Archive for December, 2011

new year’s eve post 2011

December 31, 2011

New Year’s eve 2011. The eve of a new year in my life. What will it bring?

First of all, wordpress thinks it is bringing snow, as it has snow coming down in the background as I write this. That CERTAINLY is not true. Just took a mile or so walk, w/ a hooded sweatshirt on, unzipped, and almost had to remove it. The sun was out most of the day, an absolutely lovely day.

Hopefully this new year will first of all bring my husband a job. Unemployed for 7 mos. now and no unemployment check. He is owed an unemployment check but will never get it. This was explained in a past post.

My life has become very simple. We have what we have for money, & that’s it. The only thing we have to decide is, how to juggle the bills to not get sued or attacked, and keep the lights, water and Internet on. The TV is gone– have lived w/o it now for a few months. Our phones have to stay on. Even those I would get rid of, but the companies have you in some assenine contract for 2 years, and you CAN’T turn them off!! You can turn off 1 line for 3 mos., & then they turn it back on.

As we go through this hard time again, I am amazed how cruel a society we live in. Absolutely cruel. People want to blame everyone else at the bottom besides those at the top making these decisions to keep the rest of us groveling for a decent place to live, a car to drive to our jobs in, and enough food to eat. It is just ridiculous.

The hardest thing for me, is to just wait. Wait and wait some more. Wait past the time you thought you couldn’t wait any longer. You have no choice, really, there is nothing else to do except possibly make a huge change and move back to the land of industry, where my husband COULD at least have a JOB. But we have friends here, we love our community, & we promised the Fedl govt. we’d live in this house at least another year, or we owe the President his kick back money. Don’t want to be in that situation. We can’t afford it.

So my life is simple. I don’t even consider Starbucks anymore, it’s 1/2 hour away. Have grown used to making my own coffee every single day. We eat simply. We have eggs, toast, cereal, or oatmeal every morning, a salad for lunch, and one actual meal per day. The night meal includes meat, usually potatoes and onions, and some sort of vegetable. Nothing elaborate. Same every day. We find ourselves buying occasional candy bars or cokes, because of the craving for sweets, and just something a little bit FUN. OH BOY! We don’t go out to movies, don’t go out to eat, don’t even go into town really because we have to save the gas money. Certainly did not make it home to Indiana this holiday season!

Take a 3-mi walk as often as possible, watch a few tv shows days after they’re on real tv, on our computer, a few movies, play games on computer, read, go see friends, for “entertainment”. It’s an exciting life.

This break for me has been an organization break. I went thru stuff in our garage once again, made a list of everything we own for will purposes, organized my children’s class stuff again for whenever it will be used, read one children’s book I’d never read before. In this next week, I hope to finish major work on a journal article for publication; get my syllabi done; go in to another school where I’m teaching a class part-time for extra money this Spring; work on family history a little; read my text books;

and be thankful. Thankful for my kids, my 4 grandkids and 1 new one on the way. Thankful for my husband & friend & our time together. Thankful for faith which brings hope. Hope is about the most important thing I could wish for everyone this new year. There is always hope.

We have a small pork roast in the crockpot which I bought on sale tonight, and which will be ready late this evening while we watch movies together…. that’s nice and cozy.


countries of origin

December 20, 2011

MY countries of origin so far:

Netherlands — ALL — on my mom’s side.

Father’s side:








his mother’s side: GERMANY, ALL

his father’s side:





