Monthly Archives: October 2015

Piggy Back RideAs small children, most of us have no fear of things…at least not in the early years, before bedtime monsters tend to show up. We instinctively know that our parents will take care of us. Of course, part of it is that we don’t understand the possible dangers around us, and part of it…a major part is because, we simply trust that our parents are well able to keep us safe. It is a matter of trust. Things like going into a pool or lake with our parents seemed like no big deal, although if we had known, we would have realized that they were watching us like a hawk, making sure that we stayed safe. Most of us don’t really fully understand that until we have our own kids.

Like my sister, Cheryl Masterson and me, most kids think their dad can do anything. If you will notice, even though I am in back of Cheryl, and much lower on Dad’s back, my face shows no fear. I knew that my daddy would not let me fall. Somehow in his big strong hands, he had a hold on Cheryl’s hands, as well as my hands and feet. I was not afraid. In fact, I was smiling, as was Cheryl. We always knew that we could trust our dad to be there for us…not just as children, but all through our lives…for as long as he lived, we knew that he would do whatever it took to take care of us and to keep us safe. What a wonderful feeling that is. Trust…that is what it’s all about.

I think that for most kids, their dad is their first super hero figure. Like Superman or Batman, we think that they will always rush to the rescue, and they always will do their very best to be there. None of us wants to accept the fact that there might come a day when our parents can’t be there for us, whether it is because they life far away, or they live in Heaven. Most of us hope that day never comes, but if it must, then we hope we are grown adults, because we don’t want to live without them ever, but especially not as kids. Nevertheless, Swimming with Daddysomeday that day will come, and then we have to hope that the lessons we learned from our super hero parents will carry us through the changes in our own lives.

By then many of us have our own children or even grandchildren, and we have spent a number of years being the super hero for them. It is just a part of the journey we all take through this life. What we learn from our parents, we pass on to our kids, who pass it on to their kids. We can only hope that the lessons we pass along are of great value, and that we are worthy of the trust that our little ones place in us. I think that most of us are the kind of parent who deserves to be looked up to. I know that my own parents certainly were, and as I think of them, I feel a sense of pride and yes, still trust. I trust the lessons they taught me to shape me to be the kind of person they knew I should be. I have tried to train my children to be the kind of people my parents were…and the kind of person I am trying to be. It’s a matter of trust.

Denny FredrickI’ve been spending some very enjoyable time emailing with my cousin, Dennis Fredrick lately, and the subject of Great Aunt Bertha Schumacher Hallgren’s journal came up again. That is all it takes for me to decide that I need to read it again. I can’t get over the draw that journal has on me. Every time I read it again, something more jumps out at me. Another little tidbit of her amazing personality, because you see, my Great Aunt Bertha was an amazing person. She had the ability to see things around her in a deeper and sometimes, different way than others. Her curious mind wondered about the events taking place, and their impact on the future. And she had a foresight that many people just don’t have. I love her vision.

I didn’t get very far…the first page, in fact…before something new jumped out. She was talking about the dislike many people have of history, and how few want to write about it, except when it comes to family history. I think that is probably because they feel somehow connected to the events of the past, when they think about the fact that their ancestors lived those events. She talked about the idea of people writing about family histories taking off, and becoming a vast project that connected many people. She mentioned that, if writing about family history ever became popular to a wide scale, future generations could read about them centuries from now. Sometimes, I wonder what she would think of her idea of family history studies on a wide scale, because that is exactly what we have these days. Maybe, she could see a bit into the future, and in her mind envision events that were going to come about, much like Jules Verne did with some of his writings.

She encourages people to add to with family history, the human side, because without it, the history becomes dry reading of statistics with no heart to it. Great Aunt Bertha felt that we were living in amazing times at the time of her journal, and while many people would think she meant the 1800s, she did not. She was talking about 1980. I lived through the 1980s, and I can’t say that I ever felt like they were anything so special, but Bertha Schumacher Hallgrenlooking back now, I think about the man that many of us consider to be the greatest president we have ever had, Ronald Reagan. Those were days of recovery from the tense days of the 1970s and the big government we had then. They were days when taxes were cut, and government was limited, and things began to get better. The Cold War was winding down, and we saw the Berlin Wall come down at Reagan’s insistence. Thinking back I can see that Great Aunt Bertha was right. The 1980s were amazing days, but then so are many other times in our nation’s history. We just have to look at those days and realize that each generation has its greatness. That was the kind of thing my great aunt saw, but as I said, she saw deeper into a situation than most people saw, and she also saw the value of the insight she found by looking deeper.

098Farmville, VAMy sister, Cheryl Masterson has collected post cards for a long time. For some people, I suppose that might see an odd thing to collect, but when you think about it, they are easy to store and to look back on, and they instantly give you a picture of the place you are visiting, and usually it is a better picture that you could take yourself. Of course, these days, with digital cameras, we can take pretty good pictures, but it isn’t easy to print and mail them. Then again, we have to ability to upload them to Facebook, Twitter, and email, so most of us probably wouldn’t mail them anyway. Nevertheless, just about every gift shop you come across has post cards, and they seem to sell pretty quickly.

Post cards first made their appearance in Austria on this day, October 1, 1869. They were the world’s first postcards, and I’m sure that no one would have ever guessed what an impact they would have on the world. They weren’t something to improve national security, or improve the quality of life, or really to do anything special, other than to allow the purchaser to send a quick note to their family back home to show them what they were doing on their vacation. Nevertheless, they were new and fun.

As I look through old family pictures from my family and from Bob’s, I have come across a number of postcards that were sent or received, that the family found interesting enough to save for all these years. I always wondered why they would want to save those post cards and even put them in photo albums, but when you consider that they were still relatively new at the time, I guess it makes sense.

I feel very blessed to have not only the post cards now, but the writing that was on the ones that were sent to someone. It gives you not only a feel for the times, but also for what they were doing at the time. Our families clear back to the 1800s lived in a time when people were moving around a lot, both to move and to vacation…not unlike today, I guess. We are a people who loves to see the things our world has to offer, and then we like to have a little souvenier of our time spent there. I know that when Bob and I traveled to Seattle, Washington, I came back with tons of pictures, and several souveniers. It is just the way we do things.

I think that whoever came up with idea to start taking some of the great pictures people took and putting them img216024on a card that other people could enjoy and send to family, really had a great idea. And it is my guess that they made a lot of money for their great idea. For my sister Cheryl, they have been a great source of joy. She can have all the great pictures, even if she is not able to get to the exact same place to take them. For me, I guess, I would rather go get the pictures myself, but not everybody can do that, so post cards are a great souvenier to have.