As I was researching some of the latest Ancestry.com hints for my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s side of our family tree, I came across another name that sounded familiar to me. Having been all over the family tree countless number of times, I was pretty sure where I had heard the name before. After checking back in my side of the family, I found that Bob and I share a yet another set of great grandparents. John Collamore and Margery Hext are my 11th great grandparents on the Spencer side of my family, and they are also Bob’s 15th great grandparents on the Leary side of his family. I’ve heard it said of several family trees, including my own, that the owner was not looking for fame…they were just tripping over it. That is the case in my tree and in Bob’s. We are related to presidents, princes, pioneers, and other famous people, but in my case, I also keep tripping over my husband’s family.
I have found a connection on the Knox side of the family that makes Bob and I 10th cousins twice removed. Bob’s mother’s maiden name was Knox and since Bob and I are 10th cousins twice removed, his mother is my 10th cousin once removed. It’s odd to think of your mother-in-law also being your 10th cousin once removed. Nevertheless, that is exactly what we are. I suppose that many people would consider that relationship to be enough distant that it would make no difference on all reality, and they might be right in many ways. Still, I find that relationship very interesting. Family lines can be so complicated, and yet, they are undeniably relationships…however distant they may be.
As I said, in my research of my family history, I keep tripping not only over fame, but also over my husband’s family, and that has once again occurred…and I found it totally by accident. It has taken me a little bit of time, but if my calculations are correct, then this new relationship makes Bob and I, 12th cousins 4 times removed on the Leary side of the family. The Leary side of the family is Bob’s dad’s mother’s side of the family. So then, my father-in-law is also my 12th cousin 3 times removed. Once again, to many people, this relationship may seem unimportant, since they originated in the 1500s and beyond, but to me it is very interesting.
Finds like this one get the gears in my mind turning. I understand the relationships. I can put them down on paper. But that kind of a find is nevertheless, complicated to wrap your mind around. Things like the realization that I was related to my in-laws, before I was married to their son, and I was related to my husband before we were married too. The thought that my father-in-law is also my 12th cousin 3 times removed…is mind boggling.
Of course, when we think about it, we did all come from the same place ultimately, so I suppose we are all related in some, or even in many different ways. Nevertheless, it is really strange when you start stumbling upon so many different ways you are related to your husband…other than the fact that you are married. I am reminded of the time when my mom mentioned how much she thought Bob and I looked alike. I thought it a strange thing to say at the time, but maybe it isn’t so strange after all. It could be because of the different ways that we came from the same ancestors.
It’s strange that our minds, even as small children can remember the things that most impressed us. Even as young as 3, or maybe even younger, those memories so clearly imprint themselves on our mind that we can see the event as if we were experiencing it still. Sometimes that memory is scary and we wish we could forget, such as the time I was tripped by a woman trying to get off of the escalator that we were on. I clearly remember falling, my dress being torn, and my chin and elbow being cut. Escalators bother me to this day. Other memories, like the first time we got to stay in a motel bring a smile to my face.
I’m sure that is exactly how my Great Aunt Bertie Schumacher felt when she remembered the fall days on the farm, after the wheat had been harvested, and the flocks of ducks and geese would begin their migration south. She remembers that the wheat fields seemed to be covered with a thick cloud, that was in fact the flocks of ducks and geese. Then the fields seemed to be alive as they went about looking for food as the evening neared. She recalls how her older brother, Albert would go out to the wheat fields and return with twenty birds in an hour. While Fred, Bertie, and Elsa watched with their mouths watering, Anna and Mina had to clean the birds, and even though they liked the end result, the cleaning was a lot of work, and they grumbled through every second of it.
Years later the family had a smoke house, and the meat that came from there was heavenly. Great Aunt Bertie said she could still taste that meat, while feeling quite sad that she had gone years without it by then. One of her fondest memories of her mother was one of sneaking out to the smoke house with a sharp knife and cutting off a bit of the meat whenever they needed a snack in the middle of the day. And the best thing is that it was allowed in their home, and not considered an offence in need of punishment.
So much of life is commonplace, and would maybe even be considered boring, but in every life there are moments that stand out…that, are labeled in our memory files as special and very important, even if, to other people, they would not seem so. It is the privilege of each person’s mind to pick the memories that it finds the most special and the most important…the sweetest memories. Then they are locked away, so they can be opened up another day, when something we see, hear, taste, smell, or touch triggers that particular file to reopen and pour out that sweet memory that has been tucked away there, so that we can experience it once again in our mind.
Our daughter, Amy was a little girl from the start, and that didn’t change as time went on. We are not a tall family for the most part, and we like it that way. Height is not everything when it comes who a person is…in fact it has very little to do with it at all. Amy excels in anything she puts her mind to, and that is what really says who a person is. I can fully attest to how Amy works and how stubbornly she sticks to something until she gets it right, because I work with her every day. Amy has been an insurance agent for three years now, and she is one of the best.
Now, Amy’s abilities do not save her from getting teased…I mean, after all, there is nothing quite so fun as picking on the short kid, right. Amy’s husband, Travis is one of the best in that department, often calling his wife…lovingly, mind you…Midget. We have laughed about that over and over, because as we found out that depending on the source, a midget can be 5’2″ and some say 4’10”. Either way, Amy falls into that category at 4’11”, but Travis uses the term lovingly, and as I said, we like being short. My niece, Kellie, who is tall, lovingly calls us “The Wee Ones” as she picks us up to hug us. Being short is not something we are bothered by, but rather embrace.
Amy leads a busy life. She is a full time insurance agent. She works out daily. She has been instrumental in the care of her grandparents over the last 8 years. And she and Travis have started the new hobby of wine making. They love to ride their motorcycle and hanging out with friends. They have two kids, who have kept them very busy I over the years, although less now than before they were in high school. When you look back at the activities of your life, sometimes you have to wonder where you found the time for everything, but Amy managed.
I am very proud of the person Amy has become. She is everything I had hoped she would be on the day she was born. And, I know that the best is yet to be. She has so much potential and she is very motivated, so I know she can do anything she wants to. Today is Amy’s birthday. Happy birthday Amy!! We love you very much!! Have a wonderful day!!
Today is my niece Michelle’s birthday. She also just graduated from college. She will be continuing to the next level in college, but has not fully decided where that will be yet. Michelle is studying to be an art teacher, and there is much more to that than I ever imagined. She needs so many art classes that 4 years is not enough to finish it all. It takes much dedication, and I am very proud of her. I am also very much in awe of her abilities. Her work is amazing.
Michelle has the kind of mind that is filled with beauty. The kind of mind that creates beauty all around her. She also has that ability to share her talent by teaching it to others. Not everyone can be a teacher…that takes a very special ability, and it is one that Michelle definitely has. The students she had while student teaching were so blessed to have Michelle as a teacher, and I know her future students will also feel the same way.
Michelle, I don’t know where your plans will take you next, but I know that you will be greatly missed around here. And I truly hope that you won’t be gone forever, because I believe that our school system needs good teachers like you will be, and our students need the benefit of a creative mind like you have. I also know that wherever you go, the students who come out of your classes will be thankful to have been in them.
I look forward to seeing more of your work, Michelle, and I still think that you need a website to show it off. Great artists should never hide their work away. I know this is something you have had in mind, and I hope you will not put it off any longer. I am very excited about your future and I look forward to seeing much more of your beautiful work. I’m very proud of you Michelle, and I wish you a very happy birthday, and all the greatest and most wonderful things for your future. I love you very much!! Have a great day!