history of family history names

December 18, 2011
Through the mothers, hundreds of other last names come up who we are related to. These are what we have so far. Dates listed are usually the BIRTH date of the last person back & where they originated or lived.
AGNEWS — still working on our line. Not proven yet past my great-grandfather James Agnew’s father James in OHIO. I have an article to be posted in the Agnew international newsletter in Jan. 2012. There is an older “Samuel Agnew” listed in Ohio 1850 census with my great-grandpa James as a little boy, & his father James. This Samuel has not yet been traced. (If he is a FAMOUS Samuel Agnew born the same year, then we are traced back to Scotland. If not, I don’t know who the hell we are yet.) But no doubt we go back to SCOTLAND and prior to that, IRELAND, as there were 3 MAIN AGNEW brothers who originally came to the states! We are all descended from those 3 Agnew brothers pretty much. One came to South Carolina & there are Agnews down here from his line. Others were in PA & from there evidently migrated west.
Reid — Kentucky
Owens — WALES
Owen — immigrated from ______ to Virginia 1600s
Lemonds / Lemond — North Carolina
Moore — North Carolina, 1752
Henderson — Virginia 1700
Martin — IRELAND, 1698
Hunter — IRELAND, 1717
Henry — Virginia, 1730
Edwards —
Bybee — Indiana 1836. This is the wife of James Agnew’s family. GO FIGURE there is not much info. on them either.
Easum — Indiana (wife of Bybee above, not much info.)
Smith — GERMANY 1720
Schmidt — (became “SMITH” above)
Dixon and Pearson — Maine 1600s
Mitchell — Virginia, 1686
Ford — Tennessee, 1794
Ribley & Ribelin — GERMANY 1730
Bruner — SWITZERLAND 1678
My mom’s side: ALL DUTCH, all immigrants from HOLLAND “the Netherlands”, my grandparents from FRIESLAND area, I think the SW part.
Plantenga — Immigrated 1882
Brink (Ingbringhof) – Immigrated when?
Wobbes van Vliet
Black — “John Hugh Black”, Virginia, 1800 —
Orndorf — GERMANY 1716
Luhl — GERMANY 1715
Richardson — Ohio 1834
Elam — Virginia 1780
Young — 1799 -?
Eanes — Illinois 1783
Sharp — ENGLAND 1670
Eastlack — ENGLAND 1635
Coffee — North Carolina 1786
Haines — New Jersey 1730
Allen — New Jersey 1699
Morgan — Philadelphia 1727
Haniford — IRELAND 1827
Murrell — Virginia 1737
Wagoner — Ohio 1814 
Martin — Maryland 1746
Jacobs — Ohio 1827
Welch — ?
Cox — ?
Courson — New York Staaten Island, 1687
VanOosten — NETHERLAND 1647
Graul — Johann Graul immigrated 1850. (Can be spelled GROL in census.)

December graduation

December 12, 2011

Wednesday this week is December graduation at my small college. When our oldest daughter graduated from Purdue, we were escorted to the third balcony, I believe it was, and when she walked across the stage, we couldn’t even tell which one she was. Their names were scrolling across a screen as they swarmed the stage, two lines, criss-crossing in the shape of an “X” and leaving the stage with their empty diploma folder! It was ridiculous. What was the point? Still, the entire auditorium was filled with proud parents, ourselves included, as we somehow pictured it being more like the high school graduation was, where at least we would hear our child’s name and know when they walked onto the graduation stage.

At my college on Wednesday, we will go into the chapel which will be filled with beautiful red poinsettas. Now I’m not a church attender, but I know beauty when I see it. And I love red. So it suits me just fine.

Faculty parade in, each in their own institution’s gown from when they graduated. Mine is the only gold & black hood for PU. Each graduate will not only have his or her name announced, but each one is personally hooded by the acting President, and then they will each have their picture taken WITH the acting President before leaving the stage. It is a happy day, a proud day, and we personally know each graduate very well by the time they get on that stage. That’s because we’ve seen them in numerous classes, as they go back and forth between myself and my colleague, the 2 sociology faculty at my school. They take other classes as well, but we’ve seen them in every sociology class they ever take. Additionally, we are their advisors, so we consult with them to sign them up for classes each semester. It is an intimate and caring relationship, one that often continues over 5 years’ time. By the time we see them walk across that stage, we feel nearly as proud as the parents!

