The years of slavery were awful for the African people who were sold into slavery by their own families or their countrymen. They were often stolen in the middle of the night, never to be in their homes again. Some of these slaves were young…some were even children. The terror must have been horrific. Nevertheless, it was what it was. Their life as they knew it was over. The journey to their new “home” was a hard one, and many people didn’t make it. That didn’t matter either, except in the revenue lost…they cared about that.
When the slaves arrived in the colonies, they didn’t have last names, or if they did, no one could really understand the last names. That didn’t matter to the slave sellers or the new master, because once sold, the slaves were given the last name of their masters, if they were given one at all. They were non-people. One must also understand that not all slaves were African. Many slaves came from Ireland too, but
I suppose it was easier to get away from their masters, because they were white too…not that they escaped, because where would they go. They were far away from their home too.
In those days, in Colonial America, slaves could win their freedom through lawsuits. I’m not sure what made them think they had a chance of winning their freedom. First of all, they had no money to get an attorney, and no attorney would have taken the case anyway. They had no way of proving their case, and what would their case have been? There was no code of conduct when it came to slaves. They could be beaten, raped, and even killed by their master. They could be overworked, under fed, and punished at will. There really was no case that could be made…as far as I can see anyway. As I said, there was a slim chance that a slave could bring a case, and even less chance that case. Nevertheless, even with that low chance of succeeding, winning in court meant that the slave was now a citizen. They were free, and no one could dispute that again…legally anyway. The problem now was that these slaves had no last name, and they needed a last name to be a citizen. I seriously doubt they wanted to keep their master’s name. So, to solve the problem, the slaves were given the surname…Freeman. In my genealogist’s mind, there is no greater was to lose the true line of a family than such a name change.
Rolf Mengele was born in March 16, 1944 in Freiburg, Germany to Irene Schoenbein and Dr Joseph Mengele…also known as the Angel of Death, but his father went into hiding after the war, and escaped to Argentina in 1949. Because of this, Rolf grew up in a loving home with his grandparents and his mother. He didn’t meet his father until he was a teenager, because he was told that he was dead.
When he turned 16, Rolf learned that his father was actually alive when Joseph made contact with him. It was an unhappy revelation for him. His father made attempts to bond with him through letters, even writing and illustrating a children’s book for him, but to no avail. His father’s attempts didn’t stop the feelings of disgust he felt about his father’s beliefs and actions. Still, at 16, he felt a curiosity about his dad, and wanted to meet him. Since Joseph Mengele was still wanted by Nazi-Hunters, for his war crimes, it took Rolf 5 years to arrange a trip to Brazil to visit his father.
Rolf had to travel under a stolen passport, but he wanted to go, because he wanted to understand how his father could have been an active participant in the Nazi death machine. He didn’t wait long, after his arrival, to bring up the subject of Auschwitz. His dad immediately became defensive, denying any responsibility for the atrocities, but actually admitting to participating in the nightmare “experiments” that the Jewish people were subjected to. He acted like he was doing them a favor, saying, “What was I supposed to do with those people? They were sick and half-dead when thy arrived.” He tried to tell his son that all he was doing was to determine who was fit to work. He actually claimed to have saved several thousand people by allowing them to work.
After his visit, Rolf found it “impossible to betray his father’ location,” but his feelings of disgust remained with him for the rest of his father’s life. Rolf says, “I didn’t even bother to listen to him or think of his ideas. I simply rejected everything he presented. I will never understand how human beings could do those things. That my father was one of them doesn’t change my opinion.”
Joseph Mengele’s health began to deteriorate in 1972. In 1976 he suffered a stroke. Then on February 7, 1979, he had another stroke while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off of Bertioga, Brazil during a visit with friends. He drown and was buried under the alias of Wolfgang Gerhard, which he had been using since 1971. Rolf abandoned the Mengele name in 1980, taking his wife’s last name to spare his children the burden of their grandfather’s past. Rolf and his family live in Freiburg, Germany, where he is an attorney.
My niece, Jessi Sawdon began her working career in the legal field, as a runner in an attorney’s office. Most kids don’t really have that opportunity so early on, but Jessi was blessed and she was a great employee. She continued on in the legal field until the attorney she was working for at the time retired, and then she decided that it was time for a change, so she went back to school. She has been studying, and together with her husband, Jason and been raising their little girl Adelaide. Being a stay-at-home mom has been very important to Jessi since the birth of her little girl, so I’m sure that going back to college to start a new career was little bit scary too…mostly wondering what a job would bring as far as her mommy life was concerned.
