Category Archives: Family

Stories of the impact my ancetors are having today; interesting stories of convergences and circles being closed.

dream-Home

Dream-home On A Kansas Homestead

 If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.  Gaston Bachelard
 During one of my extended family’s visit to the Rightmeier homestead in Buffalo Township, Jewell County, KS, an aunt found a doorknob near the sight where the house had stood. We do not know if it is off of the homestead house or another structure from the farm.  Since there has been no construction on the property since the house was demolished, there is little doubt it that it is from the homestead.  The style is right for the era.
It was about five years after Frederick and Malinda Rightmeier had married in 1876,  that it was decided they had “lived in a hole”, a dugout, long enough.  It was time to build a house.  Since Malinda had moved to the area with her parents three years before marrying Frederic, and had no doubt lived in a dugout with her parents for a time,  I am sure she was more than ready for a proper house.  By this time they had four children born about a year apart.  Two adults and four little ones in a dugout would have been cramped no matter how comfy they may have managed to make it.
Dream-home Building Materials
Information on the acquisition of the materials for the house came from an oral history done from an interview of my grandfather, Lyman, Frederic’s grandson by my younger sister.  He said that Fred made several wagon trips 50 east miles to Blue Rapids, KS on the Blue Ridge River to acquire the raw lumber as the quality was much better there.  It may have been walnut he was after.  Another account stated that the raw lumber was than milled in Randall just a few miles east and south.  It was quite a process but was a nice house by the standards of the day.

Continue reading Dream-home On A Kansas Homestead

How A Dugout House Demonstrated Wisdom

“Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.”  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭24:27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
The view north on the homestead. Somewhere on this vista was the location of the dugout.

My mother’s paternal great grandfather, Frederick Konrad Regetmeyer, immigrated from northern Germany in the mid 1860’s.  How that came about is told in a series on circles.  After he was naturalized as a US Citizen, through the network of German immigrants, he became aware of land grant opportunities in Kansas.  In the midst of dreams, he no doubt knew from others that living in a hole in the ground, a dugout, was part of the journey.

The German Immigrant Network
History tells us the German immigrants were anti-slavery and wanted Kansas established firmly as a free state.  There was a period of time in my fair state, when this was quite unsettled.  Rather than protest and fight wars, this community of folks quietly recruited their fellow immigrant countryman to come to Kansas and homestead.  This would, in principle, bring like-minded voters to the state and therefore tip the scales toward the anti-slavery side.
I do not know how altruistic my great great grandfather was on the anti-slavery issue.  However, I do know that from where he had come from in Northern Germany, the Hanover area, the possibility of owning a section of land just for the cost of making basic improvements was a dream come true.  Bureau of Land Management records indicate that the southwest section, 160 acres, of Washington Township was deeded on March 10, 1874 to Frederick Rightmeyer.  In May of that year he married Malinda Elizabeth Miller in Jewell County, KS.  She was the daughter of the neighbor a mile north, who was  born in Mercer County, IL but had come with her family in 1872 to the Kansas prairies.
Newlywed Life And A Dugout
How they went about setting up housekeeping is still being pieced together.  By far the most valuable information we have is from an interview my sister did with my grandfather, Lyman Rightmeier the grandson of Frederick Konrad.  She had done this as a term paper in 1977, for Mrs. Friends Senior Advanced Advanced Composition Class at Plainville High School.  It has provided leads from which to research, not the least of which was my husband and I traveling to Varenholz Germany.   

Continue reading How A Dugout House Demonstrated Wisdom

picnic

A Family Summer Picnic, A Castle And Providence

This weekend I will be joining my mother, her brother and members of three of the seven branches of my maternal grandfather’s siblings for a family picnic near Boise Idaho.  Sometime in the 40s or 50s three of  my grandfather’s six siblings moved from Kansas to this area so I only knew them by name.  A large reunion of the Rightmeier clan in Kansas in 2005 and the advent of Facebook reinstated relationships  geography had eroded.

This picnic gathering has me thinking about this branch of my family tree’s German roots.  It centers around a small village in the northern District of Lippe Germany:   Varenholtz.

A Castle

When my husband and I had an opportunity to visit Varenholtz in 1998, we found a landmark never mentioned in any of the family stories:  Schloss (Castle) Varenholz.  The castle location was the seat of a family of Knights , under Heinrich the Lion. Built to its current size in 1596 by Simon VI, the son of a staunch Catholic Count, who ruled the region and fiercely resisted the Protestant movements in the area.

