Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bustin’ out the BLOG!

Wait. . . I know you’re asking yourself who I am.  I know I’ve been gone a while but let’s just pretend that I’ve been here ALL along.

So, it’s time to bust out the good ol’ blog!  I’m headed on an epic adventure and it needs to be documented, so to ensure I do that, I’m starting it off before I leave TOMORROW! 

departure to america2

These awesome people are the Schwendimans.  Samuel and Magdalena Schwendiman to be exact.  Our Madison was almost named Magdalena, after this fabulous woman.  Samuel and Magdalena both grew up in a tiny town in Switzerland called Niederstocken (knee-dur-sh-token).  They joined the church (more on that story in a later post), and decided to immigrate to America.  They are pictured here with their 6 sons.  From left to right the boys are Christian, Samuel, Friedrich, Gottfried, Johannes (John--my great-grandfather!), and Rudolf.  This photograph was done they day they departed for America in May, 1886.  The circumstances of the move to America was difficult.  Much persecution was upon them, most of it from their own family.  Below is a quote from our family history book written by my Dad’s cousin Glenn.  Glenn compiled most all of the journals and documents we have and had them published and bound for all of the family members.

“The matter of fact account of the journey of Samuel and Magdalena Schwendiman and their children as written mainly in the memoirs of Sam and John do not convey to us a sense of the emotional feelings which they must have had as they left their homeland.  In a day when we drive to the nearest airport and are then air lifted to an overseas destination in a matter of hours, it requires time and effort to reflect and think what it must have been like for them to be taken to the nearest railroad station in a horse drawn wagon with all the family belongings.  The parents must have sensed the dramatic change that was coming in their lives for they paused long enough in Thun to have a family portrait made.  How grateful we should be that they did this.  It preserves a moment in time which enables us to appreciate and share what they experienced.”

That is why we are going back to Switzerland.  To get a taste of what life was like for them there, and to visit and bond with our Schwendiman family that still lives in that wonderful little country (and village of Niederstocken).  I’m so grateful for the strength of Samuel and Magdalena and the courage they had to begin a difficult journey with their young boys, and I’m grateful I get to make the journey back with all my siblings and my Dad to celebrate his 70th birthday!