Well, dear readers, I'm off to the hospital tomorrow for knee replacement surgery. I'll probably be in the hospital for three days or so (until Sunday), but then I hope to be back and posting soon, because there's lots to tell you about. Here are a couple of teasers:
1) I heard from the webmaster of the Erkeln website! He wrote me a long email with lots of interesting information and other people to contact. Seems there are still a few Ortmanns connected to Erkeln and to us, no doubt. I'll give all the details in a few days, I hope.
2) We have a kind of Y-DNA mystery, maybe, that could be very significant. It involves a possible "non-paternal event," and I'll leave you with the job of figuring out what that is, until I'm able to post again.
3) I've gotten farther back in the Ortmann line; though it's not documented yet, we are into the 1600's!
4) I've heard from a cousin in Erkeln! Her name is Magdalena (last name not Ortmann), and as far as I can tell, her great-grandfather Stephen Hermann (known as Hermann), was our Joseph's older brother! Magdalena is interested in genealogy too and we will be having more contact as soon as I'm up for it.
I also found a very nice document: the program from the 1100-year anniversary of the town of Erkeln, held in 1956. At the very end of the program, there is a beautiful statement about how we feel about our home towns, in this case, Erkeln (which appears to be our home town to, now going back to the 1600's), but it could be any of our home towns -- Brooklyn or Queens, Newark, Minneapolis, Cincinnati. I want to share it here, first the statement and then my rough translation:
"Dies ist, Erkeln, heute dein Ruhm, der Tag deiner Ehre. Sieh, deine Söhne und Töchter, sie kommen von überal l her heut. Alle sie drängt es, dich, du schönes Dorf an der Nethe, wiederzusehen, dich im Glanz deiner Wälder und Fluren. Alle sie suchen der Kindheit Stätte, den Spielplatz der Jugend. Froh stehn sie dort und bewegt, wo als Mann und als Frauen, glücklich die ahnten die Schönheit des Lebens in heiliger Schöpfung. Hier stand die Wiege. Die Mutter ging hier. Es schuf hier der Vater. Froh rief, Erkelner, hier dich die Glocke zu heiligen Dienste. Hier nur bist du zu Haus. Hier wurzelt tief deine Seele. Alles an dir, der Leib, deine Seele, dein Sein und dein Können, Du, wie du bist, alles entstand hier im Tal an der Nethe. Dank es der Heimat. Rühme dich ihrer, die Zeit deines Lebens. Nimm es als heiliges Vermächtnis mit von dem Tag deiner Ehre: 1100 Jahre bestanden im wechselnden Gang der Geschichte. 1100 Jahre Treue zur Heimat. Heimat, du ewig - schöne du Erkeln, dir schwör ich - Liebe."
"This is, Erkeln, the day of your fame, the day of your honor. Behold, your sons and daughters come from everywhere today. They all rush here, you beautiful village on the Nethe River, to see you again, shining in your woods and meadows. They are all looking for the place of their childhood, the playground of their youth. They gladly stand there and are moved, where as man and woman they felt the beauty of life in sacred creation. Here was the cradle. Your mother walked here. Your father built his life here. The bells gladly rang out the holy services for you here. Here only, you are at home. Your soul is deeply rooted here. Everything you are, your body, your soul, your being and your competence, you, as you are, everything, came into existence here in the valley of the Nethe. Thank your home place. Be proud of the time of your life. Take it as a sacred legacy from the day of your glory: 1100 years passed in the changing course of history. 1100 years loyalty to your homeland. Home, you forever-beautiful Erkeln, I swear to you - love."
Isn't that lovely? I'd like to know who wrote that.
So I'm off for a while. I'm packing the nice tote bag they gave me at the pre-op class I had to go to at the hospital. I'll take my Kindle and so may be able to post with that, don't know yet. I spent last night making a nice playlist for my iPod, one of contemporary songs and one pretty much exclusively of Bach, whom I have always loved. It's the music of my childhood, my family, my church, my history. I will find that very relaxing and comforting, if they let me listen right up until going into surgery.
Hugo is all groomed and ready to be my constant companion, over the next few weeks. I'll leave you with a sweet picture of his little face, and see you all soon!