When the elder Count died, the care of Simon VI, his son, was left to Phillip of Hessen.  Although the Count gave strict orders that his son be educated in the Catholic faith, Phillip did not adhere to this request and Simon was educated as a Lutheran, and later studied “at a reformed school in Strasbourg” where he became a follower of John Calvin (1503 – 1564).  It was in this way that Lippe became a mix of Lutheran and Calvinistic influence.

Regetmeir to Rightmeier

My maternal great great  grand-father, Frederic Regetmeier,  immigrated to the United States in 1864 at the age of 14. During this period, a long-term drought, along with political and religious unrest made living conditions in Lippe quite desperate.  In other words the feudal system was breaking down.

The life they knew was disappearing.  Word of the opportunities in America sparked by desperation, drove young Frederic and his brother August  to make the voyage.   In reality the brothers were stowaways on a ship to New York.  It is said they jumped ship in New York harbor and swam ashore.

Continue reading A Family Summer Picnic, A Castle And Providence

A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

This will re-publish as I make a return trip to Mission Aviation Fellowship -MAF.  This time I am staying for  a few days to volunteer in the fabrication shop.  I am excited.  Following is the background for this trip from a previous post.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a trip to the northwest last year, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.
After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection does go.  It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.
He was also a skilled mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit.  He made inquiries thinking there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  MAF mission did not have a provision for short term pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

Continue reading A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

How to Rest – Maintaining a Dynamic Balance

restGet away and unplug. You’ll come back stronger than ever.  – MICHAEL HYATT
Summer is halfway over for most of us.  A season that promises recreation, relaxation and rest.  We let go of the frantic demands and structures of the other seasons, and just breathe, right?
As a person who retired from a 38 year civil servant career, most of which was spent in front of a radar screen as an air traffic controller, shucking off structure and stress was my idea of heaven on earth.  It still is, yet at the same time, I was not naive enough to believe the illusion that this kind of place really exists.  At least not for any length of time.  The evidence is everywhere.
For instance, after years of telling airplanes where to be and not to be, I found that true freedom lay in all parties, pilots and controllers, taking intentional actions within a structure is what created a non-stressful air traffic flow.
I find the same to be true in our financial life:  Intentionally creating a budget in anticipation of projected income and adhering to that budget takes the stress out of cash flow.  I am also finding this to be true with time.  Yes, even summertime after retirement.
In all of these examples one must be flexible, and make adjustments for the unanticipated. Building in appropriate margins make even those events a bother rather than a crises.  Why?  There are forces at work to put pressure on the best intentions:

Continue reading How to Rest – Maintaining a Dynamic Balance

Hospitality – Exploring The Foundations

hospitalityHe who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,  Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1
The concept of hospitality has a much higher meaning than is commonly thought of today, at least in my part of the world.  Although the everyday application remains valid, it lacks the depth of its’ original intent.
True hospitality is personal.  Its requires effort and energy, commitment, an awareness of other’s needs, preferences and desires – even unspoken ones.  This goes well past the hospitality industry, e.g. hotels, restaurants and other home away from home establishments.  Although once staying in a hotel adept at hospitality or eaten in a truly hospitable restaurant  you do not forget the experience.
Hospitality Is An Action
I have had such opportunities and it is nourishment for the soul and body – and generally a bit of a shock to the wallet!  Still, there is something special about feeling, well, special. Here is a description of  what I am talking about from a review of Hotel Dina in Greece:

“In the evenings, if she saw us sitting outside, she’d pull out an unlabeled bottle of local white wine, pour us each a glass and leave the bottle or grill us up some octopus. A little pat on the shoulder for me in the afternoon, a fresh towel at night, a cup of Greek coffee in the morning. Everything Dina did seemed to be touched with a sense of grace and humor. She was as warm as the sun on our yet-to-be-burned shoulders. The words she spoke to me weren’t necessarily understood, but her meaning was always clear. “You are most welcome.”

The Greeks have a word for it, but don’t they seem to have a word for everything? In this case, the word is philoxenia. Philos= love, xeno= stranger. Essentially, the word means “hospitality” but that definition is too facile. One enters a Greek household and one is immediately offered a drink and something to eat. Taking care of a guest’s wants and needs is deeply ingrained into the culture. There is a sense of generosity that seems completely unstrained. As a guest of Dina’s, even though this was ultimately (and I do not mean this cynically) to be. a moneyed transaction, I found her kindness was not something that was paid for. My stay with her completely refreshing in every sense of the word. I felt restored. And I am most grateful.”

