Posts Tagged ‘cousins’
Several years ago, our family reconnected with my cousin, Shirley Wolfe Cameron. Since Shirley and her family moved away from Casper many years ago, we had lost touch with her, and so I didn’t really know much about her except for during her teen years and once after she was married. The teenage years are not much to go on when it comes to what kind of a person someone is, because as most adults will admit, the teenage years find many of us mad at the world, and often most of the people in it. Oh, we all have our good days and bad days, but as teenagers, often the bad days far outweigh the good days. Since Shirley was a few years see than I was, I’m also quite sure that I was a huge annoyance. When it comes to teenagers and adolescents, I’m not sure who is more obnoxious…but I know that I had a well tuned ability to be irritating.
Now that we are both adults, our relationship is so different. Looking through adult eyes, I can see what a wonderful person Shirley is. She has a heart of gold and she is such a generous person. I find myself feeling so very blessed to have her back in my life, because she is such a sweetheart. It’s funny that people can grow up so far away from each other, and yet have so many views and ideas that are exactly the same. I don’t know how that happens, but for us it did. I am so often amazed at how many things Shirley and I agree on…good upbringing, I guess. Shirley’s mom and my dad were sister and brother, and I’m sure that would account for the many similarities there are.
Shirley and I have such a good relationship now, and one that warms my heart every time I think about her, or see her Facebook posts…and that would make it every day. She always puts a smile on my face, and since we agree on everything political, we can get each other pretty hyped up when it comes to things that are just wrong. Today is Shirley’s birthday. I love having you back in my life, Shirley, and I know that the whole family feels the exact same way. Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
On this, the 130th anniversary of the arrival of my great grandfather, Carl Ludwig Theodor Schumacher in the United States, I have been thinking about how it must have felt for him. He had made the most difficult decision to leave his homeland at the very young age of 25, and board the SS Gellert, leaving from Hamburg, Germany on April 6, 1884 to start a new life, far away from his parents and family in the United States of America. He had been reading letters from his uncle and cousins about how wonderful America was, and in particular, how wonderful Minnesota was, since he was 18, and he had made up his mind to go. He would work seven long years taking care of the horses of a wealthy landowner to earn the $50.00 needed to pay his fare. He knew that travel by ship across the Atlantic could be dangerous, and he might be very homesick for his family, but he was determined to go. He knew, also that it would take years of hard work to build the American Dream that he had in mind for his life. My great grandfather would be successful in building his American Dream, but today my thoughts go not to thinking of his dreams, but rather to how he must have felt as he made such a life change.
A young man of 25 years is really not so grown up that a move half a world away doesn’t feel scary. That kind of a move would be a daunting experience for anyone, no matter how old they are. And then to arrive at a place like Ellis Island, or in my grandfather’s case, Castle Garden, since the Ellis Island facility wasn’t built until 1892…not really knowing what you would be put through before you would be allowed to enter the United States. Many people were required to Americanize their names, so it would be easier for them to fit in…forever altering their identity. That was the case for my great grandfather, when his name was changed from Schuhmacher to Schumacher. Still, the immigrants felt like this was a small sacrifice to make for the gain of the American Dream, and in fact, many immigrants felt like that name change was like a rite of passage into this great country.
Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel that my grandfather must have felt some level of sadness at the change of his name, even though he would use it again when he was married. Still, the census records, and other records show it as Schumacher, thus muddying the waters when it comes to genealogy records. I don’t suppose that was the thing my great grandfather was thinking about as he waited for his turn at Castle Garden on April 21, 1884, but as my mind looks back in time to that day that would end up being so very important to my life, it is something that definitely occurs to me. My great grandfather had been through so much to come to this new land filled with opportunity, and I’m quite certain that the overwhelming changes must have made him quite weary, but as he arrived in Minnesota and began the work of building that dream, I suppose that all of the uncertainty of the journey to get where he was, became simply a distant memory. He was home…the home of his dreams.
