Wednesday, October 25, 2006
A land of immigrants..
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she with silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Lazarus, Emma

I grew up in a family of recent immigrants, well recent in that each one of my grandparents were the children or grandchildren of men and women who left their native lands to seek something better in what they considered a land of opportunity and promise. There was an equal pride among my relations between the "old country" and the land of our birth. If you haven't grown up in an "ethnic" environment in which two languages are spoken, traditional food, customs and superstition a part of everyday life (and especially at family gatherings) it is difficult to appreciate what that experience is like.
The old "Yanks" (especially in my parents generation and before) viewed us as different, and likewise we did as them well. In some ways we envied their long family history in this Country stretching back 300 years and in many cases they envied our colorful vibrant and somewhat "exotic" heritage.
There was always sort of a subtle distinction, often quickly identified by something as simple as the church we attended or the neighborhood we lived in. Yes we are a nation of immigrants, yet somehow, in the back of our (my family's) mind we were just somewhat different than the old "Yanks".


(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The term Yankee has a variety of meanings. Generally, it refers to citizens of the United States, particularly northerners, especially those white Americans from the Northeastern United States whose ancestors arrived before 1776.


The best of both worlds

Imagine my surprise when I found my biological parents at the age of 20 and discovered (among other interesting things about my heritage) that I descended directly from a man who arrived at Ipswich, Massachusetts from his native England in 1634, and who, within 5 short years sailed south to The Connecticut Colony, up the Connecticut River and settled on the very land that I now live just 2 short years after the founding of my native city Springfield, Massachusetts (1636). He is my only ancestor who arrived here at such an early date, less than 70 years later the family were captured by French subsidized Indians from "New France" or what has now become the Province of Quebec during The Deerfield Massacre of 1704 and carried north in a bloody march which resulted in many grizzly and unfortunate deaths. The descendants then meshed into the French culture in terms of religion, language and tradition. They did not return for more than 200 years, at that point having lost any knowledge that they were "coming home". It is only through genealogical research that this was uncovered much later.

So for today's Way Back Wednesday I would like to pay tribute to that one early ancestor, who settled and owned the very land I now live upon in 1638. His name was...
Rowland Stebbins
born in Oct 1592 at Bocking, Essex. (England) There he married, 30 Nov 1618 in St. Mary's Church, Sarah Whiting, daughter of John Whiting and Sarah Isabela Smith.

"Rowland Stebbins, 40, Mrs. Sarah Stebbins, 43, four children, and Mary Winch, 15, sailed for Massachusetts Bay in April 1634, aboard the Francis of Ipswich, John Cutting, master. They lived for a year at Roxbury before removing to Springfield with the first settlement party.2 There he took the oath of fidelity 6 Feb 1648/49.3 His wife was buried at Springfield 4 Oct 1649.4 He had a seat in the first pew of the meeting house, 23 Dec 1659.5 He is presumed to have removed to Northampton, where his death was recorded 14 Dec 1671 at age 79." By the records it appears that Lawrence Bliss came into possession of his home lot in Springfield."

Finding out about old Rowland certainly doesn't make me feel any different about the fact that I am a proud American citizen (believe me some pompous asses would have you believe the length of time ones ancestors have been living on this soil somehow makes you "more" American than those born elsewhere or of very recent immigrant stock) but what it does do is connect me to the land I live in on a level I could never appreciate before. I can look out my window to the Connecticut River, and picture Rowland's boat sailing up from Hartford in 1638. Now that is an exiting perspective I had never known before. This was a hotbed back then, Springfield completely surrounded by hostile Indian lands. This is why the route from Boston to Springfield was never across the state (or Colony at that point) to the west. You would not have made it past (what later became) Worcester without certain death. It was only reachable by coming up from the Connecticut Colony through Long Island Sound, the River and then past Hartford straight North.


yikes...have any of you (fellow New Englanders)
noticed how cold is has become in the mornings?
In the spirit of trying to stay warm, here are a few Way Back Wednesday Beachy pictures from my teens to make us think warm thoughts. I look sooo gay in those last three, I was dating the black haired girl in the gold and black striped outfit, the other was my friend Deanna. They fought over me a lot back then, it got pretty ugly sometimes.