After living the experience at a small college, I would not trade it for the world. There are pros and cons about each situation. Large universities have their own national reputations which help graduates land jobs after they leave. They have sports teams that are seen on national television, and nothing can beat the experience of a crowd of thousands at a football stadium the size of a small planet. At a place like that, you form your own groups and clubs, because you need those to feel connected. But there is a faculty of 20 or so professors within each discipline. Students can graduate in your own field without ever having taken one of your classes! No thanks, folks. I can think of each student and know their best skills and the things they do poorly. I know the ones who are usually late to class, who don’t do well taking one at 8am. I know the ones who play sports and how their team did their senior year. I know those who are always early to class, I know whose grandfather died in the last year. I know many who never made it to this stage, who dropped out for one reason or another along the way, the same as many of my student colleagues did alongside of me in graduate school. Not everyone makes it to the final runway. Not everyone should. Life has many paths. But for those who DO, we gonna get down and celebrate on Wednesday!! Picture time! Oh yeah. 

memory of my mom

December 10, 2011

I just had a memory/vision of my mom which made me briefly break down crying.

My mother was very child-like. She accepted whatever her pastor told her. She accepted what other women in her own Bible study told her, as if they knew more than her. In reality, her faith was larger than most of them in her later weeks, months, years of life. Her best friend once told her, “Marti, we won’t know each other when we die — we’ll be ANGELS!” And my poor mother accepted that. I personally think her friend was “dead wrong”.   🙂 

My mother was also a recovering alcoholic. She learned that term in treatment. She almost died that week that my brother & sister drove her in. She learned that an alcoholic is always “recovering” and not “recovered”, and, like a child, she believed them when they told her, “If you take ONE DRINK, you’ll be RIGHT BACK WHERE YOU WERE when you came in here.”  She was technically dead when she came in there. She knew that too, and believed that if she ever took ONE DRINK, she’d be right back at death’s doorstep. And so she never did take another drink and lived 22 years after leaving the facility.

She went to a live-in, residential treatment facility, without which I believe she never would have quit. It took her body a week to get sober. Then she started in on “treatment”. In the facility, they focused on acceptance and love. Acceptance for the condition they were in and their addiction, and complete forgiveness and love for the self. Addicts are inherently self-centered. The world revolves around their addiction and their next drink, and all else is secondary. Recovering addicts are the same. They have to be! The world revolves around their staying sober and all else is secondary. It is my belief that this self-centeredness carries over into every other aspect of their lives, which makes them damn hard to live with. But it makes them possible to have a relationship with. My kids would not have known their grandma if she had not quit drinking. When she stopped, they were just barely old enough to start seeing the alcohol, and I would have stopped taking them there. They would not know their grandma drunk. But she stopped, and that made a relationship possible, and is one that they cherish to this day.

In a hallway in the treatment facility, they had a little bell. Any time anyone wanted a hug, they could ring that little bell and stand there, and someone would come and give them a hug. Many times, visits with family members are restricted while they learn to deal with themselves and their addiction. My memory/vision of my mother is of her standing there in that hallway, by that little bell, and ringing it. She would do that. She told me about it. It just breaks my heart right now to think of her standing there in need of a hug. Sometimes I really miss my mom.

The Incredible Shrinking Man

December 7, 2011

There is an old movie from 1957 by the title of, The Incredible Shrinking Man. I was just thinking about it. I watched it as a young girl, probably because my older brother was watching it, and it stayed with me. I’m sure when I was watching it, I was “glued to the set” mesmerized by it. The guy is hit by radiation and insecticide and somehow, this causes him to start shrinking, and medical science cannot do anything for him. He eventually lives in a dollhouse, but then their cat tries to get him from there. He goes to the basement of his & his wife’s house & gets locked in there with a giant spider. In the end, he somehow gets out into the yard, and is the size of an ant, and knows he is STILL SHRINKING!  — Think about that! What would you do? You can’t talk to anybody anymore. You will eventually be eaten by something — maybe even something not visible to the normal-sized “human” eye. Who are you, at that point?

