Honoring A Veteran

Happy Veterans Day!

Ever since I started my blog 3 years ago, it’s become a tradition for me to shirk my Author hat and don my Family Genealogist cap to share a bit of meaningful history here on certain holidays. Many of you already know that I come from a family of veterans lightly sprinkled with civilians. Most citizens of the United States are, knows or is related to a veteran. We have a lot of branches and with no less than 1-5 bases per state and province, you don’t have to look far to find one of the amazing men or women who have served our country.

I can’t even go a decade into my family history without stumbling on a few veterans. The toughest bit, is when you find yourself straddling lines. How do you hold onto that innate respect and admiration for the ones who came before you, when you’re faced with ancestors who fought on both sides of the same war? Can you honor your Rebel ancestor as equally as you honor your Yankees?

Speaking solely for myself, I find honoring each ancestor individually for the whole of who they were, and not just the wars they fought, is the best way to go about it. After all, without any of them I wouldn’t be here. Normally, I dig way back into my past to find a soldier to highlight on this day, but this year I want to honor someone a little more recent.

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Carl Richard 1918/19

This is my maternal great-grandfather, Carl Richard (last name omitted to protect living relatives). His parents, aunts, uncles and both sets of grandparents were all English immigrants, so he was the first American-born soldier in his direct line to put on the uniform for the good ol’ U.S. of A. He served during WWI and then returned home to go to university and become an Industrial Artist and Photographer for the rest of his days.

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Carl, the Industrial Photographer hard at work.

At the age of 13, Carl’s mother passed away and his father disappeared without a trace – it’s still one of the big family mysteries (I theorize it had to do with the man losing his father and wife within the same year, after already losing his mother not but a few years prior). Carl was raised from then on by his maternal Grandfather, Richard, for whom he’d been named. A single widower who’d already reared his own 6 children with the help of his daughter, Edith, who never married. Carl was highly active and academic, according to all of the correspondence his aunt sent back to the family in England.

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A 14 year old Carl with a ‘motor-cycle’ in front of the old homestead in Melrose Park, Illinois.

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L-R: Carl, his grandfather Richard and aunt Edith on Paw Paw Lake in Michigan.

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Carl passed his veteran status down to his only son, John, who became a pilot during WWII. He also passed his talent and love for art to his eldest daughter–my grandmother–who was one of the creative influences in my life from early on and well into my teen years.

Carl Richard
1892-1945

Thank you, C.R.F. ~ I’m honored to be your great-granddaughter!

Winters Deep

(an Ode to Yule) Yule2Dry the berries and pop the corn
There’s boughs of Pine hung to adorn
In darkening days and snow felled form
Melted candles and hearths doth warm

The harvest is stored and meat be cured
Our long laboring days have granted award
Of Holiday so loving and blessedly shared
We forgive of our foes, wrongs they once dared

Traditions have passed from eldest to young
In tales ne’er told, but carols doth sung
How the Mother she slumbers in Winters Deep
While legendary brothers sentry her keep

One golden Oak and one sable Holly
These fabled Kings are not for folly
For twice a wheel, the Solstice doth come
The fate of seasons can crown only one

‘Round trees of presents and Yule logs bright
From elder’s mouths for childrens delight
The battle unravels, on this longest of nights
As they cheer for a victor who’ll hasten the light

~A.C.M.

hollykingOakKing

Jet Skipping

Where is the one place you would never want to go on vacation that other people seem to love?

New-york

I’m really not adverse to traveling anywhere, but for the sake of today’s prompt, I’ll admit that the first place that came to mind was New York.

No offense to New Yorkers or people who absolutely love the Big Apple, I have just never ever, not even remotely in the tinniest bit of ways ever wanted to visit this metropolis.  I know that it’s significant in so many ways; history, art, literature, fashion… and that’s great, it can be all of those things without me ever stepping foot inside of it.  I think a lot of that has to do with my introvertedness.  The idea of being in such an overcrowded city just makes me cringe with anxiety, especially when the buildings tower over you and make you feel even more claustrophobic.

Huge factions of my family settled in and around the Chicago area for decades, and I, likewise to New York, have no desire whatsoever to visit the Windy City.  But, perhaps the surrounding areas.  If I could magically transport myself to the inside of all of the amazing museums in both cities, then I would definitely do that!

My interests, culturally, have always lied in the ancient Mediterranean lands of Egypt, Italy, Greece, etc.  I could spend months doing family research in Ireland… and, of course, checking out the pubs. 😉  If I were to spend the money, I would much rather travel to one of those places, instead.  I would probably spend the whole time nervous as hell because they’re equally as crowded as New York, but I think the much older history, art, architecture, etc. would make up for the large groups of tourists.   Not to mention, the ability to still see the sky.  Stateside, I have always wanted to visit places like New Orleans, and many of the New England towns, but that’s about it.

Sorry, New York.  It’s not you, it’s me.

Antique Memory Lane

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image found on e-bay, but a near-exact twin to the one I own.

