Monthly Archives: June 2019

Winning With Class

Disclaimer:  I don’t know anything about hockey.  I am not a fan of hockey.  

imagesNow that you know that I know nothing about the sport, I want you to know that I am beyond thrilled that the St. Louis Blues Hockey team just won the Stanley Cup.  I am a fair weather fan, I suppose.  But, it’s not even that.  I am a fan of the area of the country where I grew up.  I was born in St. Louis, Missouri.  Although, I didn’t live in the actual city of St. Louis (except for my first six months of life), I lived in the suburbs, my answer to the question of where do you live, was always St. Louis, Missouri.

There is something about the people of St. Louis.  They are great sports fans.  They will follow their teams through thick and thin.  St. Louis people are also friendly.  Just go take St-Louisa walk, and don’t be surprised if several people you pass, will tell you hello or nod their head with a smile.  It’s just who we are.

Another funny thing about being from the St. Louis area, is the question asked to anyone we hear is from the area, “Where did you go to high school?”  Now, some people said it was to profile, and I don’t believe that.  I asked the question because I was curious if we might know the same people, or something about where we live.  An example of that was a couple years ago when I took three of my grandchildren on vacation, and we were going into the entrance of “The World of Coca-Cola” in Atlanta, Georgia.  My grandson had a “Mizzou” tee shirt on.  Mizzou is the nickname for the University of Missouri.  The young man at the gate immediately said, “You are from Missouri!  Where?”  I told him we were from St. Louis.  He asked my grandson where he went to high school, and looked a little disappointed that he did not relate to his or my granddaughter’s high school.  I asked him where he went to high school, and he told me “Kirkwood.”  At that, I said, “Well I went to Lindbergh.”  Those are two neighboring school districts.  I smiled at this young African-American man, and said, “We are neighbors!”  At that we both smiled at each other, and gave each other hugs.  We became neighbors again.  You could tell his eyes lit up, and he had a connection to home.  He sent us to where we were to wait to enter, and when we arrived at our spot, we realized my new neighbor put us in front of all the people in the line.  Why?  Because we were all St. Louisians.  We were neighbors.  We were instant friends.  That is what St. Louis is about.

So, back to hockey.  While we were in Arizona, the St. Louis Blues were somehow pushing their way to the playoffs.  I don’t follow the sport, but I have some Facebook friends who do.  I also have a friend and former colleague, who is the VP of Human Resources for the St. Louis Blues.  She has a pretty nifty job!  I’m seeing that this team is moving its way up.  

I think of the one and only time I attended a Blues hockey game.  It was sometime in the early 1970’s.  My dad was a building contractor in St. Louis, and businesses would gift 1200px-St._Louis_Blues_logo.svghim with tickets to sporting events.  My dad did not like sports of any kind, so usually we got his baseball, football, and hockey tickets.  My ex-husband, when we were newlyweds knew as much about hockey as I did, but we got free tickets.  Since we were poor newlyweds, we were happy to attend the game.  I realized that we knew nothing about the game when everyone got up and left after the “third quarter.”  Haha!  We thought the game was like football, have four quarters, instead of three periods.  I still remember seeing the teams leave the ice and the crowd getting up and leaving, and our surprised expressions that they were leaving before the game was over.  Fortunately, we weren’t with anyone who knew us who could remind us forever how ignorant we were of the sport!

1200px-St._Louis_Cardinals_logo.svgI have followed baseball for a long time.  I understand the sport, the Cardinals are my favorite team forever, and I am a fan during good seasons and bad.  Fortunately, the Cardinals have done their fair share of winning playoffs and world series.  We are second only to winning the most series behind the Yankees.  I followed the Rams football team when they were in St. Louis for their short tenure, and still remember watching their Super Bowl win with my favorite, quarterback, Curt Warner.  But, hockey, I just don’t know.

We have been without cable television since we left Arizona in early May.  There we have a “snowbird” plan, so we have internet there all year, so we can monitor our home appletv-131119-1for security and our thermostat, but we only have cable during the “snowbird” time, which is the winter.  When we came back to Missouri, we checked with the cable company to get a plan that covered the time in Missouri.  Yeah, they aren’t as flexible.  They wanted to lock us into a two year contract, and no, it was pay for it even when you don’t live here, so we declined the cable.  We have plenty of entertainment with our television without cable—we have Apple TV for new movies, Netflix, PrimeTV, and Hulu.  