The thing that sticks with me about the ending is that this little man, this incredible shrinking man, stands back and looks up at the sky and sees the stars. He looks up into God’s heaven, and he knows he is not alone, that he is part of the universe, and that he matters.

Isn’t that an incredible ending? Would a movie of today end like that? I don’t think so. I think that is a lost art, to really say something about human nature and the universe in a popular movie. They try but it’s more all about the glitz, the technological chase scenes or something else. I think that is an incredible statement in the end. We matter. No matter how alone we feel, we are not alone, we are part of the whole entire universe, and we matter. There is a song from black gospel that talks about the sparrow. God knows the sparrow, and He knows me. ‘His eye is on the sparrow,’ is the wording.

As time goes on, and my husband doesn’t have a job or any income, for 6 months now, sometimes I start to feel that God doesn’t hear or that there is simply no answer. Yet, if I go back to prayer and envelop myself in His Holy words, it is always the same. The Love is always there, the feeling of completeness, the knowlege of Holy souls (call them angels if you wish), the understanding that there is more to the universe than this life. So what does it all mean? I don’t know. What do we do next? I really don’t know. I just know that God’s love surrounds us, always. This is a gift in itself.

the symbolism of housing

December 5, 2011

I have some thoughts tonight on housing. Shelter. Something all human beings need. These are somewhat random thoughts right now but perhaps they will gel over time.

Tonight I watched police of Washington DC take Occupiers off the roof of a makeshift building they erected at their site. It was meant to be a shelter from the cold, for both Occupiers and the homeless milling about in DC. I watched, mesmerized, for over an hour, while police came in, went up in a cherry-picker, and literally “picked” students off the roof of this thing. The last one refused to budge and held a steel-like grip until police literally pried him off, one limb at a time, and he finally, finally relented.

The fascinating story in my mind that began to take shape is the SYMBOLIC MEANING of HOUSING or shelter that was being created, by the actions of these young adults in our nation’s capital. I find myself with very mixed feelings about the whole occupy movement. I sympathize greatly with their cause. Greed is rampant in America, and those 1% do have an ungodly and immense amout of wealth unlike any other industrialized nation on earth. In fact, most of the rest of the largely industrialized nations have taken great steps to lessen their wealth and wage gap. Not in America. Mostly because we have this thing about individual RIGHTS and freedoms that we see as, the freedom to make all the money you can, in almost any way you can, and you don’t owe anybody else a DIME. Which I think is wrong. We do owe others a dime. We owe EVERYONE, in fact, food, clean water, and shelter. Not that everyone has to have the exact same quality or amount, but a heckuva lot closer in value than we have now. Or at least the opportunity to EARN it, which doesn’t exist right now. JOBS are gone and no one in the 1% gives a HOOT about that. People’s lives are melting away before them, and those at the top continue in their exploitation and taking jobs overseas, because it’s ALL about the money, it’s all about profit alone.

In any case, the police took them off the roof, and I turned it off at that point (when I saw that they didn’t tase or mase anybody to get them off), so I assume they then dismantled the house on the Occupy grounds. I don’t really have a problem with that. And I applaud the officers in tonight’s case, who showed great restraint, even after this kid peed all over them as they stood below him towards the end. They did not act or look angry in the footage. You didn’t see it on CNN by the way, because they refused to cover it, even though I watched for nealry 2 full HOURS on someone’s own webcam and independently broadcast production! We know who’s bought out. It’s become so totally blatantly obvious in the past few weeks, I don’t even want to watch them anymore.

The symbolism of the shelter erected at the site was 1) to house our homeless population, which in America is shameful. And 2) to show solidarity and sympathy with the 1 out of 10 Americans whose homes went into foreclosure in this crisis.

People losing their HOMES is a powerful image! It is a powerful reality in today’s society. With the loss of income of my husband, we even stand one toothpick away from that, and the reason it would never happen that we would be on the street or in a shelter is that we have supportive family. What if we didn’t? What if we were totally reliant on only ourselves. We could be on the street with a PhD. That is the world we live in. And that is powerful. It is very powerful greed operating our world today.

