Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
My granddaughter has been busy cleaning her room... ooops - she just hesitantly peeked around the corner into my room, barely making eye contact. Standing back - asking if she can wet a paper towel to get the sticky stuff off her purple table. I answer with a sharp yes.
She quickly hops down the steps to the kitchen and just as quickly returns to her room and begins the daunting task of sticky removal. She doesn't like when I am mad at her and she wants to put this nasty business of the freezer door behind us as fast as humanly possible.
She left the freezer door open, this isn't the first episode of "freezer door left open in the basement" and it probably isn't the last. But each time it happens, I get really irritated... seriously irritated. Normally the open freezer door would be noticed in a short period of time, and there is no loss of the contents... Today was different.
Rai went down to get some ice cream out of the freezer on Friday night. There was room in the freezer upstairs for the remaining ice cream so she didn't return to the basement. Saturday we were busy and I didn't go down the basement. Finally around 11:00 am on Sunday, I go down to the basement and the freezer door isn't just open it is open all the way.
My first reaction was one of being over the top "livid". Yelling for Rai to come downstairs... I think there were a few choice swear words in this initial process. I must have been a sight, standing in front of the freezer sputtering out partial sentences - I hit on topics such as how irresponsible it is to leave the freezer door open. How the poor freezer had been working so hard to try and keep the contents frozen and was fighting a losing battle. I focused several partial sentences on the waste of good food, as I held each package for her inspection before tossing it into the trash can. The partial sentence that came out of my mouth in regards to the estimate of loss, was off the charts - $500 is just not possible...
If I am to be honest, some of those items had been in there for awhile. I was never going to fix those frozen spicy hot potato fries... I'm not even sure I bought them. Maybe one of the kids bought them. The frozen - well definitely not frozen pizza, had been in there for maybe a long time. The couple hamburger buns and the couple hotdog buns were never going to get eaten. The unfrozen fudge bars were not that expensive - I probably bought them on sale. That chicken was three years old and the cool whip I know was on sale.
BUT and this is a big BUT - I was seriously angry about the turkey soup stock from Christmas and the frozen noodles. I was looking forward to making turkey noodle soup this next week. And the bags of frozen tomatoes from the garden - that made me sad. I add those tomatoes to soups and I boil them down to make sauces - that was a loss.
The biggest most emotional loss were the meals from my daughter Sara. She makes wonderful meals for her family and then fixes me a meal and puts it in her freezer. When she comes to visit, she brings me meals on wheels. I just have to pull them out of the freezer and warm them up and I have an excellent homecooked meal. Those meals are stored near the front of the freezer so I can easily pull them out. I think they were the first to succumb to the warming temps.
I didn't have half a cow in my freezer but I did have a box of pot stickers that I really like. The loss is not that much and that freezer is weird... the door doesn't close on it's own. I think the kids assume that the freezer door will close because the refrigerator upstairs closes on them all the time. I shouldn't be that surprised that the freezer door was open and I should probably check the basement everyday - especially if the kids are getting something out of the freezer. Or at least send them down to check it.
On the plus side, the freezer is cleaned out and Rai has picked up, dusted and organized her room. We still have to wash the food containers but, again on the plus side, Rai will learn a new skill and we will have some quality time together - especially now that I am calmer.
On a side note - I want to thank that guy who closed my gas tank door at Max Design the other day. I must have been driving around with that open for a few days.
I told you that I was going to share a column with you - a column written by my Aunt Peg. It was hard trying to figure out where to start - I love her columns so it is difficult to pick out which one to begin with...
I finally decided to look back on some of the columns that were close to today's date. The one I selected is from February 6, 1980 - nearly 30 years ago. It seems fitting that she writes of an election year time frame. I should note that my Aunt lived within the five mile radius of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania - which may be part of the reason for the krypton gas mention in the third paragraph???... Anyway - I found it interesting and I hope you find it interesting and a bit entertaining as well. Here is the column - in the words of my Aunt Peg - Roslyn (Green) Freeborn.