Continue reading Hospitality – Exploring The Foundations

Hello Summer! Simplicity and Stones.

“If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe and Aloysius in a good temper…”  ―Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

summerWhen one is retired from working as an employee, you would think that the seasons, including summer, would all blend together.  I have found that while my time is more flexible, it is not entirely disconnected from the rhythm of the of the seasons

We are not big vacation takers, but prefer to do mini-trips.  Some of this has to do with the amount of travel I did with my work before retiring.  It was great.  But even then, we road warriors reluctantly tolerated the non-frequent flyers at the airports headed off for their summer adventure.

In addition, since I flew, literally, around the world for my vocation, a hop in the car for a couple of nights at a quiet Kansas B &B is so much less complicated.  I have been blessed to see a lot of places, and although there are places I would still like to visit, a good book, my journal and quiet are my version of vacation for the moment.

Summer Service

I have one trip planned for August.  To return to Mission Aviation Fellowship in Idaho.  I get to volunteer at MAF headquarters for a few days.  This is a desire I have had in my heart for many years.  It happens to coincide with an extended family picnic on my mother’s side of the family.  This trip touches several of the stones in my bridge.

Other than that, we are hitting the house renovation hard, another stone:  foundations.  Several projects are gaining traction with some summer help.  Hallelujah!

What are your plans for the summer?  Please share how you enjoy this season of the year in the comments below. 

 

A Day Of Remembrance – The Purpose of Memorials

Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure. Jane Austen

We just celebrated Memorial Day in the United States.  This day of remembrance was

Resting Place of Peter Frederick Stackman and Infant Daughter Mathilde

started after the civil war by decorating the graves of fallen soldiers.  In fact it was called Decoration Day even by my parents.

It became Memorial Day as a US Federal holiday in 1971, the year I graduated High School. In practice, many use it as an opportunity to remember family and friends who have passed as well as honoring fallen soldiers of all wars.  As an aside, we celebrate Veterans Day in November, to honor living veterans and soldiers on or near Armistice Day.
 Memorials are important
Our pastor spoke to this on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  A memorial, in many cases a stone of some kind, causes us to remember, which means to:
  • Be Mindful
  • Recount, Repeat and Rehearse
  • Record
The purpose of this remembering is to:
  • Recall the past.
  • Recount to those in the Present
  • Respond to the future
 You see, this idea of remembering is what THE STONEBRIDGE is really about.  To remember the past, learn from it in order to repeat what is helpful and avoid that which is not.  The BLOG is intended to serve as the “recounting to those in the present” piece.  You are “those”!.  It is my belief that telling lost stories serves to inform in order that we are able to benefit from the past while moving forward.  This is what remembrance is about.
Remembrance Of A Historic Home’s Namesakes
We were not able to travel to the resting places of our families.  Geography and schedules prevented any laremembrancerge gatherings of our clan, so instead, Dr. Dave and I visited the resting places of the HahnStackmanSteinbuchel- Gouldner– Wilson clan at Maple Grove Cemetery and The Old Mission Mausoleum near-by.
 remembrance
These are the families for whom our historic home is named and whose descendants we have come to know.  It’s nice to have an adoptive family of sorts.  We have visited a few of these places before but since I have been diving into the details of their lives,  and posting my findings on THE STONEBRIDGE, this visit had a deeper meaning.  Of course th
at is always the case, when we know more, it means more.
Today is ours to shape tomorrow as we are informed by the past.  Happy Remembering!
What did you do to celebrate Memorial Day this year?  Please comment below.

Daddy – An Airport Story in Three Parts

“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.”  – 
Langston Hughes

This is the last of three installments of a short story about vision, an airport and flying. 

I soloed January 10, 1992 and received my single engine land private pilot  license in June.

daddy
Rooks County Airport DedicationVision and Dreams

On July 4, 1992, I flew the Aircoupe to the national Ercoupe convention being held in Newton, KS, just north of Wichita.  My family was also there, and I flew Daddy as my first passenger, in the Aircoupe, and as a licensed pilot that day.

Daddy ‘s piloting days may have been over but his vision for an all-weather airport lingered.     During the years I worked at Wichita, Daddy and I had several conversations about the FAA airport trust fund that was available for communities to develop local airports as a part of the national transportation system.