Now the Blues have gone into the final playoffs, and as a native of St. Louis, it is now important that I support the team, and the city and the community I will always love.  We were actually in Arizona for a week, but being summer and with our “snowbird” plan, we don’t have cable.  Simple solution, find the sports bars that are showing the games.  That worked.  We got dinner, and watched the game, and enjoyed that.  We were hoping they would win the cup on Sunday, June 9, because we were flying home on sickieTuesday, June 11.  Well, that didn’t happen.  Now we are back in Missouri, in our small town, and there is one more game to go.  The Blues and the Bruins are tied 3 games each, and whoever wins this last game wins the Stanley Cup.  

On top of all of this, while we were in Arizona, we both got sick.  Our original flight home was supposed to be Saturday, the 8th, but the doctor there suggested we change our flight plans to a later date in order to get well.  The airlines graciously changed our flight and even gave us a direct flight so we could have a shorter trip on on Tuesday.  We are feeling better, but not totally well.  Yeah, cabin pressure taking off and landing can play havoc with your ears when you are not feeling well.  By the time we landed in St. Louis, and was driving our 90 minute drive home, neither of us could hear each other.  

Wednesday is the the day of the last game.  We only know of good sports bars in Columbia (a college town about 30 miles from us), and neither of us are up for that.  Then we realized, our local diner had televisions, so we asked them if they would air the game.  They were gracious and said that absolutely they would put it on their televisions for us.  So, we had a 7:00 pm dinner at the diner, and we sat in front of the television.  There was no sound, and we didn’t need any.  Following that puck its tough. Those players move so fast, and that puck goes between those teams lickety-split.  We were cheering the team on as we ate our diner food.  Then we realized that the diner closed at 9:00 pm, and the game would probably go longer.  I had a sudden idea, that I could find the game on my phone on one of the sports apps, and stream it to our television.  I found the NBC Sports app, and sure enough, it would allow us to watch for free for 44 minutes!  Okay, so far, so good.  

We are home now, watching the game, and my time is running out, so Dennis downloads the same app on his phone, and he gets some free time, and then it runs out.  I grab my laptop to find that NBC Sports does not have an app for the computer so I tell Dennis to grab his iPad.  He gets the iPad, and in the minutes, that I am loading the app, he looks at the notification on his Apple watch, and says that the Blues just won!  We miss the final buzzer!  Haha!  I got he app going to watch the presentation of the Stanley cup.  

You would have thought we were die hard fans the way we acted that evening.   I still can’t tell you much about how the game is played.  All I needed to know is that they had to get the puck in that net behind that goalie!  That was good enough to enjoy my home town’s very first Stanley Cup win.  

The St. Louis Blues started the season in last place.  They made their way to the finals and ended up being the best team this year.  The team also invited a young lady to their last game who was a huge fan of theirs.  She is eleven years old, and is fighting cancer.  They flew her to Boston for the game.  She was interviewed by several news outlets, and she said that the Blues never gave up, and they inspire her to never give up.  I think she has it backwards, she has never given up, and the Blues were inspired by her.  She was even out on the ice with the team after the game.

There are lessons to be learned from a contest of a sport that I know basically nothing about:

Never give up – How many times do we give up when we think it looks so bleak?  I mean, the blues were in last place, but they just plugged away.  I remember a few years ago when the Cardinals won the world series, the August before that event they were 15 games behind the leading team.  They don’t give up.  They just plug away, and sometimes it brings the greatest rewards.  We need to remember this–don’t get discouraged when behind.  Just keep plugging away–keep trying–keep working–keep improving.  The reward may be more than you ever imagined.

STANLEY-CUPPeople rally together – A whole town — a whole region came together.  I know they weren’t originally all hockey fans.  People in St. Louis gathered and watched the game in the streets downtown.  While the team was in Boston the night of the final game, the Enterprise Center, where the team plays in St. Louis, was filled to watch on big screen televisions.  The Cardinals were playing out of town, and St. Louis also filled Bush Stadium to watch the game on big screen televisions.  Of course, people are always looking for a good excuse to party, but nobody does it better than St. Louis.

