Category Archives: History

Hoighty Toighty

I have connected with several members of my mother’s family over the past four years, both in the US and in Germany. The family name is Bartels, which is a patronymic name that is short for Bartholomew in German.  My Grandfather Bartels and his two brothers and four sisters all settled in Minnesota in Rock and Pipestone counties in the early years of the 20th century. They all lived within 20 miles of one another.

The name is properly pronounced BARtels, with the emphasis on the first syllable.  When my grandmother married my grandfather, she changed the pronunciation to BarTELS, which she considered more posh.  She was a city girl from Hamburg and considered my grandfather’s family too rustic for words.  It  only served to distance her from the family, and caused some hard feelings. After all, they were all in the same boat and were all starting over in a new country.  It didn’t much matter what you might have had over there, since now you were over here with not much. Grandma considered herself superior because she spoke formal German, not Plattdeutsch.

We have the same issue here with a German-Hungarian family with the last name of Lefor.  It is rightly pronounced Lefor, (like leper). The more hoighty toighty members of the clan pronounce it LeFOR, as though they are French.  They all live in the same county, and it is quite amusing.

I like the words hoighty toighty. I don’t know its derivation, but it sure captures a concept.

Who do you know who is hoighty toighty? Why do you think they do that? What makes you think well of a person?

 

 

Helpful Hints When You Travel

I ran across a little book belonging to my father INSTRUCTIONS  for AMERICAN SERVICEMEN in BRITAIN 1942.  It was issued by the War Department, Washington, DC.  It is a delightful little manual for good relations when you visit Great Britain.  I feel like I should send it back to Washington so they can reread it. Here are some of the headings:

NO TIME TO FIGHT OLD WARS

BRITISH ARE RESERVED, NOT UNFRIENDLY

DON’T BE A SHOW OFF

THE BRITISH ARE TOUGH

AGE INSTEAD OF SIZE

REMEMBER THERE’S A WAR ON

BRITAIN, CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY

WASTE MEANS LIVES

KEEP OUT OF ARGUMENTS

BE FRIENDLY, BUT DON’T INTRUDE ANYWHERE IT SEEMS YOU ARE NOT WANTED

IT IS ALWAYS IMPOLITE TO CRITICIZE YOUR HOSTS; IT IS MILITARILY STUPID TO CRITICIZE YOUR ALLIES

I think this is a nice quote ” When you see a girl in khaki or air force blue with a bit of ribbon on her tunic, remember she didn’t get it for knitting more socks than anyone else in Ipswich”.

Well, that sort of sums up a lot, doesn’t it.

Do you have any advice to add to the list? 

Camp Baskerville

As many of you know, I am fond of Sherlock Holmes stories. Not the first fictional detective, he is the most popular and has the honor (sometimes dubious) of having been written as a character more times by authors NOT his original author than any other character.  Sherlock also holds the Guinness World Record as the “most portrayed movie character” – more than 70 actors in more than 200 films!

 

So I was intrigued when I learned that Park Square Theatre was doing The Hound of the Baskervilles this summer.  From looking at the website I could see that Holmes and Watson would be played by women and it didn’t look like it was being billed as a serious production.  A woman playing Sherlock didn’t bother me; if Ghostbusters and Dr. Who can be women, why not the most famous fictional detective.

Park Square is known for occasionally messing with your expectations but I was really unprepared for the audacity of the production, the sheer silliness. There were just five actors; if you’ve ever read or seen Baskerville, you know there are many more characters than that.  Normally this bugs me a little when actors play multiple roles, but I quickly got over it and in fact, they used it for comic fodder.  At one point towards the end, the actor playing Lestrade and Henry Baskerville did a “half and half”, turning from one side to the other – hysterical.

There was a lot of laughter; a few times so much so that I needed to wipe my eyes. Of all the different ways that I have seen or read Holmes, I have never experienced him as “camp” and I loved it.

If you have the chance, the production is playing for another week or so and I highly recommend it.. ESPECIALLY if you’re a Holmes fan.

When have you ever laughed until you’ve cried?

 

Bread and Circuses

August 4 has been pretty busy through the centuries, so I am leaving this blog post pretty open for the weekend for Baboons to comment on three pretty fun things.

In 1693, Dom Perignon is said to have invented Champagne.

In 1777,  Retired British cavalry officer Philip Astley established his riding school with performances in London,  a precursor of the circus.

in 1919,  The Rodin Museum opens in Paris in The Hôtel Biron containing works left to the state by the sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Say what you will about Champagne, circuses, and sculpture.

Family Day

Twenty-three years ago today, a little bundle with a shaved head was put into my arms.

I was half-way around the world, in a hotel in Hufei, China and there were five other bundles being handed off to five other sets of arms at the same time. We spent 8 days in Hufei while all the last bits of paperwork were filled out, signed, stamped and copied (the copier only took one page at a time and after 45 minutes had to sit for a bit to cool down).  Then we headed off to Guangzhou where we had 2 more days of paperwork, but this time U.S. paperwork.

Then the group broke up; Baby and I flew to Hong Kong for an extra day, taking a long taxi drive to the Stanley Market to get a few trinkets, including a Chinese chop with her name carved into it. Then we said goodbye to China and took the long flights to get back to Minnesota.

Most of you know that we celebrate this day every year (usually by going to The Melting Pot). We used to call it “Gotcha Day” since that was when we “got” each other, but when Child was about 10 she announced that she preferred “Family Day”.   She said that “gotcha” made her feel like a package being picked up at the post office.  So now we have Family Day.  Some years we do cards, although never gifts.  I already have the best gift.

Do you have a family tradition that needs re-naming?

The Frog Prince

I have a cousin who I find astonishing. I think he is my second cousin. His mom and my mom were first cousins. Our grandfathers were brothers. We are the same age and graduated from Luverne High School together.  We used to chase each other around the grade school play ground. He always had a fascination with reptiles and amphibians. Baboon Krista knew him from his work with the Minnesota DNR  as well as the Rock Bend Music Festival (Free, Free,  Free). He used to examine frogs to see if they were missing legs.  PJ knows him from their Danish Heritage Society. His  dad was Danish.

His recent Facebook posts reveal that he doesn’t work for the DNR  now, but for some reason  he is travelling around Madelia conducting field surveys trying to find and count Great Plains Toads.  I wonder how you count toads? How do you know you haven’t counted them twice? They jump around!

My cousin is also a luthier, and creates the most beautiful mandolins, Hardanger fiddles, nyckelharpas, and Viola D’ Amores.  What a range of interests. How on earth does this happen?

Who are some of the most astonishing and fascinating people you know?

Bad News Bears

Well, the news from the Supreme court is discouraging.  #45 rallied yesterday in Fargo.  The weeds in my garden are horrendous.  On the other hand, there was a gorgeous, huge moon last night. My cats are charming, and I am a part of several communities that are supportive and comforting.  To cap it all off, in 1820, on this date, the tomato was proven to be non poisonous by a Colonel Robert Gibbon, who ate a tomato on steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey.

How do you keep going in trying times?  How has scientific experimentation (a la Colonel Gibbon) improved your life?