At bowling last night, I was reminded of the early years of bowling for us and our kids. Bob and I started bowling when our girls, Corrie and Amy were three and two years old. Since we enjoyed bowling so much, we knew they would too, so we started them on a bowling league at Sunrise Lanes when they were six and five years old. The league was short on coaches, so I took the class to become a coach, and I became the coach of the younger children on the league. After a couple of years, the league at Sunrise Lanes dwindled down to just a few, and the league at Eagle Bowl needed bowlers and a coach, so we made the move to Eagle Bowl. Little did we know that the move to Eagle Bowl would change so many things, not only for us and our girls, but really for my whole family. Connections were made that we would cherish for the rest of our lives.
As it turned out, one team that really needed bowlers was two little girls…sisters, named Jaime and Jackie Morton. They were about the same age as Corrie and Amy, and they got along well. The four girls bowled together for a number of years, and then my nephew, Barry Schulenberg decided to bowl on the league. I told Donna, Jaime and Jackie’s mom, that Corrie and Amy were going to bowl with their cousins that year. She seemed disappointed, but asked if I had a team for Jaime and Jackie. I told her, “Yes, they are bowling with Corrie and Amy.” Confused now, she said, “I thought they were going to bowl with their cousins.” When I told her they were, she was completely baffled, and with good reason.
I finally had to break down and tell her something about her daughters that she didn’t know. Seriously, how often can someone else tell you something about your young daughters that you didn’t know. Nevertheless, I was able to do just that, because when I had mentioned Ted and Donna Morton to my mom, she was surprised, and she told me who they were. I explained to Donna that Corrie and Amy were Jaime and Jackie’s cousins. She was shocked, until I explained that her husband, Ted’s grandmother Gladys Pattan Byer Cooper, was my grandmother, Harriet Pattan Byer’s sister. Not only that, but Ted’s grandfather, Theodore Byer was my grandfather, George Byer’s brother, making us double second cousins, because my grandmother and her sister had married my grandfather and his brother. That made our girls double third cousins. So while the girls did bowl with my nephew, Barry, who was their cousin, that year, we all found out that they had been bowling with cousins all along.
My grand nephew, Weston is the oldest son of my niece, Machelle Moore, and her husband Steve. Coming from a family of tall people, Weston is a tall, broad shouldered kid…the exact kind of kid a football coach likes to have when it comes to defending the quarterback. When Weston was in Casper last weekend to celebrate his great grandmother’s birthday, I had a chance to visit with him for a while. The first thing he told me about was that he plays football, and that he likes the game. Of course, games are a big part of Weston’s life…like most kids his age, and many adults. Computer games have taken the lead over any other type of game for most people. Whether you play on the internet against other people, or on the computer, by yourself. It seems to be the wave of the future…and one I have pretty much shunned. Weston, on the other hand has embraced it, and is from what I hear pretty good at the games.
Like most boys his age, Weston is into cars. He can’t drive yet, of course, but he is checking out all the possibilities when it comes to the type of ride he will choose. He is now just one year away from getting that all important permit that will put his parents nerves on edge…for a while at least. Checking out Weston’s Facebook page, you would find monster truck type vehicles, as well as the muscle car type. That is so typical of so many guys. The ride is what it’s all about. I mean, a bicycle is simply not a chick magnet!! If a guy wants to attract the girls, he is going to have to have a car the girls want to ride in.
Like many people from Wyoming, Weston likes the great outdoors. Hunting, fishing, and camping are among the awesome things to do here, and Weston has a great time doing all three, especially when he gets to go with his friend and now cousin, Riley. The boys don’t get to see each other very much since Riley’s move to Casper, but whenever they are together, they are sill best friends. They like to do the same things, and play many of the same games. I’m sure the move has been a little hard on them, because they were such good friends, so I am happy that the are both on Facebook now, so they can keep in touch again. Today is Weston’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
For some time now, I have been trying to find any information on the family of my Great Grandma Henriette Hensel Schumacher. The pictures we have of Grandma’s immediate family, which includes my grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer, always seem to include two cousins. We know that their names are Anna Schubring and Laura Kurth. We don’t know if those are maiden names or married names, and that makes this harder. Recently, I found a picture of a family, and I believe that the oldest girl is Laura Kurth. The other girls did not exactly look like Anna Schubring, but I thought that possibly this family was my great grandmother’s sisters family. She was the sister that my grandmother came to America with, and since her first husband died, and she remarried and had more children, That could explain the difference in the two girls features.
