For Momma - Memorial Slide Show (Turn Playlist Music off before watching)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The COG - 89th Edition - "Ode To My Family History"

89th EDITION OF THE Carnival Of Genealogy
“Ode to My Family's History!”

The following was originally written for my book, “Searching – The Habben/Ufkes Families”. It represents what I thought my ancestors may have felt as they left their homeland in Ostfriesland, Germany.

The Immigrant 1868

Standing on the bow the ship his thoughts wonder back over the events of the last few months, weeks and days.
The hustle of packing and taking care of the last details had occupied his mind so that there was no time for realizing what was to be left behind.
But now on the ship it all became real.
His farewell to his brother had been a hand shake,
a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Both brothers looking into tearful eyes knowing that this would
be their final goodbye.
Good Luck! Good fortune!
Aufwiedersehen – Goodbye!
Be careful and write were their final goodbyes.

As the ship left the dock, slowly his homeland
disappeared and now only miles and miles of
sea are to be seen.
The children ask how long will it be?
What will this America be, this land of the free?
He answers, we will be pioneers in a new land,
we will till the ground and build our home.
We will praise God for all we receive.
Our home will be built with sticks and stones and
sod from the land we own.
We will work from sun up to sun down and
with sweat on our brow,
we will have chickens for our eggs
and a cow for our milk.
We will grow wheat to grind for our bread,
there will be rows and rows
of sweet yellow corn.
We will grow hay for our animals and our beds.
We will worship our God in the way we believe.
We will choose our leaders with a vote.
We will survive and be free.

Finally in the not so far off distance the outline
of the land can be seen.
Excitement sweeps through the ship like an explosion.
Do you see it? What Papa the children cry?
America! America we have arrived.
People scurry gathering their things for some
the journey has just begun.
Some travel by train and some by wagon.
Most go west for there is their promised land.

Like a ship sailing across the green land
the prairie schooner could be seen.
By day the men, women and children would walk
in the heat or the cold,
through valleys and over hills.
For cooking and heating buffalo ships they would burn
Many did not survive – too weak or too old.
For those who travel by wagon it is hard.

One hundred and sixty acres of land they will own.
This is ours! This is ours you hear them proclaim.
The children play in the tall grasses and
swim in the cool brook.
Night falls and joyful singing you hear.
A celebration of good cheer.
Soon it is quiet and thoughts return home
to those left behind.
He says, “I wish they could see this,”
She says, “I wish they were here.”

A small home for shelter is built.
A table some chairs by the fire will do.
Beds made from straw covered with quilts.
We'll make do.
Next spring we plant so now with oxen we
plow and make the land ready.
We praise God for all we receive.

As years pass more children are born
and some die.
They grow and farm the land.
Some marry and move away.
Momma dies and Papa is left alone.

Opportunities abound for the generations
of children born in this new land.
There are farmers, doctors, lawyers and such.
All because of those who were willing
to board the ships, wagons and trains and
leave all they knew and loved.
Good Luck! Good Fortune!
Aufwiedersehn – Goodbye!

We give praise to God who has given all we received.

By: Terri J. Kallio


  1. Lovely - this brings so many images to mind; you can see it all happening and feel their emotions.

  2. Terri,

    Your poem was so moving -- right on the mark --- and I had goose bumps when I finished. Very nice tribute.

  3. Oh, Terri, I am reading this today for the 1st time . . . and it was 106 years ago TODAY when my husband's 2nd great-grandpa, Jacob Hildenbrand, died in Kansas. Just an hour ago, I was reading to the husband the account of his Jacob's death . . . about how he died when his skull was crushed upon being run over by the rear wheel of a loaded wagon. They came from Germany in 1852, and your poem tells their story. I absolutely L-U-V it! {hugs} from Texas

  4. You did a wonderful job of capturing and making me feel and think the things they must have thought. I loved it!



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