No one turned over a car or caught anything fire! – I am always amazed when I watch news reports of a town that had a winning team, and the people almost riot rather than celebrate.  As much bad publicity that St. Louis gets for being such a violent town, we do not see that behavior when our town is winning.  St. Louis people, on the whole, are really good people, and they celebrate, not destroy.

I am proud of this town.  I am proud of the St. Louis Blues.  I am always glad to see good things happen in this city.  Right now Missouri, and all around St. Louis, there is major flooding.  People are working hard to save their homes and businesses.  But for a brief moment, everyone stopped and celebrated.  They celebrated a team who had never won this trophy before.  They celebrated a city who has great sports fans.  They celebrated a young girl who is fighting for her life.  

For a moment, I am a hockey fan.  I don’t know a thing about the game, but I know the St. Louis Blues got four pucks in the net Wednesday night, and the Bruins only got one in.  Good for you, St. Louis Blues.  Good for you, St. Louis, Missouri!

Here is a video I found on YouTube of the crowd at Busch Stadium in the last minutes of the final game–who fills a stadium like that?  Only St. Louis!

The Unfriendly Skies

It all started out as a simple flight from St. Louis to San Francisco for my son’s wedding.  Several months ago the wedding date was set for June 1.  My oldest grandson was graduating from high school on May 30, so that gave us one day to travel for the wedding.

I was very excited about this trip because it would be the first time in almost six years

boys

My husband and I with all our sons!

that all my children would be together along with my husband’s son.  We were going to be together to celebrate my oldest son’s wedding.  I wanted to get to our destination with as much time as possible to relax ahead of time, iron our wrinkled clothes that were stuffed in our luggage, and be on top of my game starting with the 5:00 pm rehearsal dinner.

I did a lot of flying when I was employed, but I did my casual flying on Southwest Airlines.  They always did a great job of being on time, never lost my luggage, and the employees have been the best.  Since we now have a home in Missouri and Arizona, I was looking forward to beginning to pile up the points for flights.  On the other hand, Dennis is a road trip person.  He loves traveling by car to see what he says we miss between destinations.  This trip could have been one of those fun road trips had we not had a graduation that I would not miss for my life.  I had Dennis even apply for a Rapid Rewards number so he could also be saving points for future flights.

My family asked why we were taking such an early flight on the 31st.  Our itinerary was to fly out of St. Louis at 6:50 am, change planes in Phoenix, and arrive in San Francisco at 11:15 am.  We had a rental car scheduled to drive to the wedding destination, which was a 90+ minute drive from the airport.  I was willing to do the early flight and changing planes, in order to have this early arrival.

So much for well made plans . . . .

I should have known at 6:00 am at the St. Louis airport that things were not going to happen as planned.  We are TSA pre-check, so we got through the security line in no time flat, and made our way to the proper concourse.  I love that the airport has rocking chairs around the gate.  It was a lovely way to relax as we are waiting for our plane.  All of a sudden there is beeping over the loudspeaker and we are told to evacuate the concourse.  Really?  What’s going on?  Hundreds of folks came out of the woodwork making their way out of the concourse.  As we waited around about 20 minutes, we were informed by security that we could return.  Everything from that point on to boarding the plane was smooth as could be.

We were having a great flight out.  It has been a long, long time since I have flown (being married to the king of all road trips), and I was glad to see I no longer have to pay to have a wifi connection.  I was well entertained above 10,000’.  Now it was time to put our seats back in position, close our tray tables, and prepare for arriving in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport.

textAs we are getting ready to approach Phoenix, I received a text message on my phone, saying that our flight from Phoenix to San Francisco was not delayed, but cancelled.  Cancelled?  Why on earth would they cancel a flight?  There was no weather issues.  Were we the only one who made a reservation on this flight, so they couldn’t afford to send an empty plane?  I think not.  In fact, another couple across the aisle from us was also transferring to that flight.  All I knew is that when the doors to the plane opened, I needed to be right up front to hustle to the Southwest agent to find out how we was going to get to San Francisco.  

Do you remember the old Hertz Rent-A-Car commercial where O.J. Simpson is running through the airport, leaping over barricades?  Well, that was going to be me.  I was going to leap over seats to get off the plane as quickly as possible to find a flight to get us to San Francisco quickly.