FIGURES NEVER LIE - PEG FREEBORN
Like so many of my generation, I was lucky enough to grow up in the benevolent vicinity of a sharp-witted, and sometimes sharp-tongued, grandmother. My Grandma Green was of Pennsylvania Dutch stock and Nebraska Pioneer sentiment; and she had a saying for just about any situation. One of her sayings was "Figures never lie," but she was always quick to qualify it with "...but, Liars can figure!"
As usual, Grandma was right on the button. Her saying was especially valid today, with an election year right around the corner. The Liars are figuring to beat the band! Using, presumably the same set of economic numbers, one candidate claims the "gross national product" is up several notches, while another says, when adjusted for inflation, it is way down. One man claims more people are employed than ever before, while another points with dismay that more people are out of work then ever before.
Then we have the NRC telling us they would like to let off a little practically harmless radioactive krypton gas that will give us about as many microcuries of radiation as we get from watching a season of football on a colored TV set. Then they turn around and say, if we don't let then turn loose the stuff, and we had another one of those impossible accidents, it could wipe out Maryland.
The treasurer of the school board tells us they can spend 3/4 of a million dollars making a sports paradise out of a swamp without raising taxes, but we'll have to give them another mil or two to patch the leaky high school roof. And then the oil companies claim their 105% increase in profits is just a wee drop in the bucket and besides, it was all made off the British and European markets.
Economists claim we are just starting into double-digit inflation. Presumably double-digit means 11. Then why is it that every cotton picking thing I go to buy costs at least twice as much as it did just a little while back? The way I was taught to figure, that is 100% inflation.
And how about our banks and lending institutions. In the good old days they made money by lending at 4% and paying 2% on savings. Now they claim they can hardly make ends meet and they are lending at 17.5% and paying a lousy 5.4% on passbook savings. If that 2% spread turned all the small town bankers I ever knew into the richest men in their towns, how come the modern bankers can't keep body and soul together on a 12.2% spread?
It is probably just as well that my Grandma and her sharp tongue are sleeping peacefully along side of Grandpa in Ridge Cemetery under the clear Nebraska sky. She would have a conniption cat fit at these fiscal shinnanigans. It certainly wouldn't pass her notice that the Liars are figuring. Grandma, you were right as rain.
Be sure to post a comment! Did you know my Aunt Peg? Do you remember my Great Grandma Kate Green? I would love to hear your connection or memories. Thanks. (more to come)
My Mom was one of three girls born to Joe and Lily Green. Her older sister was Roslyn Green who they called "Peg". My Aunt Peg was a real character and funny - oh she was so funny. Her humor included a lot of different elements and sometimes the humor revealed a bit of shocking truth - no topic was off limits. People would laugh and their eyes would raise - they would look at one another and you could almost see the thought bubble above their heads revealing their astonishment "Oh God - she went there".
I looked forward to her visits to Fremont. She hadn't lived here since her marriage in Lincoln. Here husband Carl was a Dentist and had enlisted in the Air Force. After the war they were stationed in England, came back to America and then were sent to Germany before returning to the States and eventually settling in Pennsylvania.
It is my understanding that my Aunt had majored in Journalism and Art at UNL. She raised her children at various places around the world, following her husband as he moved from base to base.
She continued perfecting her artwork and she wrote columns along the way. I didn't pay much attention to her writings - just the letters that she sent to me - they were delightful and encouraging.
After Doc retired, they bought an old - really old - like centuries old house in Middleton, Pennsylvania. As you can imagine, owning a centuries old house has it's challenges - so many challenges.
It wasn't long before she started writing a column for the "Press and Journal" documenting the various challenges and funny occurrences along the way.
I have been going through a bunch of boxes of family memorabilia and found several notebooks of her columns. The columns were cut, folded so nicely and then glued to the paper of the spiral notebooks. Hundreds of columns are preserved in this fashion. Judging by the placement of these spiral notebooks and the other items surrounding the find, it appears that my great Aunt Rose is the one who took the time to catalogue her writings.