Last night I stumbled upon a little bit more information. The girls are not sisters, or even half sisters, as I had originally thought they might be. My sister, Cheryl thought that the father in the family picture looked a bit like our Great Grandfather Carl Schumacher, and thought he could be his brother. I now believe that she is right in that. What I found is a page from my Uncle Bill’s family history, but it wasn’t with the rest of his history books…it was in some pictures he had sent to my cousin, Tracey Schumacher-Inglimo’s family. This picture tells us that Anna Schubring is the daughter of one of Great Grandma Henriette Hensel Schumacher’s sister and that she came from Canada. Anna could possibly be the daughter of the sister that my great grandmother came to America with, whose husband died a short time later, and she remarried and had more children. Having a step father could also be part of the reason that Anna spent so much time with her Aunt Henriette’s family. Sometimes the step parent situation doesn’t work out so well for some of the children. If Anna is that child, then she has a sibling that would be from that first marriage too, but we don’t really have any information on that.
Laura Kurth is also a cousin, but on the Schumacher side, so Cheryl is probably right in that she thought the father in the family picture looked like our great grandfather, Carl Schumacher’s side of the family. Cheryl also thought that Anna looked older than Laura, so she might be correct in that too. Laura’s family lived in the Mazeppa, Minnesota area, which might explain why she spent a lot of time with her Aunt Henriette and Uncle Carl’s family…not to mention that she and my grandma, Anna Schumacher Spencer were fairly close in age. I am also assuming that Kurth was Laura’s married name, and that her dad was the Schumacher brother, but I could be mistaken in that too, and it could be that her mother was the blood relation to my great grandfather. I may never find out for sure just how these cousins fit into our family, but I will most likely not stop looking until I do find out. Nevertheless, these pictures lad me to believe that my great grandparents were very close to their siblings, even if there is a sense of mystery to my family and their elusive ancestors too.
Whenever our cousins came to visit from Wisconsin, we always had such a great time. Hanging out in Uncle Bill’s bus, playing in the yard, playing cribbage, going for ice cream, or just hanging out with the cousins…it didn’t matter what exactly, just that they were here to visit again. We felt that way about all of our out of town cousins. In fact, the only thing that was bad about those visits was the end of them, and it always came too soon. I’m one of those people who really hates to say goodbye, especially when I know it will be for a long time. If I had my way, all those people that I love would live in the same town.
When it was time for them to begin the journey home, everyone tried to lighten the mood. We did goofy little things to make each other laugh, even though we were all sad. Of course, we had to take the pictures that last day too, because we wanted something to remember each other by, until the next time we got to see each other. There was still so much to say, and everyone wanted to talk at once, hoping to get just a few more moments with the cousins. A week just isn’t enough time to spend with your cousins. We promised to write to them more often, even though we had promised before and did for a while, and then got busy with our own lives again. I think we knew that writing wasn’t really going to happen, as we promised. Finally it was time to go, and all that was left was the hugging and waving goodbye, and the wishing that the week was just starting, instead of ending. Life seemed a little more mundane after they left. We had to think of things to do, and nothing seemed interesting now. Even the things we had done when they were here were less interesting.
The sad thing is that as we grow older, and have families of our own, sometimes those relationships are lost and become distant, because everyone is so busy. Seldom do the kids get together they way they did when they lived at their parent’s home. Families grow apart, and then comes the point when they almost don’t feel comfortable sitting down to talk, because they don’t know what to say to each other. They have both lived such different lives, with little in common, and it just gets awkward. Soon, it’s just easier to forgo the visits all together. Then comes the moment when the cousin or their parents pass away, and you feel bad because you have been out of touch for so long…and you feel great regret, but it is too late. I wish I had more time with all my cousins and I’m thankful for Facebook, which has reconnected so many of us virtually, and that is the next best thing to being there.
