Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day...

It's been a few weeks since my last update because all of my efforts were directed to put the finishing touches on my latest book. More details on the book on later updates, however it is now at the printer and I have a sense of relief I have not experienced in months. How glorious that I can reflect and relax on Memorial Day.

My Memorial Day updates are some of my favorites over the past two years. Its always been a day of remembrance and gratitude. I am grateful to have finished my book and to remember the joy of retracing my steps in Argentina...just one of my many paths in retracing my ancestry.

I also try to learn something new every Memorial Day. In the past, I focused on World War II and my Dad and Uncle's service in the Navy and Marines respectively. Yet, Memorial Day began after the Civil War. And I never understood why, when I moved from Wisconsin to Tennessee, the people I lived with in Nashville, never took too kindly to the holiday. That was, until I read David Holzel's Ten Facts About Memorial Day. Here is the link to his mental_floss column and I am sure you will learn something about Memorial Day as I did.

So, I relax and recoup today. Then I start the next journey which is to Medicine Hat, Alberta. I want to savor my plans for the trip, do as much research ahead of time, and look forward to reuniting with many friends.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day and may your memories be graced with the gratitude which comes from age and wisdom. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Desert Blooms in Cooper Commons...Happy Mother's Day!

I walked out the front door at 6 a.m., camera in hand to photograph the beautiful flowers in my subdivision. I think you will agree this was the perfect way to start my day. When I arrived back at my house, I planted three new cactus next to the driveway. Now on to drawing and relaxing with my girls.

Can you see the spider web protected in this cactus?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Roswita Niessner shares her story

At the Foothills Library in Glendale, Arizona, Roswita Niessner shared her story at the Spring meeting of the Arizona Sun Chapter today.

Roswita traced the establishment of the Moravians in 1770 to the devastation of her small hometown in Upper Silesia, Germany during World War II. Her story parallels some of the plights similar to the German Russians as the war split families and forced evacuations from Germany to Prague to Austria.

After their flight out of Upper Silesia, they settled in what was to become Eastern Germany. Through her own efforts, she managed to relocate to West Germany, Scotland, back to West Germany and ultimately, Roswita married Bob Niessner and settled in America.

Roswita provided us with a new slant on WWII from the perspective of one in Germany. The starvation, fear and attacks from the Russians on the east, and the American, French and British on the west, gave us an inside look at how the Germans, who share our ancestry, experienced the war right in their homes.

Her story prompted many good questions and I know we look forward to hearing more on her personal recollection of the volatile time in history.

AHSGR Arizona Sun meeting today...

It's off to the Foothills Library for the Arizona Sun meeting which starts at 1 p.m. I'm looking forward to see good friends, learnof news on our genealogical searches, and hear Roswita Niessner speak about growing up as a German Russian in Germany.

Roswita has a unique history among German Russians. Most who survived the famines and the Bolsheviks came to the Americas. Others who remained in Russia were sent to Siberian work camps. I am interested to hear of her experiences and will be sure to write about it when I return.

On a bittersweet note, two longstanding members of our organization, Herb Babitzke and Golden Purvis, have passed away since our last meeting. I did not have the opportunity to know Golden well, but Herb was instrumental in encouraging my involvement with this organization and I shall be forever grateful. Both of these men are greatly missed. The Arizona Sun Chapter sends our condolences to both of their families.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Convention Update

Besides the usual sites for the International Convention of Germans from Russia, there is a new blog which will provide up to the minute news on the convention. More details on the speakers, topics and workshops will be added over the next few weeks.

Be sure to check it out and come back frequently for updates. I know many of my friends are looking forward to reuniting in Medicine Hat.