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.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry about the perhaps, maybe, possibility of having an ancestor who traveled to the New World on the Mayflower. In that blog, I explained that my 5th Great Grandfather, Christopher Coy, was thought to have been the son of John Coy, who was thought to be the son of Jonathan Coy, who was thought to be the son of Matthew Coy and Ann Brewster. With Ann Brewster being the actual Mayflower descendant.
I came to find out that there were a lot of people with the surname “Coy” back in the early days of America. I felt reasonably sure that my lineage back to Christopher Coy was correct as numerous DNA connections had been confirmed. I didn’t feel that confident about John Coy, Jonathan Coy or Matthew Coy as the line led back in time.
My 5th GG Christopher Coy is likely the son of John Coy but my John Coy was married to a Sara Woodbury. The John Coy who descended from Matthew Coy and Ann Brewster (Mayflower) never married a Sara Woodbury and there is no record of the Mayflower John Coy having a son named Christopher. I know this because the “Mayflower Society” told me so.
I had written to the Mayflower Society and asked them to check my lineage to learn if that particular family line had been verified. When I heard back from them, they regretted to inform me that my particular lineage had not been established. They were kind enough to point out the broken branch in the family tree… My John Coy is a different John Coy from the Mayflower descendent John Coy – two different guys.
Now you might think I am disappointed. I’m not! Not at all. I suspected that my John Coy was a different John Coy. I would have never thought my John Coy originated from the Mayflower, if a researcher through Family Ancestry hadn’t sent me the information. It seemed wonky, but I was willing to do some detective work. Well actually, I wasn’t all that willing to do any work, but I was willing to have the Mayflower Society do a little work and check it out. Question answered – I am not a descendent of the Mayflower. Cool – No is an answer too!
Over all, my experience in determining my family tree has been fun and informative. It is truly remarkable that so much material is available online. In just a few seconds and a couple of “clicks”, you are connecting with long forgotten family members. Instantly revisiting history through the lives of my ancestors is enthralling … bringing to life the events of their time. Reading about and learning more about the Mayflower and the pilgrims was a fun and enlightening experience… now I’m ready for the next adventure into the past – wherever that may or may not lead. Right now, I’m in search of “Jewells”. I have found a few.
Henry Lancaster Jewell – my 6th Great Grandfather fought in the French & Indian War, was wounded in the leg in “The Old French War” , captured in Quebec and died from measles upon his return from war. He was only 30 years old at the time of his death. I have to admit, I haven’t retained much information pertaining to the French & Indian War, so now I need to check that out.
So much history – so many people – so many possibilities – so much to learn…
A few weeks ago, I started thinking about sending out a postcard mailing to announce the publication of the third book in the Three Frog Series. The book would be ready in early January 2021 and I wanted a clever way to tie in the New Year with the New Book.
The first book in the series, “Tell Me A Story Oma Sue About Three Frogs” dealt with a fun challenge. The three frogs created a game of sorts. The first one to build a raft, from the discarded trash that littered the area around their home, and sail across the pond, would be the winner of the challenge. The winner would be the boss for a day.
I wrote the second book in November of 2018 – “Tell Me A Story Oma Sue About Three Frogs Swept Away”. In the second story, the three frogs are asleep on the raft and are flooded out of their pond. The book came out in March of 2019, just after our hometown suffered severe flooding and hundreds of people lost their homes. For a short period of time Fremont was an island – we were cut off from all sides. It wasn’t just Fremont – Nebraska suffered historic flooding. It was sort of a premonition that I wrote about the flood before it happened.
The third book was written and the illustrations almost completed when the pandemic hit in March of 2020. Everything kind of came to a halt as I tried to figure out what to do. In the third book, “Tell Me A Story Oma Sue About Three Frogs Returning Home”, we learn how the three frogs find their way back to their pond.
So back to the postcard mailing… You have to admit that 2020 was a strange year… definitely plain ass crazy. Most everyone I know, and pretty much everyone I don’t know, has been looking forward to a new year and perhaps a return to normal. Just as our “real” lives have been impacted by a series of truly odd occurrences and a complete lack of normalcy, the lives of the three frogs were impacted by a series of unforeseen and equally odd events. A return to normal was all they wanted…
I pondered 2020 and all it’s madness… murder hornets, Harry and Meghan leaving the royal family, the impeachment, COVID 19, the death of Kobe Bryant, the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the Black Lives Matter Protest, the plot to kidnap the Michigan Governor, the insanity of the Proud Boys and the QAnon conspiracies to name a few of the weird, the sad and the absurd.
Nearly 400,00 have died from the virus and our President is spiraling further down into his own hell of mental illness and delusions of grandeur. He is intent on stealing the election he genuinely lost… sadly, too many Americans support him still…
So, what came to me for the copy on the New Year postcard – what could I say about my feelings regarding 2020? 2020 was yucky! But we made it home… that was lucky! Perhaps another premonition…
I hope I don’t spoil anything for you, but the three frogs find their way home to their pond. I picked up the postcards at Max Designs on New Years Eve. Again, I thought I would get them all addressed and ready to be mailed. However, I got sidetracked…
My daughter called me in the early hours of 2021 to tell me that she had been in an accident. Her car was totaled but she was alive. The trip into Omaha to retrieve her was hampered by dense fog. I prayed for help, strength and guidance. I started to doubt that I could continue but soon a white pick-up truck passed me going around 60 – I sped up and kept my eyes on the tail lights. I figured the truck would hit something before me and I would be able stop safely – at least that was the plan.
The truck led me to Dodge Street and the fog lessened as I crossed the bridge at the Elkhorn River – the Bridge that had been washed out in the flood of March 2019.
I found my daughters wrecked car. Two guys in a white pick-up truck had stopped and called for help. She had been alone but these young men had come upon her at the right time.
The return trip to Fremont was even more blinding. I could only see bits of the center white line and the side white line. I concentrated and held the steering wheel a bit too tight. A red SUV passed me and I matched my speed with theirs. I kept thinking that I would feel better when I got over the viaduct at Waterloo – I would at least know then that I was on the right path. I kept hoping that I would get there soon – and hoping – and hoping – and praying. Then the fog started to lift – not much but just enough that I could see a green sign next to the road – “Entering Dodge County” WTF… Luckily, I had traveled the correct path.
Finally, I recognized something familiar. I could see the lights from the Budweiser Distributor and then weirdly, there was another white pickup truck. This one was in front of the red SUV. The truck was swerving from side to side – the SUV was keeping a safe distance and singled to me with their turn lights and hazard flashers. Both cars exited at Military, I decided not to follow and went on to the 23rd Street exit instead.
I pulled out one of the postcard from the package – thinking I would start addressing them. I smiled as I looked at the three frogs standing there so innocently in their little protective masks – with the message… 2020 was yucky! But we made it home… that was lucky! In that moment, I realized that the message on the postcard was so true. 2020 was certainly yucky – in so many ways. But through the grace of God – we made it home – we were lucky!
May we all be blessed with a less traumatic year! My hope for you is to experience divine intervention and know God’s grace. God’s use of the white pick-up trucks was kind of cute. Earth’s angels have need to travel – on that foggy night, they traveled in white pick-up trucks. Thank you Jesus Amen.