Kids have always tried to use things around them as props in their games. Things like boxes, barrels, and even a little taller hill become the prop of the day. When I saw this picture of Bob’s brother, Ron, his cousins, Danny and Sandy, and a neighbor girl playing on four oil drums, all I could think was “Roll out the barrel, and we’ll have a barrel of fun.” Of course, that is the “Beer Barrel Polka” song, which was composed by the Czechoslovakian musician Jaromír Vejvoda in 1927, and really had nothing to do with a child’s game at all, but the words seemed so fitting in the case of the game the kids were obviously playing. The barrels must have either had something in them, or been pretty heavy in their own right, because it doesn’t appear that they wanted to roll around on the kids. Still, in my imagination, I could see them racing down the driveway to see who would get to the finish line first. It doesn’t really matter what they were doing with the barrels, because it is obvious that they thought being up on them was great fun. If they looked back now, they would probably wonder how such an inanimate object, with no moving parts and no flashing lights, could possibly have held their interest, but you must understand that their childhood was a time of no computers, cell phones, or video games…at least for a few more years, so they used their imaginations to have fun.
The same applies to the game “King of the Hill”, which was of course to see who could dominate the hill and keep everyone else from being able to get up it. Of course, I don’t think that is exactly what my Aunt Laura and her friend were playing either, but it did, nevertheless appear that Aunt Laura had managed to acquire the taller of the two little hills, thus making her the King…so to speak. Whatever the game was that the girls were playing, the two little hills figured into it enough to make my grandmother want to take their picture as a memory of the occasion. Here again, the girls had used the things available to them to make for a day of fun. Kids used to be able to do that. Without video games and texting, and with parents who didn’t let them watch television all day, or without television at all, the imagination was the way to have fun. It really seems to be a lost art today. Kids don’t used their imaginations much these days, because all the stuff in their head is fed in electronically. That’s really quite sad, when you think about it.
So often, we take many of the people in our lives for granted. We just assume that they will always be there, and never consider the events in their past that…were it not for the grace of God, would have taken their lives, possibly before we even knew them. That is the case with my Uncle George. Were it not for the grace of God, he would have been killed in action in World War II, before he ever had the chance to meet and marry my Aunt Evelyn, becoming father of my cousins, and an uncle to me and the rest of the cousins. Uncle George, like my dad, my Uncle Larry, Uncle Wayne, and many other young men of that era, served his country during World War II. Many people serve in the wars our country has been involved in, and many people are injured and killed every day as a result of their service in our wars. In that way, Uncle George is not an unusual statistic, but what is unusual is that Uncle George survived…a head injury!!! He has had a plate in his head since that injury, but in every other way, he has lead a normal life.
People who don’t know about a situation, which was me concerning my Uncle George…until recently when I came across the Wyoming Wounded List where his name appears, usually assume that the person they know, and have known all their lives, was never wounded. Little did I know how very wrong I was. I knew that Uncle George has been in the Navy in World War II, but that was all I knew about his war history, and I only knew that because of a picture of my Aunt Evelyn, Uncle George, and my parents attending the Military Ball. You see, like most of the men who fought in World War II and probably many other wars too, Uncle George never spoke of those days. It was like he either wanted to forget, or more likely that he thought he had simply done his duty and it was no big thing, because he came home after all. Many military men feel that way. They think the heroes are the ones who died for their country, but that is not the only way to be a hero. Just going into battle, makes them a hero!!