I am still going through the columns but it is so interesting (to me at least) that she has a column on reusing and she references her Grandmother Kate Green (my Great Grandma Kate). It gives me such an insight into her relationships with the family and how she viewed growing up in Fremont. She was a world traveler but so much of her writing includes her time spent here in Fremont... It has been fun reflecting on this connection and now I just need to figure out what to share.
The one about the "Monkey Stove" is good, but the one about the "Lobster in the Sump Pump" is so funny and sort of sad... well I need to read some more! Check back tomorrow - I will post something...
I wrote recently about the results of a DNA test that I took and how surprised I was to learn that I had no - none - native American ancestry. My Dad and his brother Jack had told their kids the same story - our great grandmother on their mother's side was native American. It was a surprise to my brother and my cousin to learn that I was lacking this particular aspect in my DNA pedigree. My brother plans to take a DNA test when he is home in June - just to see if maybe a little bit of native American shows up on his results.
I seriously don't think he is going to find anything. I have been studying the various DNA matches on the ancestry site and nothing is indicating that our great grandmother had descended from anything other than people of European heritage. I'm not going to pretend that I'm not disappointed but I have gotten used to the idea that maybe Great Grandma was a bit of an actor - she played the part.
My Grandmother Lil - the mother of my mother - told me stories of visiting her uncle in Valley. Sometimes, during those visits, she would see an Indian woman coming to town with her husband. My grandma told me that the woman was a bit frightening but her garb was colorful.
My Great Grandmother Jennie - who was supposedly native American - died in 1930. My father was just a toddler and his brother Jack maybe hadn't been born yet or was just a baby - either way, neither of them knew their Grandma Jennie. They believed what they had been told about her heritage.
Jaynee, my cousin, told me that her grandmother - the mother of her mother - had told her stories of the Indian woman who would come into town with her husband, The town was Valley, Nebraska. I thought that was funny that both of our grandmothers on our (completely different) mothers side confirmed the idea that our great grandmother on our father's side was Indian.
So many people believed that our Great Grandma Jennie was native. I continued to examine the DNA matches and family trees of those relations. I reached out to a not so distant cousin who confirmed that he had no native American ancestry in his DNA test results. His Grandma and my Grandma were sisters and also daughters of Great Grandma Jennie - who was not an Indian. No Indian blood for him but he did get a teeny tiny percentage from Africa - cool.
I do know - or at least I think I know this about Great Grandma Jennie's family ancestry. We have a few "Sirs" and a "Lady" or two in our very long ago past - maybe - could be - pretty sure - or maybe not. It appears that my 8 times or maybe it was more than that great grandfather was a Sir Edward or maybe he was a Hugh. There was a Sir Cheney who was a Knight in England back in the 1400's who maybe pretty sure could have been an ancestor... It's all so hard to tell.
As you look back through member family trees and confirm relationships through marriage, birth or death records you start to get a picture of your own family tree. You find out that there were a lot of ancestors who had like 20 kids - that really spreads out the DNA. It's no wonder I ended up having over 600 1st through 8th cousins.
One great great great grandfather was married five times and had children with three of the wives... that was a little confusing. I ended up being related to people of half siblings way down the line.
I didn't realize that my Dad's father had so many brothers. One guy was Phineas Smith. I never heard of a Phineas Smith. But sure enough, while going through boxes of memorabilia this past weekend, I found a guest book for my father's mother's funeral - Grandma Belle. Several of my Dad's uncles had attended her funeral and there was his signature - Phin Smith. All of a sudden Great Uncle Phin was real and all his kids and grandkids and all their little DNA connections were real. Sooooo… again - not an Indian, but this journey around Europe and over the ocean to America has been fascinating. That one Quaker back East, who was lured into his sinful ways by a great great great great something grandmother, with child, and ultimately kicked out of the Quaker colony - way to stand up for your woman! And Great Grandpa Powers here's to you - way to stand with your woman, who either believed she was an Indian princess or just liked to dress up and play the part. Your little trips into the town of Valley were legendary!
One last note: Great Grandpa Powers drove cattle up the Chisholm Trail, so he was a real cowboy. Dad told me he sold his share in a ranch out west for a train car of horses and came back to settle on a farm in Valley. That is when he married Jennie. So an old cowboy married an Indian princess... or at least that is what we were led to believe. As you know, this story has a few holes, but so far, the Grandpa Powers part of being a cowboy still holds true... for now.