I have enough family that I am not close to, that I can imagine this happening to people. My family is splintered, my mother, father and older brother already gone from this world, and I have 9 first cousins, none of whom ever talks to me or writes. We don’t know what’s going on in each other’s lives. Most of them also splintered years ago, and there are no family get-togethers. Those who we were closest to in my childhood completely shut me out. So, yes, I can see people ending up homeless from a foreclosure. Some families are not that close, through no fault of the kids.

How much of the world is without shelter tonight? If 2/3 of the world’s population exists on $2.00/day or less, what do you think? We live in a world out of balance, where children go hungry, earthquakes devastate already-poverty-striken places, and a year or more later, large populations are still living in tent cities, and we sit and watch our TV and eat our food at night and never think of them. What do they think of us?

Food – Clean water – Shelter from the cold, and the rain, and life’s outside problems, every child deserves. Even those homeless in America. Shame on our banks and our system that takes back homes they offered and adveretised and SOLD to people who now cannot afford their payments. SHAME on our politicians who let weeks and weeks and weeks go by and do nothing to create jobs for those in their own country ready and willing to work! Shame on the South Carolina state govt. for priding itself on how many unemployment applications it TURNS DOWN every week. Shame on us all.

Wintry December

December 4, 2011

Dec. 3rd and winter has hit the Midlands. What does that mean? It is 45 degrees outside, and cloudy. I just took a 2 1/2 mile walk without gloves. The trees are nearly barren, the colors are gone, and brown oak leaves are strewn all around the pond. I don’t see turtles swimming, but an occasional large fish still jumps & splashes as I walk by. Our heat is on WAY too much, because our house is so poorly constructed, I can see 1/2 an inch of sunlight at the top of the back door. This is when it is “closed”. So we keep it set to 68, and lay in bed way too long in the mornings, because it is the warmest room in the house. It gets down into the 30s at night & hits 50 during the day. Winter in the Midlands.

Julia MacNern and Tom Haniford

December 2, 2011

written to my kids: Next week is finals week & then I have a month off. You will probably receive more e-mails from me about family history, since we don’t have money to go anywhere, that is what I plan to do w/ my time.
Here is a tidbit. The lady who was Indian, on dad’s side, according to Aunt Lucille & other family members, was named JULIA McNERN in her marriage to Thomas Haniford.

 In the transcribed marriage record, Thomas’ last name is mistakenly listed as HAMFORD, and Julia’s name as: JULIA MAE NORN. At first I thought, “Oh! Mae Norn is her Indian name,” but no, I got a copy of the original marriage record and it is MacNern! It ticks me off how many mistakes there are when you go to look for records. Viewing this, it is no wonder that next to NOTHING has been found in any other records, for them, besides that fact that they each lived less than 10 yrs. after they got married. We know this because their daughter Dolly was born in 1876, but all their kids are parceled out to other homes by 1880. And family stories say Julia died in childbirth or shortly thereafter.

In any case, this was the 2nd marriage for both of them. So if this Julia was Indian, she had probably married another Scots Irishman named MacNern, before marrying Tom Haniford. There are more mysteries for sure to be uncovered in our families.
Thomas and Julia were married NOV.8th, 1869, just about 142 years ago, in Warren County, Indiana. From that marriage, Dolly was born, the mother of Grandma Julia Black. Significantly, Dolly named her daughter JULIA, after her own (Indian) mother. The older JULIA died shortly after Dolly’s birth. Then Thomas died shortly after that, both within a 5-year span. Haven’t found either of their graves yet.
Name:Thomas Hamford
[Thomas Haniford]
[Julia MacNern]
Spouse Name:Julia Mae Norn
Marriage Date:8 Nov 1869
Marriage County:Warren
Source Title 1:Warren County Indiana
Source Title 2:Index to Marriage Record 1853 – 1920 Inclusive Vol
Source Title 3:W. P. A. Origifal Record Located: County Clerk’s O
OS Page:337