As soon as the plane stopped at the gate, I bounded from my seat as folks were slowly unbuckling their seat belts.  I quickly made my way up to the front until I got to about row 10 where a fairly large lady in the aisle seat remained seated with her bag and her leg in the aisle to block any further movement.  There were gaps before her, but she was not budging, nor would she look at me.  I even kind of leaned against her leg thinking that would be uncomfortable, and she would move it and I could get another 5’ forward.  I cannot believe I did that, but she didn’t budge.  She didn’t look at me.  She just kept me blocked.  My good manners kicked in and I moved back from her space a few inches and waited.  As soon as I got off the plane, I bolted toward a Southwest agent.

I told her my dilemma, and she said she would get us booked on the next available plane.  Okay, now we are ticking.  Then she looked at me and smiled and said, “We can get you to San Francisco on a flight that arrives at 8:00 pm.”  Really?  8:00 pm?  It will still be two hours before we could get to the venue once we get our luggage, pick up our car rental, and find our way to Stinson Beach, California.

By this time, my husband has joined me along with the other couple we met on the plane crywho had the same destination.  She said that was all she could do.  That was all she could do?  I told her very clearly that I was the mother of the groom, rehearsal dinner was at 5:00 pm, and that I did not cancel the flight, her company did.  I need them to fix this ASAP.  I also suggested that I could “ugly cry” right there in the terminal.  You know, the loud crying with snot running out one’s nose, and makeup streaming down the face.  Truth be told, I can’t cry much less ugly cry, because I have dry eyes.  The only thing that happens when I have to cry is my nose runs slightly.  But, on the other hand, this airline agent doesn’t know that.  My husband looked at me as if to stop my crying! Be assured, I didn’t scream at her, just stated that it could possibly happen.

So, Miss Southwest Agent, who didn’t seem concerned at all about the situation, said that she could get us to the Oakland airport for 1:45 pm.  That will work!  I won’t have a lot of time to get ready, but I won’t miss this occasion that I have so much been looking forward to.  Sure, rebook us to Oakland.

Then she said, “You are voluntarily separating from your luggage.”  What?  Are you kidding?  The plane just landed.  There is NO other plane going to San Francisco for hours.  What do you mean that I am “voluntarily separating from my luggage?”  She said she cannot guarantee my luggage will get to Oakland because it is scheduled for San Francisco.  Wow!  Really.  I get it if I decided I wanted to change my schedule, but Southwest Airlines, you were the ones who cancelled, not delayed, my flight to San Francisco.  When I told her that was unacceptable, she made a phone call and then said she thought she could get our luggage on the plane to Oakland.  We were thrilled and thanked her for her help, and proceeded to our new gate for our new destination.

Now as we approach our gate, Dennis needs to call the rental car company and tell them we are now re-routed to Oakland, and will be picking up our car there, but because this is part of the original ticketing, we will be delivering the car back to San Francisco rather than Oakland, and all of a sudden our car rental price more than doubled.  We had no choice.  At least we got a rental.  Then he had to call his son who was flying on Delta to San Francisco.  They were arriving within 15 minutes of our original arrival, and we were going to be riding in the rental car together.  Sorry, son, you need to find your own way.  Actually, that was no problem, as Dennis’s son is a responsible adult who had no problem finding his own transportation.

Now we are happily on a flight to Oakland, and I can sit back and relax.  I am so proud of my bounding through airplane skills, and negotiating a new ticket.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, our Oakland flight had a change of planes in Las Vegas.  So, we leave the plane, and I check with the agent in the airport the status of our Oakland flight to be sure nothing terrible has happened.  Everything seems to be okay, our agent assured us as we told him the story of our flight.  I then looked around the airport at all the slot machines.  I looked at the agent, and said to him, “With all that has happened today, do you think I should try my luck at the slots?”  He laughed and said that was not a good idea, of which I had already known!

lostOur plane departed for Oakland, and I am a happy camper—that is, until we arrived at the baggage carousel, and there were no bags for us.  Dennis immediately went into Southwest Airlines Baggage office at the airport to report our missing bags.  The lady asks for our baggage tickets, which I hand over to her, but apparently those numbers are meaningless because they are attached to a flight that got cancelled.  She asks if they gave me new tickets, of which I replied they did not.  She proceed to say that if they changed the flight, new baggage tickets would have been issued.  Now she wants a description of the bags—that’s easy.  Then she asks me to name three items in each bag.  Shoot.  I packed Dennis’ clothes in with my clothes plus clothes to go on to Arizona from San Francisco, but what bags they are in is a mystery.  I do remember a couple items, not sure in which bag but they are on top.

