Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Young Nordena Miller

I finished cleaning up my mother's house yesterday prior to listing it today. I found this photo in a folder of family pictures mixed in with a box full of old tax and check stuff. I'm guessing my mother was probably around ten or eleven in the photo. I never realized her hair was that light as a child and until I looked at the photo I never realized that I have the same shaped eyes. Hers were a prettier color though...sort of a Lapis blue that sometimes verged on purple. Mine are gray-blue that sometimes goes greenish.

There were some other photos in the file I'd never seen before. One was a photo of one of my great-grandmothers, Nordena Wilson Mates and my great-grandfather James Buhl Mates, circa 1917. Got me looking up some Geneology and I re-discovered that Nordena Wilson's mother was named Senthalia Jane Bowser. ( Whew! I gotta say I'm glad they didn't name me after her. Or after some of the other of my female line. I might have been Alwilda Wilhemina...or Wilhemina Nordena. If I'd been a boy, I might have been named after Valentine or Amberson Sisley. Ugh, 'nuff said on that. Give me Nancy any day.) The name Bowser was originally spelled Bausser when the family fled the after effects of war in the Palatinate region of Germany for the then virtually empty hills and valleys of Pennsylvania.

Family lore stated that James Mates's family was also originally from Germany and spelled their name Mott. I can't document that, though. I can document that one early American settler ancestor, George Sill (Sell), was an indentured servant/farmer. Another, Andrew Robeson, a convicted and pardoned felon, arrested for writing seditious poetry satirizing the reigning King over his native Scotland. My American family tree includes a Hessian mercenary soldier, an English Lord, and an Irish peasant lass who sat barefoot on her front porch and smoked a pipe.

All of these people came to the American shores hoping for a different and presumably better and freer life than where they were. Fortunately for them, nobody told them they couldn't come here. No green card. No guest worker program. If they could pay their way and find work, all immigration systems were a go. They came, they survived and prospered. Some fought in the Revolution and the Civil War and World War One. They were literally part of the making of America. The America that was, that is.

I have to wonder what America may yet become if we start welcoming people in once more. Re light the torch in Liberty's statue. So, here's a raspberry to Lou Dobbs and his anti immigration blarney. I wonder if you looked under his family tree you'd find a troll?

Live long and prosper mine liebschens und freundan.


Mary K said...

Add my pro-immigration cries to yours, Nancy! The Swedes, Welsh, Italians, English, and even the Muskogee Indians who are my family would welcome hard-working, freedom loving people who think that everyone has a right to peace. No walls, no deportation of decent people. What has come over our country, anyway?

wayworm said...

Right on. Liberty's light is pretty dim right now. We can always hope that our leaders will change their thinking on the illegal immigrants situation in the next administration. Funny, when I think of aliens, I think of someone from outer space, not our friends south of the border.