The working title for the family ancestry book is "Long Lines of Lunatics and Liars". So much material to work with...
My youngest daughter and I have always been interested in our ancestry. She was fairly certain that she had a native American ancestry and I knew that I had a Great Great or maybe Great Great Great Grandmother who was at least 50% native if not 100%. I knew about this heritage from my father.
We adopted our youngest daughter and we had a general idea of her ethnic background. The information we had didn't include native American, but she still felt quite certain that it was a possibility.
So - a couple of years ago, I bought us those ancestry DNA kits as Christmas presents. I thought it would be cool to find out where we both came from and what ancestors we maybe shared.
The kits sat around gathering dust. Ramie finally registered her kit, spit in the vial and then sent the sample in for analysis. She was disappointed when the results didn't show any native American ancestry. It was a bit of a let down. Also, I thought for sure something would turn up from along the Mediterranean - nope - nada - nothing.
Her ancestors migrated from many of the same regions as my mother's family - England, Norway, Sweden, Germany - cool. I suppose that shouldn't be too surprising - lots of people came over here from those countries.
I stalled for a few more months because I didn't want her to feel bad when my DNA results came back and showed my native American background. I eventually decided I couldn't hold off forever and asked her to come over and help me to register my kit.
She got me all set up with my account. I tried to work up some spit but it wasn't coming. No spit. Geesh. She told me to suck on my cheeks. Nope. No spit. Where did my spit go. I kept at it and finally spit a little gunk into the vial. We both looked at it and decided that I couldn't send that to anyone. It was way too gross. I washed out the vial and dried it with a Q-tip or six.
Plan B. Have something to eat. Brush my teeth. Drink lots of water. Sit around. And then, when spit becomes available, try again.
So this became a full day thing because you couldn't eat or drink anything for like half an hour before you did the spit thing. I kept forgetting and would eat something and then I would go brush my teeth and start the whole thing of forgetting and eating again. It was so difficult - who knew spit could be so challenging. I was a spit failure.
I finally forgot about spitting and ordered a lobster flatbread from the Club for supper. I needed to cash a check at the bank and then pick up a prescription. After completing those errands I made my way to the restaurant. I noticed that I was thirsty - I hadn't had anything to drink in awhile - over half an hour...
I picked up my supper, got back in the car and drove back home, being very careful not to swallow. All the way home I sucked on my cheeks and I knew that I was maybe going to get enough to fill the vial up to the little line. Hooray - my spit drought was over.
I got to the house and ran into the kitchen. I found the kit and proceeded to empty the contents of my mouth into the vial... It was way more than I anticipated. I had to pour some out - and that was gross too...
Sooooooo anyway… I got my results back and I AM NOT NATIVE AMERICAN. What the hell? My Dad told us how his Great or Great Great Grandfather had married an Indian. NO HE DIDN'T. Gosh I remember coming home from elementary school in third grade and asking my parents about our ethnicity. The teacher had told us there would be a form to fill out the next day and we should find out our ethnic background. Dad told us to just put down that we were Americans. I told him we needed more than that. He told me to put down American Indian then, because that was our main background on his side of the family. So the next day, I went to school and filled out the ethnic background as American Indian.
Dad told stories of this person in our family who was supposedly an Indian. I'm sure he believed the stories he told and I believe whomever told him, believed the stories too. It just didn't show up in our DNA. Anywhere.
I didn't know that much about my father's family but now I know that his crew came from much the same background as my mother's family. England, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Wales and an added bonus of Ireland. So, no native blood but I do have a bit of the Irish in me.
This whole ancestry thing is interesting. The DNA results have confirmed a lot of the things I already knew to be true and have also cleared up a few things that I thought I knew to be true but weren't.
The information available online is amazing and has proven to be a real time suck. I get on the website and the next thing I know, hours have passed. I will be writing more about my tribe - even if it's not the tribe I'd anticipated...