Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We're doing what Casper????!!!!!

I took one last stroll around the town this morning.  Walked down the street Casper grew up on and think I found the spot where his would have been.  Couldn't help but laugh when I realized that the view out his front door was the church.  He has become a big character for me, so I can only imagine him as a little boy, always near the church.  He wouldn't have been able to get away with anything.  Well, until he married the 40 year old woman (when he was 27).  I guess he was making up for lost time.

I also walked through St. Vincent's one more time.  And placed Grandpa's pipe on the baptismal font.  So that he, in a way, could be where his daddy and grandparents were (at one time).

The street name that Casper grew up on.

I think is where Casper's boyhood home was.

If I'm right, his home would have been the one in the middle.

Grandpa's pipe sitting on the baptismal font where his dad, uncles and grandparents were all baptized.  Thank you Paul Kerkhoff for loaning it to me and allowing me to take it with me on my trip.

Before we left Haselünne, we met Matti to say thank you and goodbye.  He handed me the article that was written about  me.  I have to admit that I was thrilled with the photo!  No dark circles under my eyes.  No turkey neck.  And the photos of Grandpa and Dad are visible.  Big bonus--I'm holding Grandpa's pipe.  I'm just a little embarrassed to admit that we went to 2 stores to buy all the copies they had.  All in all, I bought 5 copies of the newspapers.  Herm and/or Beth, be warned.  I'm hoping you'll translate the article for me.  I'll buy you a beer.  LOL!

After saying goodbye to Matti, we were on the road.  I have come to the conclusion that Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Mapquest simply do not work in Germany.  They'll tell you to get off at some exit or something, and it doesn't exist!

Today, Yahoo left out one little detail of our journey--That we'd have to take a damn ferry!  I kept telling Trish that there was no bridge, but she didn't believe me.  "The ferry will be one option.  But I'm sure there will be a bridge."  Um Trish, the sign to Bremerhaven has a little car sitting on something with the water sign under it.  I think that means we'll have to take a ferry.  "No it doesn't.  It just means it's one option!"

We got to the point where we could go no further, and she said to me "See, I told you there was a bridge." Trish, that "bridge" is to the ferry.  Not across that huge body of water.  So we had a little adventure that Yahoo neglected to tell us about.

After this, it was easy to find the museum.  It was very good and well done.  But I think I actually had more of a reaction just walking along the port than I did walking through the museum.

I could only imagine Casper (age 57), Lisette (41), Anthony (14), John (12), Henry (10) and George (6) traveling from Haselünne to Bremerhaven.  Hell, I thought Trish and I had trouble getting here.  I can't wrap my head around making this trek back in 1864 with a 57 year old husband and 4 boys.  And then getting on a stinking ship that was packed with other immigrants?  Being on that thing for weeks?  With my family?  Saying goodbye to everything I had ever known?  Knowing that I would never see my homeland again?

And as I was walking along, I had to ask myself if I think I could've done it.  And the answer was no.  Leave everything at my age?  Even if I knew someone who was already over there, it's still the "unknown."  You're putting all of your eggs in one basket.  There's no Plan B.

The only thing that could have made me decide to leave my life in Germany for a new one in the US was if my children's future was at stake.  It took guts to do what they did.  And I've got to thank them for having the balls to follow through with it.

The Kerkhoffs come from good stock.  Granted, it's "interesting" stock.  LOL!  But we're strong personalities for a reason.  And I think a lot of that is because of Casper and Lisette and their determination to find a better life for their boys.

1 comment:

  1. I dare say that memories of this trip will stay with you like no other.

    I hope you get to do some more such explorations :-)

    Thanks for sharing it with us.