Thursday, September 27, 2012

I bought myself a gray tophat and an old-style black vest for my birthday present. Hey, I old turn 149-years-old once!
Vintage Homer

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook over 200 people wished me Happy Birthday and I had phone calls from Evan, Jeffrey, Travis, and Forrest. No one sends cards anymore. Sad face. At work I am finishing reports and chapters and trying to clear out stuff in my office. I have made progress and we are still having new projects come in, although it seems things have slowed down a bit. The wildlife is abundant outside my window- coyotes, an occasional bobcat, hawks, lizards, and yesterday a baby kingsnake.

Can you spot the bobcat?

I'm usually scared of snakes, but this one was so small I was brave.

Baby kingsnake. Buddy continues to stop by for breakfast and supper. He is very happy to see me and after he finishes eating he comes over for some head and tummy rubs. Tonight he was so excited to see me that he started humping me. I said no thank you.

Happy Buddy.

My commenting program is ending and I have tried everything I can to upload a new system- DISQUS- and to save the 20,000+ comments from the last nine years. So far, no luck. It really irritates me that Echo JSKit abruptly decided to end their commenting program, I've had a few weeks notice and they offer absolutely no assistance. Fuck them and their crappy company.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

When I was in high school the first space shuttle flew into space. When I was a senior at the University of Michigan, the Challenger exploded and I heard of this while standing in the living room of my house.

 I have always liked science fiction. My father hated that, it was one of his many psychological problems (he also hated Tom Selleck, environmentalists, garlic, and at times me).

 At work this morning someone mentioned that the Space Shuttle Endeavor was going to fly over Tucson on its way to a museum in California. It was going to dip low over Tucson in honor of its last pilot, Mark Kelly, and his wife Gabrielle Giffords. So Patti, Sarah, Mario, Lisa, Mike and I walked over to the park across the street from the office and right at 11:15 it appeared in the sky.


 It was a bittersweet sight, seeing the last Space Shuttle pass by.

NASA has shown the awesome resolve, engineering and computing skills, and bravery of American men and women. When I was a kid everyone wanted to be an astronaut or a scientist. Now everyone wants to be reality television show stars.

Oh course I made the mistake of reading some of the comments left on our local newspaper afterward. I learned that it was a waste of money, that Obama killed the shuttle program, that Gabriel Giffords is a traitor. I guess there will always be misfits who hate everything.

I hope NASA is figuring out some way to replace the Shuttle program. Space is the ultimate frontier.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I used to watch Jason sing at karoake at IBTS here in Tucson back in 2004-2006.

He's a nice guy and has a beautiful voice. His signature song here was the theme song from The Jeffersons. I hope his dreams come true.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthday weekend. Ohmigod, I am 49. I remember wondering what life would be like when I was 13. Handyman Doug is adding shelves to the dining room (which becomes my mother's bedroom in the winter).

Before shelves.

There is a trapdoor in the ceiling of the closet and he put the ladder up. You can see the original 1927 electricity. Someday I will have enough money to get this fixed.

Spool and cable.

I made myself a brown sugar cake (little bit of rum poured on the cake) with caramel buttercream frosting. Eight sticks of butter and 11 eggs. I took most of it to work and my co-workers loved it.

49th birthday cake, the recipe is in the October 2012 Martha Stewart Living.

Patrick gave me four cucumbers so I made dill pickles. I over-filled two of the five jars and the lids lifted up while they were in the canner- my first canning failures!

Dill pickles. I've never made dill pickles before and I do not know how long they have to sit in the jar before you can eat them. I will have to ask Mark.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Buddy came by for brunch on Saturday morning.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Treasure box.

I have a cigar box where I keep some treasures. The cast of my teeth made back in 1990. A leather wallet Grandpa F made me when I was 7 or 8. A button from my great great grandmother's dress, the pocket watch that belonged to my namesake. And the remnants of a Noah's Ark that I got back in 1967 or 1968.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

For the last couple of weeks a male pitbull has been wandering around my neighborhood. The first time I saw him, he growled at me and ran away. I quickly realized the poor guy didn't have a home and that he was hungry. Coincidentally, I have cans of catfood my cats won't eat, so when I saw him, I called him over and opened a can of food and left it out.

Buddy. The last week he has been coming up on the porch and eating his can, and then I give him some dog biscuits. He soon let me rub his head and then his stomach. I am surprised at how muscular he is.


I am a lion tamer, all stray animals like me. So today after he had his meal, some head and tummy rubs, he put his head out and gave me a huge lick.

He wants to come inside my house, but that can't happen, I am sure my cats would totally freak out.

