"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."
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 yikes
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
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
...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...