After learning about my Uncle George’s injuries from World War II, I feel so much more blessed to have Uncle George in my life. Thinking that, but for the grace of God, he would never have been my uncle, makes that blessing very clear to me, and I thank God for his life and for making him my uncle. I can’t imagine our family without him in it, and I know everyone else agrees with me too. Today is Uncle George’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle George!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
In the months since connecting with so many of my cousins on the Schumacher side of the family, we have found out that one of the original six children of Carl and Albertine Schumacher was not represented among the cousins. I set out with renewed determination to see if I could find out more than the little bit of information we had, which is that Mina Schumacher married John Spare, and they had one daughter, Pauline Jessie Spare. Someone thought that Pauline had two daughters and two sons. That was pretty much the extent of our knowledge of Mina’s family. Then I came across a tree on Ancestry.com that had a little bit more information. I found out at that time, that very sadly, Pauline had passed away in June of 2013. That information left me feeling both sadness, and great loss, because we had been so close to finding her and yet, we were so far. We were too late to have the chance to know Pauline.
I felt like I was stuck. I went back to the family tree that I had found on Pauline, and looked at the name of the owner…Julie Carlberg. We had thought that Pauline’s children were John, Lisa, Kristin, and Timothy, but when I looked at the home person on this tree, it was the daughter of Pauline. I wondered if Lisa, whose middle initial is J might be this Julie. I sent a message through Ancestry to Julie, but then I noticed that she had not been on in a couple of months. Then, I decided to look on Facebook, and I found her there, but she doesn’t get on there much either. Nevertheless, through a combination of these two places and the information I found there, I was able to Google her and found a work email…which is where I hit the jackpot!!!
I sent her an email on Monday night, and could hardly wait until Tuesday to see if she would respond…which she did. I am very excited to say that the cousin search just took a great big upward turn. Not only did I find Pauline, who went by Paula, but I found her four children, Lisa and her children, Jenny and James; John, his wife Diane, and their daughters, Allison and Abigail; Kristen and her sons, Jonathan and Timothy (yes there is a Timothy in the bunch, just not a son, but a grandson); and of course, Julie, her husband Andrew, and their three children Kevin, David, and Kendra. Julie was able to confirm that a picture of a little girl, who after a little thought I had suspected might be Pauline, was indeed Pauline, and that a large copy of this picture had hung in Pauline’s room. I also received a much more updated picture of Pauline, along with Julie and her daughter, Kendra. So now I believe that our family is much closer to coming full circle from complete disconnect to very connected, and I am very excited about getting to know these newly found cousins. This has been such a wonderful journey, and I thank God for each and every one of the precious cousins that He has now connected.
Many men and women have served in the military over the centuries, since the United States became a nation, and in the years that we fought for our independence. The weapons they used are as varied as they are, but no less deadly to the enemy. Their uniforms are different, and some may seem very strange to us, but each is easily recognizable as a military uniform, and you knew that they had served their country. Each has made the sacrifice…leaving loved ones behind at home, to go off and fight in a battle that in many cases didn’t seem like it was their own, yet they had to go, because they couldn’t leave those oppressed people to battle on their own, because they knew it was a battle they could not win alone. They went, because it was a matter of duty. It was a duty they could not ignore…their hearts would not let them ignore.
Today’s military is not a required job, there is no draft, although there could be if it became necessary, and our young men are required to register for the draft when they turn eighteen, just in case a draft became necessary. Nevertheless, today’s military men and women choose to take on the causes of a war ridden world, because they can’t bear to leave a people or nations unprotected. That takes a special kind of person…that one who puts themselves in harm’s way…by choice. They are a person to be admired and respected. I don’t say that those who do not join have done anything wrong, because they have not, but like the police officer, EMT, and fire fighter, this unique group of men and women have taken up a cause, and made it their own.
My dad, and many of my aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and cousins fall into that category of military personnel, and I am proud of each and every one of them for all they have done to make this world a little bit safer place. Their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed, nor will it ever be forgotten. Today, I want to thank all veterans everywhere, living and dead, for the sacrifice you have made to give me and all other Americans the freedoms that we enjoy, and to make this world a little bit safer for all the people who live in it. I know I can’t picture all of you, as you so richly deserve, but know that you are remembered, whether you are pictured here or not. Thank you all for your service!! God bless each and every one of you!!