Why hello.

I'm calling him Buddy for now. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm always amazed at the bullshit people believe. The other day I saw a car plastered with racist and anti-Semitic bumper stickers targeting Obama. On the way north to Flagstaff I saw the following vehicle.

I've yet to see similar garbage directed towards Romney on cars.

Evan's new house is 70 feet from the train tracks in Flagstaff. There are many trains, and they make a variety of sounds. Sometimes the wheels screech. Sometimes it is so loud you can't talk. I was glad on Saturday to drive up into the dirt roads and go exploring. So quiet.

Pretty yellow flowers.

Unfortunately, my allergies have been totally freaking out.

Can you see the glistening tears weeping from my eyes?

It is very lush and green and there are many different wildflowers blooming. The invisible elk must be really happy, so much to eat.

Evan and the pretty scenery.

On Sunday we went to Evan's old domicile and harvested tomatoes, tomatilloes, squash, and peas.

Evan's garden.

It is getting towards the end of summer, and the sunflowers look fairly spent.

I picked tomatoes.

The prairie dogs have been stuffing themselves and are all pudgy.

Prairie cutey dog.

I made Evan pose in a field of yellow flowers.


Along Interstate 17 there were broad fields of these flowers, glistening yellow in the sun. They will be gone the next time I am in Flagstaff.

Along the freeway.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I was arrested for sodomy.

Make your own!

I avoided watching the Republican convention. From what I have read, repeating lies over and over again is now acceptable to fundamentalists. They parked the Puerto Rican, Samoan, and some other territorial delegates in the very front. The rest of the convention hall was filled with white folks, many of whom were probably terrified by those with different skin tones.

Big hawk.

I have watched, at least partially, the first two nights of the Democratic convention. Ohmigod, gay people are people! What has fascinated me is when the camera pans the crowd. All of the people of differing skin color sitting with each other. No need to park a certain delegation in the front row to spice things up.

Smaller hawk.

When I go to the mall to but underpants, I notice the people around me. When I drive down 6th Avenue westward and stop first at stoplight at the University of Arizona rec center and then go past Tucson High School I look at the people. The future is right there before my eyes. America is rapidly becoming more and more diverse. All of the voter suppression efforts, locking young people up for having a joint, all of that bullshit isn't going to work. As a white guy, I'll be in the minority soon and I think that is awesome.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Rollenhagens.

Christian Friedrich Rollenhagen was born in 1832 in the tiny town of Brusewitz, Prussia, second oldest son of Friedrich Wilhelm Rollenhagen and Anna Luise Eggert. The Rollenhagens are known to have lived in the area since at least the 1770s.

Fred, as he was later known, trained as a master tailor. He was married in 1857 to Hanna Frederike Theel, who had been born in Brusewitz in 1833, the daughter of Gottfried Theel and Anna Marohn. Frederika must have gotten pregnant on their wedding night, because 9 months and 9 days later she gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Auguste Emilie. A son, Emil Amandus, was born in September 1860 in the nearby town of Hansfelde.

A photograph from the early 1900s of Brusewitz, Anna Rollenhagen in the foreground.

In 1862, the couple, their two children, Frederika's parents, her brothers Friedrich and Christoph, and her sister Maria traveled to Hamburg and boarded the Sir Robert Peel and spent weeks sailing to the United States in steerage. Why they came to the United States has been forgotten. They would later move to places that were very similar, in terms of climate, geography, and vegetation, to Brusewitz.

Sir Robert Peel.

The Sir Robert Peel was launched in 1852 and sailed primarily between Hamburg and New York City, carrying immigrants. The ship would later sink in November 1863 in the North Sea.

There were 293 passengers aboard the vessel. Six died during the voyage, including the Rollenhagen's 21-month-old son Emil Amandus.

Rollenhagen and Theel families, listed on the 24 June 1862 passenger list for the Sir Robert Peel.

The Rollenhagens and the Theels headed west, settling on Grand Island, Erie County, New York. They lived in a log house, with Frederick working as a farmer. A son Herman was born in August 1864.  A state census was taken in June 1865.
Rollenhagen family in the 1865 New York state census.

In February 1866, my great-great grandmother Anna Maria Dortea was born. I have a hand-painted fraktur that was created using a piece of ordinary lined paper, the blue lines highlighted with gold.

Anna Rollenhagen fraktur.
The family moved to Michigan soon afterwards, they were there by March 1867 when son Otto Frederick was born. The couple's last child, a daughter Edith Augusta Marie, was born in July 1869.