Our baggage agent tells us that she cannot locate our bags at all, so she doesn’t know where they might be, but as soon as she locates them, she will call us, and arrange to deliver them to us regardless of which airport they arrive.  I am not happy, but it’s the

Car rental

The line of folks getting their rental cars!

best we can do for at the moment.  I am hoping to hear from her in the next couple hours.  

Our rental car was the best thing that happened that day.  We took the bus to the car rental center, and, of course, the rental company we were working with had about 30 people ahead of us.  Their computers had gone down, so I was told.  A lady in front of us pointed out that her husband was in a different line applying for a Fast Break card, and he might get a car faster.  I remembered that when I was working and traveling a lot, I had a Fast Break card, so I got in line and asked, and he asked for my ID and ID for Dennis.  He proceeded to give us our rental as we bypassed the long line.  I’m still not sure we are actually in the Fast Break program, but I am not questioning something good happening.

We proceed to our destination.  I was exhausted, and felt so yucky.  I had been in the same clothes for more than 12 hours, and I have no clothes to change, no toothpaste or brush, no deodorant.  Because we left in the early hours of the day, I had no makeup on, and my hair was not done.  I was going to have time when we got the wedding venue.  Needless to say, the first thing Dennis did was find a local store to purchase toothpaste, toothbrushes, a hair brush, and deodorant.  I took a shower and put back on the clothes I have worn for hours—it was that or I was going to become the “Emperor with No Clothes” which I didn’t think was a good idea.

We had a wonderful time.  The dinner was a casual get together with friends and family.  Of course, with all this running late stuff, most of the food was gone when we arrived, so once again, no real food was eaten that day.  The party helped me forget, for a short

our cabin

Our cabin surrounded by beautiful gardens

period of time, about the fact I had no luggage and the wedding was just hours away.

At 6:30 Saturday morning, we woke up, and proceeded to go to the living room of the cabin/house where we were staying, because the internet connection was strong there, and my cell phone signal was practically nonexistent.  I called Southwest Airlines, and said that no one had called us about our luggage, and I am now in a panic because my son’s wedding is quickly approaching.  The customer service lady said that she sees that the luggage is in the San Francisco location.  I was amazed 2lostthat no one had called me—my phone number is even on the luggage tags.  This agent tried to call baggage claims twice and got no answer, so she gave me their direct line and told me to keep calling until they picked up.  Now my work is ahead of me.  Eventually, I am on the phone with baggage claims and told her that we were going to drive down to get our bags because we needed them immediately.  She assured me NOT to do that.  They use Uber and Lyft to deliver the bags, and those drivers are really good, and she will get the bags to us no later than 9:30 am, so I go back to sleep for a short time more, and Dennis goes to the main house where the address matches what we gave baggage claim.  At 9:30 am, there is no sign of our luggage.  I called back to San Francisco baggage claim.  Now I am getting frantic.  We are out in a resort area, no stores, no way to rebuy clothing for a wedding.  The agent put me on hold and comes back to announce that our bags are still at the airport, that the Uber or Lyft driver came and then declined the delivery.

Okay, I hope it is alright if I lose it by this point, because I did.  I was so angry.  I asked why they didn’t call me when the driver refused the call (or did they really call for a delivery).  I said that we were going to come down there to get our bags.  Now the lady is telling me to wait, and put me on hold again.  She comes back and says they found a new delivery option but the driver cannot pick up our luggage until 11:00 am.  I am so angry.  I asked her what guarantee that was when early in the morning the lady guaranteed me that I would have my luggage by 9:30 am, and she knew it was a 90 to 120 minute drive depending on the traffic.  They didn’t bother to call the first time—why could I believe them this time?  Then I got emphatic and told them to hold the luggage there and we were personally coming to retrieve it.

We drove down to San Francisco on a busy Saturday and got to the airport, where our luggage was delivered to the trunk of our rental car.  We proceeded to find a place to get breakfast since we hadn’t really had a meal in 24 hours.  Then we took the beautiful windy California Highway 1 up the coast to the location of the wedding.  

