo of Mrs. Bird standing by young Richard in the dirt roads of a DuPont circle before Cosi and Starbucks moved in. On the back of the photo, Charlotte wrote to Walter of how fast the city was growing. However, Walter died in the war. Richard followed his father’s footsteps and joined the army in 1948 at the age of 21. After, he ran the Columbia Road Guest House with his mother. (Lucia found Richard’s uniform hanging from the wall, still starched as if it had never been worn.)
Richard never married and ran the guest house with his mother as a low-budget residency. Tenants had their own sink and stove in each room. When his mother died, Richard inherited everything. Around 1992 Richard hired a Russian woman named Irena as a maid and a war veteran as his innkeeper. Though Irina was 30 years younger than Richard, according to journals found by Lucia, she fell in love with him and they entered a common-law marriage. He relocated Irena to Arlington so she could have some privacy, although he did not move with her. On August 8th 2002, Irina had planned to spend the afternoon with Mr. Bird--she received a phone call that he had a heart attack and was not expected to live because of bleeding in his brain. She went to George Washington Hospital where doctors asked for a living relative, but he had none. Richards body stayed in the hospital’s mortuary cold storage because they couldn’t legally intrust him to Irina. It took her two months to get him out then properly bury him with his mother and father in Arlington Cemetery.
Stained photos of his childhood, clothes, tax documents, social security information, and books of pro-Hitler propaganda, the Rosans own everything but an unclaimed fortune.
A DC detective contacted Lucia for information on a blood line. Mail still appears at American Guest House with his name. The government has searched DC and Germany for an heir without avail. Richard Bird’s trust remains unclaimed, but Lucia continues to find pieces of his life within the four story house, as if he never left. Please contact American Guest House with any information.
American Guest House
Page Updated Last on: Jan 30, 2015