Monday, January 21, 2008

Now that my football season is over....

I am ready get back to researching and documenting my family history. That is, if I can put the Packer loss to the Giants out of my mind. It may take a couple more days... perhaps even the Super Bowl will have to pass. It will be difficult this year since the Super Bowl will be played in my own back yard in Glendale, Arizona. Let the media frenzy begin without me.

OK, not exactly my back yard, but as close as someone in Arizona gets to the Super Bowl. And, I should be happy for the Manning family history. How many Dads have a son on different teams in two consecutive Super Bowls? But, enough about the Mannings. This year, I am nearly as disappointed as the Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys NFC championship game where my cousin Steve, as quarterback, just missed the Super Bowl. At least Brett Favre had two Super Bowl appearances.

Alas, I did certainly have some great memories as I watched yesterday's game. I remembered the picture in Lombardi's Run to Daylight book of my Dad and Uncle Fred freezing in the Lambeau field stands during the 1967 Ice Bowl. Or, how about seeing Bart Starr as the honorary captain yesterday? My Dad took my sister and I to the training camps for the Packers in the 1960s. To this day I remember how patient and kind and good looking Bart Starr was to all of the kids who wanted his autograph. I waited in line twice and am proud of the two signatures. My red autograph book is filled with names like Ray Nitschke, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung, Max McGee, Lionel Aldridge, and Jim Taylor. I was always jealous of my sister who managed to get Vince Lombardi's signature. I missed him, probably while I chased Bart Starr.

Ok, I guess with memories like these and of the friends and family with whom I have enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday, I suppose I can watch one more football game this season. I may have more memories tied to sports than any other event. What is your favorite sports memory with your family
? Please share with me as we prepare for the Super Bowl and....let the media frenzy begin.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sympathetic symptoms....Part II

Listened to disc 9 of The Worst Hard Time today. Just out of curiosity, have you ever read or listened to a book where you felt so transported in time, you actually experienced sympathetic symptoms? Or, did you ever have a situation like I did last Saturday, when I watched the Packer-Seahawks game, and when I walked outside afterwards, I couldn't believe it wasn't snowing? I would like to hear your stories. The mind is powerful and what we put into it comes out in many different ways.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sympathetic symptoms....

I started to cough today. But, I don't think I am really sick. I believe I have sympathetic symptoms.
Let me explain. The latest audio book I am listening to during my commute is The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. There are 10 discs and I am up to disc 8.
Before listening to this book, I thought I had an idea what the Dust Bowl was. However, I was mistaken. I knew the drought caused problems for farmers, but I had no idea of the scope of the dilemma. Dust pneumonia, death, and anxiety were a way of life in the 1930's in the southern plains. Loss of breath and blindness occurred. There was constant cough through the entire region. Dust infiltrated fields, houses, livestock and people.
A friend recommended this book because some settlers of the Dust Bowl shared my German Russian ancestry. I know my ancestors suffered in Russia. Unfortunately, those who moved to the Oklahoma and Texas experienced the horror of drought and dust.
This book is an outstanding collection of in-depth research which invokes gratitude for every breath you take whether your ancestry revolves around the Dust Bowl or not. My little cough is merely my sympathetic reaction to wanting to clear my lungs as I hear more and more of the dramatic struggle for survival. I will be just fine when I finish disc 10.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Have you turned in your coloring contest entry?

As mentioned last month, Maggie's Adventure Coloring Contest is underway! You can win a $25 gift card for art supplies from Michael's Art and Craft Store and a copy of Maggie Visits Grandpa, A coloring adventure.

By popular demand, new age brackets were added to ensure artists of every age would be included. Age brackets are:
  • Ages 2-5
  • Ages 6-9
  • Ages 10-14
  • Ages 15-18
  • Ages 18-25
  • Over 25

Gather the entire family together for coloring night. It's been proven that coloring spurs creativity and generates the benefits of a meditative state. It's cheaper than therapy and a lot more fun.

Coloring is the ideal vehicle to spark interest in family history and art for kids of all ages. It is a common denominator of all cultures. Have you seen the latest crayola crayons? Not only is color listed in English, but the same word is also labeled in French and Spanish.

And, who couldn't find a fun way to spend $25 at Michael's? Your artistic efforts may just boomerang into more fun and imaginative projects. For full rules and entry form, visit

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Rabbit Rabbit...Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I hope 2008 finds you happy and healthy. If you haven’t already made (or broken) some New Year’s resolutions, I have five ideas to recommend to family historians.

1) Make plans to find a way to learn more about your ancestry. For me, it means attending the annual German from Russian conference. Make your reservations today! I plan to attend the AHSGR/GRHS conference in Casper, Wyoming from July 28 to August 3. This is destined to be a historic event as the two organizations join together for one fabulous event. For more details, visit or

2) Celebrate your ancestry locally! I plan to attend the Arizona Sun Chapter 30 year anniversary meeting. Guest speakers, Lewis R. Marquardt and Dona Reeves-Marquardt, will present “Reminiscences,” highlighting the early years of the chapter as Lew remembers it, and a comparison of the Volga and Black Sea Germans. The meeting is at the Black Forest Mill German Restaurant, 4900 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018 at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 9. All attendees will receive a complementary copy of our 30 year anniversary book entitled Thirty Years in the Desert. Our meal includes the following:
· Beverage including soft drinks, iced tea or coffee
· Caesar Salad or German Potato Soup,
· A choice of entree
o Smothered Chicken
o Jaeger Schnitzel (pork)
o Smoked Pork Chop
· Apple Strudel with Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream.

Cost for the luncheon is $25 which includes tax and gratuity. Please send your paid reservation to Ed Bischoff before January 12th.

3) Resolve to travel to experience more of our world and to learn about our ancestors. For me this means to plan for a trip to Argentina this fall with the AHSGR. The 13 day trip is still in the planning stages. A tentative itinerary was in the latest AHSGR newsletter.

4) In preparation for future travel, resolve to spend an hour or two per week learning or brushing up on a foreign languager. For me, German, Spanish or Russian are natural choices. My plan is to refresh my Spanish skills. Language skills are a wonderful asset as we can help to translate documents and build bridges around the globe for our research efforts.

5) And, last but not least, resolve to track back one more generation of your family history. Retrace your previous steps and look for clues and hints which may not have been obvious the first time around. Recheck entire passenger lists, attend genealogical meetings for additional information, and talk to your fellow researchers. Links can come from any sources and let’s be open to all of the opportunities.

So, as we enter 2008, let’s make this year one of the very best for you. Ich wunsche euchgluckseeliges neujahr, langes leben und gesundkeit, frieden und einigkeit. Happy New Year!