Moving Away

In 1995, My FAA career took me to Brussels Belgium during which time the coupe was tucked safely away, looked after by friends and family.  Mom and Dad moved to Wichita where they cared for our home during our stay overseas and to help with their transition to retirement.  I flew each time I was back for a visit.  In 1999 I returned to the states.   I was assigned to the air traffic safety office in Fort Worth Texas.  Daddy’s health was failing.

I found a living situation at an airport near Fort Worth where I was able to acquire a hanger with an apartment. In this space I could keep the coupe, my car and have a home away from home for this last season of my career.  I looked forward to having Daddy visit our hangar home, but that was not to be.  In March of 2000, Daddy died from multiple melanoma cancer having only seen pictures of the Coupe in her newest home.  As far as I know, He was not aware of the new plans underway for the airport he had envisioned.  Yet the seeds of the vision and dream were growing. Continue reading Daddy – An Airport Story in Three Parts

Dreams – An Airport Story in Three Parts – II

“Worse than not realizing the dreams of your youth would be to have been young and never dreamed at all.”  Jean Genet

This is a continuation of a previous post.  Enjoy!

“The day arrived and on September 14, 1969,  Daddy became a certified private pilot.  He logged 1114.45 hours of flying time over the span of 19  years and one month, almost to the day.  His first lePaul Hancock Pilot Certifcationsson was at the Phillipsburg, KS airport in a J-3 Cub on October 14, 1962 and his last logged flight was from the Plainville airpark on September 21, 1981.  Most of the hours flown were in Aircoupe N3052G.  In high school, I was a frequent flyer passengers.

The coupe became Daddy’s transport, companion and therapy; his place to dream and escape. It would be years before I understood the relationship he had with that little plane. The coupe remained at the Plainville Airpark until 1991.

Dreams Fade

In the late 1960s and into the early 70s, in addition to running his auto parts business, Dad became involved in local government, both as councilman and later as mayor.  So as time progressed, the coupe’s time in the air began to dwindle.  In the mid to late 70s, economic downturns and health issues, infringed further on Daddy’s ability to spend time in the air.  There were rumors that Dad had offers to sell the plane, but he needed to keep her close, even if she had to sit quietly on the ground looking south from her open hangar.

Activity at the airpark came and went.  The one major issue:  water.  The field was well drained and a perfectly fine grass strip but rain, snow, ice and other kinds of moisture hampered consistant use.  In fact, there were no all weather airports in all of Rooks County.  In 1978 he and several others began to work on a plan to correct this.  The vision was modest:  simply black top the airpark runway.  Plans and proposals were made with rationale far beyond just a few guys with a hobby.  As mayor, he could see it as an extension of main street for business, as well as providing access to medical flights, and other emergency needs.  Perceptions, costs, and local politics got in the way and plans ended up on the shelf. The time was not yet.

Dreams Transition

In the meantime, I had left home, married and began a career with the FAA as an air traffic controller. When that career brought me to Wichita, KS in 1988, I decided to finally get my private pilot’s license.  I had wanted to do this since I first flew with Daddy, and had even begun training at one point, but the right time had finally arrived.

In a phone conversation with Dad, I asked if the Coupe was flyable. His answer was evasive:  “it was flying when I last parked her in the hangar”.  I asked how long it had been.  “A couple of years”.   I asked if I could use it to build the hours I needed to get my license, his response after thinking it over, was “if you can fix it, you can fly it”.  I had no idea what was invdreamsolved.  I later discovered it had been 11 years since her last airworthiness check.  It was going to be work.

My flight instructor and I flew his plane to Plainville to assess the situation in the fall of 1991.  She was in sad shape. It took two more trips with different assortments of mechanics before,  on a cold March day in 1992 she departed Plainville Airpark on a ferry permit for her new home in Wichita.

In the meantime, I had continued my flight training and realized the Coupe would not be the plane I would build my flight hours in. The plan had shifted.  Daddy was ready to share her with me, and so we took joint ownership.  When I was not supervising a shift at the Wichita air traffic tower/TRACON or working on some aspect of my pilot training, I was assisting the team of mechanics bringing N3052G back to an airworthy condition.”

Comments Please!

I know, this was more about an airplane than an airport, but one exists for the other! The  final installment of this airport story and vision next time.