Now we have clothes that are extremely wrinkled.  I was wearing clothes that have been on my body for well over 24 hours.  It is time for us to both shower and get dressed.  Of course, I also had hair and makeup to do.  We kind of delayed the photo session, but I couldn’t go any faster than I had.  

It wasn’t until the reception started that I was able to let it all go and have a great time.  I did have a great time, and the people were so much fun.

I am not sure I can ever get my husband back on a Southwest Airlines flight.  He was appalled at how much they didn’t care that our luggage was lost.  We also asked why our flight was cancelled and they said that Air Traffic Control cancelled our flight.  Are there any airline workers reading this?  I am having a hard time believing that Air Traffic Control cancelled a flight.  Every other flight got to San Francisco on time that day, except for ours.  What’s with that?  My favorite airline has let me down big time.  From now on, Wedding partyI will take direct flights, so I never have to go through four airports in one day, pay more than double for my rental car, and go without clothes for hours on end.

There are things I need to say about my weekend.  I loved seeing all my children together.  I couldn’t be more proud of them.  The wedding was a spectacular event, and the wedding party couldn’t have been more gorgeous — of course, it was made up of the groom’s brothers (my sons) and the brides sisters.  The people were friendly—this was no wedding where you sit on one side and people you don’t sit on treesanother.  Apparently, I adopted 3 adult children that day (Ha!).  I have no idea what kind of stories my son told about me that three people asked me to adopt them. It was rather comical.  I saw one of my sons on the dance floor who I have never see dance before, and he was having a great time!  I always love when people come up to me and tell me what a great person my son is, and how much their friendship trees2means.  Maybe that happens at weddings of older people, because in the last 18 months, two of my sons got married, and that was the response I received from their friends.  I must say it feels pretty good.  The venue, Willow Camp Estate in Stinson Beach, CA, was between the Pacific Ocean and Muir Woods, which is the start of big crazy trees like in the Redwood Forest.  Everyone was welcoming of everyone.  I wore my new wedding clothes and then a few hours later, I got comfortable in my favorite jeans and sweater, and nobody cared!

We are back at our home in Arizona now.  I am a bit under the weather today—I think it was the stress of my Southwest Airlines mess and a lack of a good of a good night’s sleep, which probably was due to the first reason.  

I hope when you take the friendly skies, you will have a better experience than we had.  I hope your airlines and your airline agents will care and not give false sympathy.  I hate the “I know how upset you must be.”  Really?  First of all, is it required to be upset, because she said you “must” be.  If you work in customer service, please don’t use that line.  A better response is, “I am really sorry this happened.  Let me do everything I can to rectify it.  Is there anything we can do to help you want to fly with us again?”  This flight was way more money than I wanted to spend for the kind of aggravation I received.  Cheap flights like on Allegiant Airlines can be aggravating, but they are cheap, and you get what you pay for.  Someone from Southwest Airlines should have followed up with a phone call to find out how things went.  No phone call, no contact.  It makes me think they really don’t care that I fly their airline over another.  I might fly them again, but flying between St. Louis and Phoenix gives me a lot of options, and I may have to look into those.  

Here are a few photos of the beauty of the wedding venue.

cabin in woodsIMG_1728IMG_1725pond cabinIMG_1704IMG_1729

Finding a New Family

Have you ever counted your family?  Where do you begin?  Why would you do that?  What does it tell you?

This past couple months I have been in contact with a part of my family I didn’t know.  I have four parts to my historical family.  There is my dad’s side, which consists of my grandfather’s family, whose history and many of the people I know well.  My paternal grandmother’s side is not as well known, and it will be next on my learning curve.  Then there is my mother’s family. I know a lot of history about maternal grandfather’s family, and I know many of those relatives.  My maternal grandmother’s family is more of a mystery to me.  

A couple months ago, while in Arizona, I was contacted by someone who was a DNA match to my maternal grandmother’s family.  We met up and had a wonderful time.  This got me more curious about this family.  In the meantime, another cousin from this family mentioned he was on a business trip near our home.  So, we got together for lunch.  Then the following week, he was back in town with his family, and we had a wonderful time getting to know one another.  As we visited, we started listing all the family members that descended from my great grandparents.  This cousin I met with is 17 years younger than me, but my great grandparents are his grandparents!  It just shows how these families had children far apart from each other, and then the younger ones were older when they had their children, thus the age gap and generational gap.

