Midterms of Hope

Hi Dad,

We are voting and hoping. Boy, this has been a tough two years. And while I fear you would possibly align with some of the Republican agenda, in my heart I think you would be so appalled at the lying and shenanigans that have been going on. I mean, you could not write a movie this dumb! I don’t know…maybe you could and maybe it would be a hit at the box office, who knows?!

So people are voting like mad and hoping. If we can turn the Senate, that would make a lot of us feel really happy. But that is probably not going to happen. Just the house would be enough for now. Without that, instant depression and frustration.

It’s hard living like this, and seeing the daily stupidity and lies that just keep happening. I am hoping that today we celebrate not just Patrick’s 65th birthday, but some sort of political victory. The people need this.


So Much Anger

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 10.23.14 PM

Dear Dad,

What a strange trip it’s been. Trump is in the White House (no, I’m not kidding, and please don’t tell me that you would have voted for him). So much anger and divisiveness these past months. Women are fighting back about misogyny and are tired of not having a voice, and not being heard or listened to. So, my story is one of anger and frustration in the way I was brought up to think that my value was in how I looked, whether or not I had a perky personality, and how well I listened to authority (men). I don’t understand why you always seemed to undervalue women. Was it the times that you grew up in and lived in? Was it because you did not have a strong father figure in your life? Was it the abuse your mother suffered at the hands of your father? You always seemed like you were a thoughtful person deep down. But, society showed you the way, and that way was to not really value women as much as men, and to not really completely value yourself.

When I was 16, I was sexually assaulted by one of our close family friends, who I will not name here. I wanted to tell you and mom, but I didn’t feel that I could. I was afraid. I was confused. I was angry. I feared that maybe you wouldn’t believe me. So I kept it a secret for years. I have since talked about it, and in the social climate now, many women (and men) are telling their own stories about when they were sexually abused or molested. It is tough to hear, but it is good to get it out there because this has gone on for too long.

I think when we go through painful things, we have the opportunity to learn a lot. About ourselves, about others, about society. Not sure if our society is currently in a mood for learning, though, and that is frustrating and sad.

If you were here, I think you would want a fair and kind world for your grand children and future great-grandchildren. But you might struggle with the old line of the conservative Republicans since you were part of that Old Boy society for so long.

It’s time to try kindness and respect. It’s time to fight against disrespect and marginalization. We have to reach a new level of understanding and compassion in the country, in this world. Or I fear we will split into pieces and destroy many of the things we love about being human.

#misogyny #sexualbehavior #socialchange #oldschoolthinking #women #sexabuse #anger #divisiveness


Dear Dad, the losing of the people in our lives becomes more significant as we grow older. I am sure this is not news to you, for you endured the loss of your mother at a relatively young age, and then later in life you lost several of your sibs. You lived to see 4 of your siblings pass before you. Gerry died on Independence day, I think it was 2012. And Maxine passed a few years later. I am finding the loss of loved ones is a significant ache in my heart each time it happens these days. How can we go on without knowing that person is still here? That we will never see them again, never have a chance to speak with them, share a meal or receive a letter from them? A little ache in the heart every time.

So I do miss you, and I am reconciling the anger I have felt toward you these past 10 years since you died. It’s not so much a pure anger, but a hurt, and a sadness, and regret that I did not spend more time with you, and really talk to you in depth about life and family. We have so much time – and then suddenly, it’s gone. I felt bad for the way you went, that you were alone, and that we could not be there enough for you, even though we tried to do what we could.

Loss is something that makes us reflect, and hopefully inspires us to take some time and look around us and appreciate those people in our lives who we love and like and treasure. Each day is a new day, and each person is a light in our lives.

#loss #memories #family #remembering #grief


Dad with his mom

The Obit

Dad, I found Mike’s obit. He passed away in November 2017. He was 74. He led a good life. I wish I could have met him. I will share more about him later.

#lostbrothers #letterstodad #geneology #missedopportunity

Feeling Connections

Hi Dad,

I went to the Seattle Art Museum today with Pat to see the show that is currently there by Edward Weston. He is the photographer who took many photos of the native people who lived in the Pacific NW and in other places on the West Coast. His photos of the native people reflect their culture, and the cruelty of that time, as he shows many of the people who were affected by the white people coming and taking away so much of the native’s land and culture of the previous decades. He had a way of capturing the images of these people in an authentic and simple way. Although, some people have accused him of staging many of the photos, he is still widely respected for documenting hundred’s of tribal peoples and their heritage in photographs and writings that he made.

So, as I was looking at the many photographs on the walls of the Seattle Art Museum, I couldn’t help but picture in my mind the images I have been finding on the internet of our family’s ancestors from that same period. As I go through the lists of people that are coming up as I search the databases for the Trowbridge, Paeschke, Bartlett, Hohenwald and Scharli families, I see in my mind what I imagine that their lives could have been like. I have found old houses from addresses listed on census data sheets, where you once lived with your mother, and where Clint and Lydia, or “Lillie”, lived in Los Angeles, or further back at the turn of the 19th century when your parents were children and living in Wisconsin. Seems like a lot of our family’s roots are in Wisconsin.

So, I journey back there in my imagination. I remember you talking about Wisconsin, and Michigan, where your father was born.

I found the record of your father’s marriage to Flossie in 1934. I realized that is the same year you graduated from High School.

I also found a census record from 1930 for Los Angeles, that lists your father and mother, and you and your siblings all living together in a house in Montibello.

So much history. Now, many of you are gone, and there is no one to tell us about the old days. I will continue to search for what I can find about our family history, and hopefully leave a more complete story for my kids, and their kids, should they have any.

#family #nostalgia #wisconsinfamilyhistory #familyhistory #earlytwentiethcentury



The Journey Begins

Dear Dad,

This is a new journey for me, and my way to have conversations with you. I have been doing more genealogy research, and have found some interesting information. You probably knew that your grandfather, Hermann Paeschke, was born in Posen, Prussia in 1855, where present-day Posnan, Poland is. Your grandmother, Mary Paeschke, was born in Brandenburg, Germany, which may actually be present-day Berlin. Mary immigrated in 1871 and Hermann in 1874. It looks like they were married here in the States, in Wisonsin. I have a hunch that they immigrated into Canada, and then made their way south and settled in Milwaukee.

I have also come across some census records from 1930, Los Angeles, listing your parents, you and your siblings. You are listed at age 13, and Calvin is listed at age 17 and working in a furniture store.

Lots of online stuff to go through. I desperately want to talk to you, but you are gone now 10 years this December. I miss the conversations we used to have. You always remembered your teachers, and all the activities you did in High School, and you seemed to really miss those days. So, I decided, why not continue the conversation? Why not share with you what I am researching, and finding out? There is so much you would find interesting. And maybe you are out there, and maybe you will here these stories of our lives.

#geneology #paeschkefamily #prussia #posnanpoland #1930census #milwaukee #wisconsin