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

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ticktock, ticktock....

Of all the words I'd like to write today the ones I'd most like to be writing are:

“Happy Birthday Darrell
I Love You!”

I'd love to be teasing him about turning 69 years old and how he is now pushing 70. But, he will be forever 68.
In the 5 months since his passing, time continues to march ever onward. There are days that if feels as if time stands still and the clock seems to slowly beat off the seconds, ticktock, ticktock. And yet, the days have some how quickly moved into months. Life is like the stream that starts as a trickle and then builds into a mighty river full of living things and ever moving to its destination. Like the small stream I am still trying to find my way around the rocks and obstacles in my path.

Today I will reflect on our life together and quietly celebrate his birth and remind myself of the wonderful 24 birthdays I shared with him.

Darrell was born at home in a little white house near Chisholm, Minnesota. It's hard to imagine that he was 12#'s at birth because he was always so slender. His parents, Tony and Ellen, had been expecting a girl (why I don't know) and had picked out the name Darlene. So when a bouncy baby boy was born no name had been chosen. Looking through the comics, Ellen found a name that she liked; Darrell would be the name she gave him and Victor as his middle name after her father. He once told me that he was so fat that his mother would not let anyone see him. If a visitor came wanting to see the new baby she would tell them that she just got him to sleep and would prefer not to wake him. I always thought that this was one of his stories until his Mom verified it to me. She said he was so fat that all he had were little slits for eyes.

One of my favorites was his 50th, which he insisted that he was going to help plan. Little did he know that behind the scenes a surprise would be in the works. After weeks of secret phone calls to his daughters and to his family in Minnesota, a plan was devised to have some special guests at his party. I was so excited, I really don't know how I kept the secret from him. No, it was not a celebrity, but, rather people who much more important to him. His Mother, Sister and Brother and their spouses would fly in from Minnesota for this monumental birthday the day before the party. But, how would I feed all of them without him wondering what I was up to. Darrell made great spaghetti, so his oldest daughter and I came up with a plan. She would ask him if he would teach her how to make his special sauce and of course he wouldn't turn her down. So that afternoon the two of them made a huge batch of spaghetti, some of which he thought we would freeze. Now the next hurdle was how to get him out of the house so we could sneak his family in. So a neighbor and I came up with a plan for her to call and ask him to come over because she thought she smelled gas. As soon as I heard that they were within a few blocks I called her with a prearranged signal. Off he went and in they came – I had them sit around our dining room table, which is not visible from the front door, and we waited for his return. The excitement of this surprise was building as we watched him come from down the street. But, as usual he stopped to shoot the breeze with another neighbor. When he finally came through the door I yelled for him to come help me in the dining room. I'll never forget the look on his face. I think he thought he was having a hallucination. He fell back against the counter in shock and we all thought he was going to pass out. I don't think if he had won the lottery it would have been any better of a surprise. For his party his youngest daughter rented him a snazzy tuxedo – gosh he was so handsome and so very happy. I don't remember much about the actual party, but, I will never forget how thrilled he was to celebrate this very special birthday with his Mom.

When we visited Minnesota last summer Darrell said that he wanted to see the house he was born in again and the farm where his grandparents had lived. Sometimes I wonder in all the years we went there on vacation why this was the first time he ever mentioned going there. I'm so glad that I was able to share that with him and the memories he shared with me as we drove through the country. He talked about his grandparents, who only spoke Finnish, and how he wished he could have been able to talk to them. He spoke of summers spent at their farm and how he and his siblings would wake up and start hollering: “Grandma, pancakes.” A special day and a sweet memory now.

It's funny how easily at times it is to forget that he is not here and how I still expect to find him “putzy'ng” in his shop. Yesterday, as I folded towels, it came to me that I still needed to get him something for his birthday, but as quickly as that flash came into my mind I realized that this year it would not be needed.
In my opinion 68 birthdays were not enough and certainly the 24 I shared with him all went so fast. Darrell lived life with a gusto that few do and although we all have sad times I think his life was full and filled with love. I know that he always made sure that I knew he loved me and I'm sure that he knew that I loved him. So as I quietly reflect on his life and birthday today I leave you with this beautiful song/poem that describes my heart today. Happy birthday sweetheart........

“You Were Loved”
Sung by Wynonna Judd

We all want to make our place in this world;
We all want our voices to be heard.
Everyone wants a chance to be someone;
We all have dreams we need to dream,
But sweeter than any star you can reach
Is when you reach and find you've found someone.
You'll hold this world's most priceless thing,
The greatest gift this life can bring,
If you can look back and know
You were loved.

You were loved by someone,
Touched by someone,
Held by someone,
Meant something to someone,
Loved somebody,
Touched somebody's heart along the way.
You can look back and say,
You were loved.

You can have diamonds in your hand,
Have all the riches in the land,
Without love do you really have a thing.
When someone cares that you're alive,
When someone finds their world in your eyes,
Then you'll know you've found all you need.
You'll hold this world's most priceless prize,
The sweetest treasure in this life,
If you can look back and know
You were loved.

So many roads that you can take,
Whatever way you go,
Don't take that road alone.
Better you know....
You were loved by someone,
Touched by someone,
Held by someone,
Meant something to someone,
Loved somebody,
Touched somebody's heart along the way.
You can look back and say,
You did OK
You were loved.
So remember to tell that one,
You are loved.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award

I received a surprise in my Easter basket from two of my favorite bloggers: Carol at Reflections Over the Fence and Linda at Flipside. Thank you ladies your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated as is your constant encouragement!

