Sunday, August 31, 2008
The book Zemaitis Family History by James Zemaitis Smith arrived late last week. At two inches thick and spiral bound, I quickly glanced through the pages. Jim's research is incredible. He has accumulated a tremendous amount of data and a multitude of photographs, many of which I've never seen filled with many people I recognize.
The first pages I opened were to pages 129-130.These pages became my immediate favorite because it was a recap of my great-grandfather's 85th birthday. In the past I've seen one picture of my great-grandfather and a few of my grandmother and grandfather. I never knew what great-grandfather looked like until a year ago when I found a picture of him from another cousin in Sheboygan. Now I have a second picture which includes both of my mother’s parents I so this book is a great treasure. Sometimes good things come out of the blue. The picture includes Philip Reimer, Fred Herzog and Sophie Reimer Herzog plus Sophie's sisters taken on November 24, 1939.
The group is in the front yard of the home in which my mother grew up on Superior Ave. in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Bundled in their winter coats, anyone can tell it is a cold day in November yet their eyes squint from the afternoon sunshine.
Jim included a clipping of the newspaper article from The Sheboygan Press which listed all of the guests. My mother was listed as Doris age 12. The article also mentioned “they served chicken dinner.” Apparently, eighty-five years is an age for celebration and food always dominates a German-Russian get-together.
So, I have much more to review and continue to ask my Mother when she returns in to Arizona this winter. Sometimes the best things happen when you have no clue what's coming.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
1) The trip is a two week commitment. In corporate America, two weeks away can be career suicide.
2) It's a foreign country, and my Spanish "ist nicht so gut."
3) The flight to Argentina is a minimum 14 hours in the air.
Now let's consider the pros:
1) Argentina is home to many German Russians who moved there in the late 1800s. Once there, they established villages and used the same names of their Russian colonies for their new homes. My ancestors came from Mariental and there is a town called Mariental in Argentina. Could there be family there?
2) One of my good friends from the Arizona Sun Chapter has planned to go to Argentina since we first heard of the trip last year.
3) The schedule includes a stay in Buenos Aires, and visits to the historical immigrant museum, tango show and German Russian homes in Entre Rios.
4) A fabulous tour of Iguazu falls. Check out the video clip below and you will see what I mean.
After much internal debate and contemplation, I decided to travel with the group. Now I can hardly wait to get there.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
One friend shared some Sicilian family history which ironically mirrored stereotypes of an Italian family. This individual is quite a far cry from those realities, yet the history stirred memories and events long forgotten. These memories generated more stories until my daughter shared some of her recollections of visiting her grandparents in Wisconsin.
Her detailed memories included aromas and how the house looked to her as a small child were incredibly fun to hear. Children see life differently because their priorities to do match adult priorities. And, thank goodness! She helped me to remember much I have stored away but have not recorded. Which brings up my point for today.
My daughter is only sixteen but she needs to write down these thoughts and memories. Her grandfather has been gone for six years, yet the ten years she knew him can fade fast. What I heard last night needs to be captured so she can readily share these stories with her children and grandchildren. Writing her stories will make it that much more memorable and embedded in her mind. I will continue to encourage her to do so, in between homework, tennis and the other activities that occupy her.
I might even become a pest, nagging her to do so. And, if she doesn't, I will continue to create phenomenal meals as a bribe to hear more memories until she succumbs and records her history on her own.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Saturday, August 02, 2008
At our luncheon meeting today, the Arizona Sun Chapter was acknowledged for our thirty year anniversary. I received our award from Jerry Siebert and immediately gave two thumbs up to Lew Marquardt, Michael Miller and Dona Reeves-Marquardt. They immediately responded in kind.
During my lunch hour, I met Ray Weinberger. Ray grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Ray contacted me when I was named Journal Editor and we agreed to meet at the convention. I asked earlier in the week if he was registered, but he hadn't arrived at that point. Lew Marquardt pulled us together. Ray shared with me his confirmation picture from Trinity Lutheran Church. In the second or third to last row was my uncle, Fred Bauer who I recognized. Ray did not stay for the lunch, but will meet up with me during the dance. Ray and I sang together at the group sing along.
My only wish is that he and Don could have met. Maybe next year.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Their discovery center is a phenomenal ways to kids to experience and live art in a well conceived environment. As a museum lover, I applaud allowing kids to experience art their way while I try to experience as an adult.
OK, now I'm caught up on the art trek. Two more days of historical conference to catch up on and only one day of the conference to go!
I couldn't do justice to explain everything Mr. Flegel has done for Germans from Russia, however I will provide a few links for your review including information regarding his recent Ellis Island Medal of Honor award.
Rest assured, there is plenty more to come from Casper.