I started a spreadsheet with my grandparents, Eva and Peter Vrazsity.  Their name has been spelled several ways, Vrasic, Vrazsich, other spellings found on documents, and the 1918 -Aunt Rose, Pauline, Grandma & Grandpaone Peter settled with—Vrazsity.  It is hard to find any of their family since European immigrants were known to “Americanize” their names, or the Immigration agent at their port of entry misspelled their names.  Thus, I started only with Peter and Eva.  They had four daughters and four sons.  

This Serbian family originated from Nemes Militics, Hungary, which later became part of Serbia.  Peter came to American twice before he brought his family over.  He entered Ellis Island in 1905 on a ship named Ultonia, and in 1909 on a ship name Potsdam.  He then came through Ellis Island with his wife, Eva, and four of their children, in 1910 on the ship, Carpathia.  The children that came were Appolonia (Pauline), born 1900, who

L-R: Veronica, George, Barney, Eva, Sam (back), Mike, Julie

L-R: Veronica, George, Barney, Eva, Sam (back), Mike, Julie

was my grandmother; Rosalia (Rose) born 1902, Bonaventura (Barney) born 1906, and Simon (Sam) born 1908.  Barney died at a Tuberculosis Home in Granite City, Illinois in 1937 just one day short of his 37th birthday.  He never married.  Eva and Peter had four more children born in the United States—Veronica, born 1911; Julia, born 1913; Michael, born 1915, and George, born 1916.

As I made the list of this family, I added their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.  I don’t have all the information, but so far, I have 128 descendants of Peter and Eva.  They live all over the country, and many are just meeting each other over social media.  As much as I dislike some things about

Vrazsity Sisters

The 4 sisters: Julia, Pauline, Rose & Veronica

social media, such as political jibber-jabber, I love the fact we can connect with distant family members, plan get togethers as we or they travel where the others live, and get to know them through their families’ photos.

Once I have my spreadsheet complete to my satisfaction, the next step will be reaching out to all these cousins and ask for additional information on names, birth and death dates, and where they are currently located.  Maybe if there is enough interest, and help (I cannot do this alone), we may plan a family reunion, get to know each other, and appreciate the sacrifices that Peter and Eva made moving their young family to America.

I don’t know much about the history of the Vrazsity family.  I am looking forward to hearing from other family members about this family.  I am sure it is like all families—there were be good stories, and not so good stories.  The important thing to remember, though, is that our ancestors sacrificed a lot to make a voyage to America.  Their life was tough here, but it must have been tougher where they came from.  I hope all the stories are not lost.  Unfortunately, none of their children are living, the youngest who would be 103 years old today!  The only stories we may have are those that have been passed on to the grandchildren.

As I have said before, if you have older generations in your family, get their stories.  Many times they don’t think those stories are important, but they tell us who we are.  Hopefully, years from now, you won’t say, “I sure wish I asked about their life.”  I know that even though I have my parents’ stories, I think of more questions that I can no longer ask.

Our families’ stories are a rich history.  Find those old photographs.  Learn who these folks were.  Embrace your history.  No one has your story but you.  Don’t forget to share your story with your family.  As you go down through my blogs over the past couple years, you will see that I have shared the good, the bad, and the ugly, and sometimes the funny stories of my life and of my ancestors. 

I really love to hear the stories of my ancestors.  My paternal great grandmother came to America in her 70’s and she was deaf and spoke only German, and yet I loved being in her presence.  Her son, my grandfather, was a prisoner of war in Russia during World War 1.  My maternal grandmother eloped at 14 only to live in the home of her mother-in-law, who treated her like a slave.  My dad came to America through Ellis Island when he was 10 years old.  While my paternal grandfather was in America, settled, and sent for the family, my maternal grandmother came alone on the ship, not only with my 10 year old dad, but also four other little boys, the youngest being just over a year old.  When my mom was 16 years old in 1935, she and her mother were in an automobile accident that three passengers of their car died instantly, yet my mom and grandmother were practically unscathed.  Oh, and two of those who perished were newlyweds of less than 24 hours.  Our families have had conflicts, and I have almost died.  These are all a part of my family history.

Click on any of these links above to enjoy these particular stories of my ancestors.  Maybe it will inspire you to start researching the stories of your family.  Maybe it will help you start to write your personal stories.

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