In August 1870, the couple and three children- Amelia, Herman, Anna, Otto, and Mary; Gred's brothers Herman and August, who had come over from Brusewitz, and a servant girl, Augusta Daubach (who would later marry one of the Rollenhagen brothers)- lived in Crockery township, Ottawa County, Michigan. Fred worked as a farm laborer while Fredrica kept house. They owned $300 in real estate and $150 in personal property (tools, furniture, clothing).

The Rollenhagens in the 1870 census.

In June 1880, the couple and their four children- Herman, Anna, Otto, and Edith- lived in Ravenna, Muskegon County, Michigan, where Frederic worked as a farmer and Hannah was keeping house. All four children had attended school in the last year.

The Rollenhagens in the 1880 census.

In June 1900, the couple, their son Otto, his wife Adaline, that couples four children, and a servant woman lived in Ravenna. Fred was still farming, helped out by his son.

Rollenhagen household, 1900 census.

My grandmother had a photograph of Fred and Fredericka. I suspect it was taken sometime between 1890 and 1905. Fred has a full head of hair and a big bushy beard. A watch chain and fob are visible, the pocket watch is tucked into a vest pocket. His jacket is mostly unbuttoned, I'm not sure if this was because he was chubby, or it was to show off the watch chain, or because it was the style. Fredericka has an elaborate lace collar, pinned at the neck, and is holding, apparently, a handkerchief.

 Fred and Fredericka.

Fred died in October 1906 from "dropsy of the heart," probably a heart attack. His death was reported in the Coopersville (MI) Observer on 19 October 1906: " The funeral of Frederick Rollenhagen, who died last week Thursday at his home near Dennison, was held Tuesday morning with services at the home at ten o'clock and in the church at eleven o'clock. The burial took place in the Coopersville cemetery. The Rev. L. E. K. Hagen of Grand Haven officiating.  Mr. Rollenhagen was one of the oldest residents of the community and had lived in the vicinity of his late home for about fifty-four years. He was born in Germany, September 10, 1832, and is survived by four children and eighteen grandchildren. Death was caused by dropsy of the heart."

Fred's death certificate.

After Fred's death, Fredericka continued to live with her son Otto and his family in Ravenna.

Rollenhagen household, 1910 census.

Fredericka died in April 1914 from pneumonia. Her obituary appeared in the A May 1914 issue of the Coopersville (Michigan) Observer:  "OBITUARY. Fredericka Theel, daughter of Gotfried and Anna Theel, was born in Germany, December 12, 1833, and died April 18, 1914.  She was married to Frederick Rollenhagen, February, 12, 1857. Six years later together they left their native land for America, Settling first in New York. After about three years residence in New York they removed to Nunica, Ottawa County, Michigan. Then in 1871 to the home in Ravenna township, Muskegon County, where she lived until her death. She was the mother of six children, Emelie A., Mandus, Herman A., Anna M., Otto F., and Edith A.., three of whom, one buried at sea, together with her husband, have gone before. There remain two daughters, Mrs. Anna Clawson, of Traverse City, and Edith, now Mrs. Hoyt Taylor, of Coopersville, one son Otto F. Rollenhagen who now occupies the old home in Ravenna township, thirty-five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren with many friends and neighbors.
She was an earnest Christian, a loving wife and mother and will be greatly missed by the church, family and friends.
Card of Thanks
We take this method of thanking our friends and neighbors, who so kindly assisted us during the sickness and burial of our beloved mother. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

Fredericka Rollenhagen death certificate.

Fred and Fredericka are buried in the Coopersville-Polkton Cemetery in Coopersville, Ottawa County. THe opposite side of the tombstone has an inscription for Fredericka's father Gottfriend Theel.

Fred and Fredericka's tombstone.

My uncle has a spinning wheel that was handed down in the family. My grandmother gave me the fraktur and a Tea Leaf cup and saucer that once belonged to Fredericka.

Tea Leaf cup.

Brusewitz is now part of the Poland, the German residents driven out at the end of World War II.

In 1998, I traveled first to Brudzewice, Poland, It is still a small town of brick homes, the barns connected directly to each house. Women were working in potato fields and called out to me and the ex, wondering who we were and what we were doing. We didn't speak Polish and they didn't speak English, so we could not communicate.

Afterward, I went to southern Germany and met my Rollenhagen cousins, the descendants of a brother who came to the United States, but was sent back to Brusewitz after the oldest brother, who had remained behind, died prematurely. He ended up marrying his brother's widow and the modern Rollenhagens descend from that couple. My cousin Claus created a website for the family, which I helped out with information I collected here in the United States.

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