As a recipient of this award, I am to list 10 things I have learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me and then pass the award on to 10 other genealogy bloggers who I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

Where do I begin? My genealogy adventure has been so full of surprises that have both enlightened and humbled me.

Finding the ship manifest from the Barque Siberia that brought my Watermann family to the United States was a big surprise. For so many years the only clue to where this family actually lived was on census reports. The census reports were very vague and did not list the actual town in Germany. Not only were the census reports vague but seemed to be inaccurate. My difficulty with the manifest was that I could not make out the actual town because of the penmanship. I forwarded the manifest to a cousin in Germany and he was able to decipher the record. I learned from him that the town was Langenholtzhausen. You can read this post at

My Second surprise was when I Google Langenholtzhausen and I located a website ( that is maintained by a group of dedicated genealogists in Germany. There on their site was my entire Watermann family. You can imagine the happy dance of joy I was doing. Not only was my Watermann family names but who each members Godparents were and the address of the home they lived in.

I was humbled to learn how they were all starving to death and that tearing the bark from trees was being used to make a sort of soup to sustain life.
I was surprised when while reading the OGSA message boards I noticed a note from a gal who was looking for her father-in-law's birth family and that the mother was from my grandmother's home town of Blue Hill, Nebraska. Blue Hill was and still is a small farming community. I was sure with the assistance of a cousin who still lives in the area that we could help her.

I continued to be surprised at the amount of information I was able to find. We ultimately found his birth family members. And the ultimate surprise when her father-in-law was able to meet his half brother who had been longing to meet him also. What a joyous time it was for the two brothers, who are both in their 70's to finally meet for the first time. You can read my story of discovery in my posts entitled “Pay it forward”

It was a humbling experience for me to realize how lucky I am to know my own family history and who my ancestors were. I will never again take for granted the joy of knowing who my family is.

I was surprised when a simple photograph book project to share ancestor photo's with my family turned into a year long project. My original intention was to put photographs that my mother had into a book so that they could be easily shared with other family members. As I began working on the project it took on a life of its own. As I researched I was somehow lead to other members of the same family group. The project grew and grew and finally ended with 320 pages filled with family stories and photographs of our ancestors. You can read about my journey to learn the stories of my family here

Writing this book took me on an unexpected journey. A journey that would enlighten me in the world of my family who first emigrated to the United States.

Their struggles to survive in an untamed wilderness with nothing but their own determination was very humbling in a day when the computer puts everything at my fingertips.

Discovering what happened to my great grandfather, Gustave Bebensee, who the family had been searching for over 100 years was not only enlightening but was a mixture of emotions. Emotions that ranged from joy to sadness flooded in when I finally found him after my own 10 year search.

I was thrilled to be the one who finally tracked down this man, but sad to know that he deserted his family to start a new life of his own. The reason I will never know but continue to search for. You can read of my quest on my posts titled: “The Quest of a Geneaholic” -

I think the most enlightening, surprising and humbling experience I have had has been writing this blog and discovering a community of “Geneabloggers” who have enriched my research more than I can express. Genuine people who have extended their hearts at time of joy and sadness. I'm glad to have joined this wonderful community and proud to know so many fellow family historians.

I want to bestow this award to the following Geneabloggers who I enjoy reading and hope you too will take a look at their great blogs.

Brenda at Journey to the Past
Nancy at My Ancestors and Me -
Forgotten Old Photo's at
Diane at Our Attic Treasures
Jennifer at Jennifers Genealogy Blog
Trish at St. Vincent Memories
Bob & Marilyn at Lord & Lady
Aline at Acadianroots
Leah at Random Notes
Deborah at Irish Family Research

Saturday, April 3, 2010

If Easter Sunday Falls on Monday Will We Get the Day Off?

And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament [i.e. new covenant] in my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.—Luke 22:14-23.

Tomorrow we celebrate Easter – the day Christ was resurrected from the dead. For Christians it's the most important moment in history that we celebrate.

"I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me,
though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me
shall never die."-- John 11:25-2.

As a child who grew up in the '50s it was very important to have a new dress, white shoes and gloves for Easter Sunday church services. My dresses were usually handmade by my Mom and almost always included a big tied bow around the waist at the back. They were always quite prissy and flowered for spring. It was an absolute must to wear a hat and carry a little purse. We usually got up early that morning so that there was time to hunt for the eggs that the Easter bunny left. Mom would normally set a chocolate bunny or egg by our plates. I think it felt more tragic to learn that there was no Easter bunny than to learn of Santa. For several years I insisted that Mom still hide the eggs because it was so much fun finding them.

"In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,

You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade."

-- Irving Berlin

Easter church service was always such a wonderful celebration. Beautiful white Easter lilies on the alter and the Pastor with his white robes, it was all very impressive to a little girl. After church Mom always prepared a feast and we would be allowed to eat a few pieces of our candy. It would be nice to be able to have just one more of those innocent days to relive.

The first Easter that Darrell and I shared began his ritual question to me: “If Easter Sunday falls on Monday will we get the day off?” I remember when he posed the question to me I actually thought about it for a second. Then I rolled my eyes at him and gave him a little sarcastic smile and responded: “Gosh I don't know, maybe.” We shared many wonderful Easter's and were able to share the Lords communion together.

This year Darrell will celebrate his first Easter with his Savior. I imagine it will be a magnificent celebration in heaven!

So to all my family and friends I wish you a blessed Easter and that you celebrate the gift of eternal life that has been granted to you by our Savior, Jesus Christ.


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