(I'm in the chair)

What a disappointment this film was. 2 hours and 15 minutes of pure agony, ok well perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. It began to confuse you right from the start, switching in between different periods of time so small that you could not tell from the Actor's appearance where you were. The entire film is a series of these changes, which thankfully get a bit clearer as it progresses forward. With such an impressive cast (Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine & David Bowie, who surprisingly was pretty good) you would expect an explosive performance by at least one of them. Even Michael Caine was boringly unimpressive. Bale did impress me with his completely believable English accent, but that's about the only thing I was impressed by. Flat! Flat! Flat! this film was. Bearable enough, but honestly even the aesthetic quality of these two very goodlooking guys was missing. Neither are aging so well, or perhaps it's intentional with makeup, they are not playing men older than themselves so I doubt it's the latter.

But that is unimportant, the fact is this movie sucked, I was let down and I much prefer The Illusionist. And look at David Bowie! We weren't even sure it was him until checking later, even tho we knew he was in the film...

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Blogger snarl71 said...
Fun photos! AH, the 80's...I've got a few similar shots...

Blogger Hanuman1960 said...
Yes, it is getting chilly!

And they're saying snow flurries for the weekend!!!

What happened to Autumn?

Blogger dirk.mancuso said...
I sort of suspected THE ILLUSIONIST would be a letdown based on the Nolan-Bale collaborative mess that was BATMAN BEGINS (yeah, I know...I'm the only male in America that didn't like that one).

Cute pics. Sighhhhh. Have you ever taken a bad photo? You are giving some of us a complex. (***WINK***)

Blogger Spider said...
I would KILL to have the body hair you have and had then... I thought the pics were really cute!

Man, has Bowie plumped out a little or what?
1638- That would be around the time of Prince Philip's war wouldn't it?
Relations with native americans were really good prior to that, but some historians now think that this hostility was the turning point to the negative. Really sad. There's a good book out on it.
And while you were always totally cute(c'mon, you know it's true), I think you look better now then you did back then.
just sayin'...

Blogger Polt said...
If, by "looked way gay in the photos" you mean, freakin hot and sexy and definately shaggable, than, yes I'd agree with that sentiment.

Maybe we could see a then and now photo of you in just compare, you understand. Speedos, perhaps? :)

HUGS and stuff...

Blogger Doug said...
Neat history, and cute pics! Always nice to have people fighting over you. Great for the ego. ;)

Blogger The Persian said...
Karl Snarl: Yea the 80's were fun.

hanuman: Flurries? ugh I didn't hear that.

dirk: I definitely expected The Illusionist to be the dissapointing of the two, I couldn't have been more wrong.

yea sure I take bad pics, you just aren't going to see them *wink*

spider: What I had back then was peach fuz compared to what I have now.

daniel: Thanks for the book link, I will read anything on that time period, completely riveting. Yes I think I look better now than gangly teenage me.

polt: Who knows, maybe I'll do that sometime.

doug: Thanks, the funny part is they were best friends before I met them.

Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...
Very cute teenager! And, that is so cool that you have that kind of history about your family. I think I can go back to the mid 1700s in my family, and that's pushing it.

Blogger Rian said...
Damn, I was so looking forward to seeing The Prestige. Actually you have been the one who told me about it some weeks ago. I think I'm gonna watch it anyways, but it's a pity they did do a better job. The trailer however was interesting and promising.

Here it's getting cold as well. They said today's gonna be the last beautiful and warm day this year.
Nice pics of the beach, by the way. I wish there was a beach close to my city.

Did I ever tell that I'm always close to tears when reading The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus?

Blogger daveincleveland said...
God i love reading about your past....its so cool how you can delve back and find all this info about your ancestors...wish i had the time and knowledge of how to do that, only thing i have always known is that my grandfather came from england and is a direct decendent of john paul jones the famous pirate.....yeah and those last three, you look soooooo much better now....we had anywheres from 2-4 inches of snow on monday...thus winter blehhhh has set in..........:)

Blogger John Hulsey said...
Oh, sad news to read about The Prestige. I was looking forward to it, but yours is the third review I have heard that reports the same basic things... flat, confusing, and not at all engrossing.

Drat. Oh well, better to free my 2 hours up for something more productive.

Blogger keith said...
Interesting issue about gays, but I'd answer that we each see the gay world from our own experience, and the milieu in which we grow up. My experience, for instance, has been that every gay person I've ever known is pathologically gay, so why should I believe in bisexuality. Yet I'm sure there are millions of bisexuals out there ready to lynch me if they heard me say that. Cool blog though.


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