Today, with her studies behind her, Jessi has achieved her Associates Degree in Human Communications, and just started a new job as the Marketing Coordinator for Hinge Studio Marketing and Communications. The business is owned by two of her very good friends, Kerstin and Leah, and the really good news is that Jessi will be working from home. There is nothing better that to have bosses who are also your good friends, and who understand your needs and are willing to work with you to make your mutual dreams come true. I think there are a number of people who would love to be in Jessi’s shoes when it comes to their job, because you don’t have to give up your time with your children for your job. Now I call that working it out!!
Today, with commencement upon her, Jessi is looking forward to marching with her class to receive her degree, and we are all so very proud of her. The studies are behind her now, and it is smooth sailing ahead. Jessi, we are all so proud of you and of all the hard work you have do to achieve your goal. Now with a new career ahead of you, the best is yet to be. Congratulations on your graduation, Jessi!! We love you!!
My older sister is without doubt, one of the nicest people I know. She is always careful of peoples feelings, and is generous to a fault. If she can help someone, she will help them. Cheryl is just a very caring person. She gave up much of her time to take care of our parents when they were ill, and often takes her youngest granddaughter, Aleesia for the evening, so that her parents can go to the summertime activities in downtown Casper with their sons. I’m sure that one day Aleesia will choose to go with them, but he loves her grandma very much and loves spending time with her.
Cheryl is a legal secretary for Williams, Porter, Day and Neville legal firm, and works for one of the busiest attorneys there, often working late hours to get everything done that needs to be done that day. She is very good at her job, and the attorney she works for has said that he would be lost without her, and really wishes she could see her way clear to refusing such things as vacation, because it is a real hardship for him when she is gone. Nevertheless, he has to persevere, because everyone needs a vacation.
Cheryl is a big fan of old movies or chic flicks, and so every Thursday night, she and I go to dinner with her daughter, Liz, and then we go back to her house and watch a movie. She and I don’t always agree on what makes a good movie, but usually we do. She has pretty good taste in movies…once you get away from things like “The Sound of Music” anyway. I know she would roll her eyes at me on that one, but there are just some shows that I can’t get into. Nevertheless, she got me going on the “Love Comes Softly” series, and “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” both of which I really enjoy. That sister time is really important to both of us, as we are very close, and we like to keep it that way. We have been good friends (and sisters) all our lives, and we don’t see any reason to change that now. Today is Cheryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Cheryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I don’t think that we spend very much time considering the importance of words in our lives, and yet, they are a vital part of our lives. Whether we speak the words, sign the words, write the words, or type the words, words are a vital part of communication. We are isolated without them, and we are indeed, isolated when we don’t understand them or know their meaning. When the United States was first formed…a melting pot of people from different countries…all with different languages. Communication under those circumstances if difficult at best, and often impossible. People tend to stick to their own family and friends from their country, so they can talk to each other. Eventually, through trial and error, people began to learn the chosen language of the United States…English.
Still, there are many words, and if you don’t know their meaning, or don’t know how to spell them, communication again becomes stalled, and isolation sets in. I think that might have been what Noah Webster had in mind, when he decided to publish his American Dictionary of the English Language. Noah Webster was a Yale educated attorney who had a huge interest language and education. He decided that people needed a way to learn to speak better, to know the meanings of words, and to know how to spell them, so on this day in 1818, he published his first dictionary. His dictionary was unique in that it was one of the first lexicons to include distinctly American words. Over the years, it has had to be changed, simply because as new things are invented, there have to be words invented to describe them. That makes the dictionary an ever changing book that would need to be updated often.
Noah’s dictionary took more that two decades to complete, and in it were 10,000 “Americanisms”…words that were unique to America. The dictionary standardized English spelling, a process that started as early as 1473, when printer William Caxton published the first book printed in English. The fact that dictionaries were printed so quickly and dictionaries were updated so often, resulted in increasingly standardized spellings by the mid 1800s. Coincidentally, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language was published almost exactly 63 years earlier, on April 15, 1755. Nevertheless, Webster’s dictionary quickly became the standard, and without it, the English language would not be the amazing language it is today. I never really gave much thought to language or words in general, until I began writing on a regular basis, and discovered my love of words.