In the humid, over-populated jungles of Thailand, baby elephants play kick ball with a group of GI’s while hooch girls scrub linens in giant mud puddles with the supernatural ability to get them cleaner than when they were brand new.  It’s 1968 and there’s a war still going on right next door in Vietnam that’s got the whole world in an uproar, but I’m just a piece of hobilliardcane3llow wood being lovingly carved with dragons.  I’m fitted with a brass tip and handle that hides my dual identity inside.  I’m a Billiard Cane, and I know not yet if I will be clutched in the hands of some hustler in Bangkok or set on a table in the open market, while hordes of people shout all around me, bargaining for wares.  I never expected to be given to one of the GI’s, to find myself traveling the world, from Thailand to Germany to America… what a life!  Who’s turn is it to rack?

Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt am Main

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Hanau Main-Kinzig-Kreis

Bell bottoms and disco have taken over the world, but I can’t dance or find any spark of passion in the day’s fashion.  I’m an elegantly crafted, lovingly detailed piece of art.  Okay, functional art, but still.  Do you see the crisp black swirls all about my body?  I am a masterpiece of china and my companions happily follow suit, boasting their vibrantly painted coat of arms for each town in the state of Hesse, Germany.  I am the most superior, for I am the pot that lords over my entire tea set, proudly displaying the coat of arms for Frankfurt am Main.  It is no shame that I was born and raised in Hanau, rather than my city of design.  We are in the home of the Brothers Grimm, can you see their statue there in the town square?  To my surprise, it is an American woman who finally purchases me from my display shelf and takes me home… to America?  Humph. I was meant for quiet afternoons in the parlor, not flying.

Okay, so the first two items are not the oldest things that I own, but they were the first two things I thought of when I read today’s Prompt.  Why?  Because, they have a history that’s personal to me.  My father was the GI that brought home the billiard cane, and as you’ve probably guessed, my mother was the woman who brought home the German tea set.  And a kid.  And a cuckoo clock… hey, they say you never leave Deutschland empty handed.  Unfortunately, the tea set is being held by a dear friend for safekeeping so I didn’t have access to it for a photo op.  I also have old 45s that once belonged to my grandmother from back in the 30’s and 40’s, and my mother’s baby doll that is super creepy so stays hidden in storage.  The oldest thing I own is actually…

confederate money

Smoothbore fire and musket shots do not frighten me.  I am but paper.  An empty promise for something greater.  In the pockets of gentlemen and gentleladies of these Confederate states, I’m known as a “Greyback.”  I will survive the catastrophic war that is tearing our great nation asunder, brother fighting against brother, and the very groundwork of our forefather’s shuddering under the weight of our civil strife, but I will become worthless in the eyes of the banks.  Only in a couple of centuries or so, will I ever mean anything to anyone.  Perhaps to a collector, or where I currently sit under protective sheets of plastic on a shelf riddled with other genealogical discoveries…

A.C. Melody Was Here

Alright, Daily Prompt guru’s – this is definitely a good, tough challenge!  Difficult to decide which superpower would be more beneficial over the other.  I admit, at first glance, the answer seemed easy – Speak and Understand Any Language.  I love languages and it frustrates me to no end that as an adult, learning a second language is so difficult.  I figured surely this would be my choice.

I would never want to force any two people to get along – I’m sorry, but that completely goes against the whole idea of “free will” in my opinion – and no, I don’t care if that meant ending wars or saving marriages – free will is free will, it’s how we learn and evolve.

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Image: litstack.com

Surprise, it’s:  Time Traveling!  Here’s why…

I have an insatiable curiosity for mysteries and I happen to be a lover of history.  However, as crazy as it sounds, I think the first thing I would do with my new-found power, is travel along the bloodlines of my own family’s past.  To gather all of the names, dates and places of those I’ve had no luck finding in all of my genealogical research.

Then, I would sate all of my other curiosities.  Who built Stonehenge, how and why?  Same with the Giza Pyramids, the Nazca Lines.  All of the world’s BIG mysteries, I would be there to bear witness.  I want to know if King Arthur was real and where Camelot was, what ever happened to Avalon?  Did Atlantis really exist?  Where?  How did it sink?

I wouldn’t set out to change anything in history, as tempting as that might seem.  I would strive to discover, to understand – and since I’d be a time traveler, I could use as much of it as necessary to learn all of the different languages of the world directly from the source.  Then I’d probably spend a lot of time with History’s Greats.  Pester the crap out of Leonardo and find out who the smug-smiling Mona really was.

One thing I would never do, is travel into the future.  Though, also tempting, there are just some things I would never want to know in advance – and I think those things would have far worse repercussions on my sanity than going backward.  Who knows?

Now, if it just so happens that some future archaeologist finds an ancient Viking tablet that reads: “ᚫ ᚲ ᛗᛖᛚᛟᛞᚣ ᚹᚫᛋ ᚺᛖᚱᛖ”

That was probably me, ’cause, yeah, I already know how to do that.  🙂  Told you I love languages!