Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal December 19-21 1966

Dez. 19
We ended our Holy land tour and we spend the day with leisure. We did some window shopping just for killing time. Afternoon at 3.30 We flew from Athen to Beiruth. Since the Ailrline Quanatis with them what should have to fly, was on stricks. So we did have to fly with the M.Easth airline to Beiruth and from Beiruth, with the Swiss Airline to Teheran. We arrived midnight in Teheran with a Trippy nose and a bad cold. We cald up our sone-in-law by phon and They picked us up from the Airport. Through the Quanties airline striche, I did have to pay of $65.50, because we made a little detour.

Dez. 20 We are by our daughter and soninlaw as guest for two months. Since we are tired and both of us have a bad cold a long rest will be good for us. Our daughter father in law Gen. Fazeli visited us and invited us to his house but as long as we have a cold, we will go nowhere.

21. Stayed the whole day in the house. Our little ground son Pirus is in the Hospitel and we can’t even see him.

Transcribing My Grandfathers journal.

The point of this Trip Around the World project is to share my Grandfather’s journal. This is a fun project for me. I love history and any time a personal twist can be added all the better.
As best as I can I’ve tried to transcribe this document without editing it. Now I am the last person in a position to complain about spelling and handwriting, but I want you to realize that this project is not as simple as say, compiling Facebook statuses into a journal.

I usually need to go over each entry about three times. The first I just read, then I transcribe, then I wait a few days or hours before comparing my transcription with the journal and hope that I’ve managed to decipher it correctly and often that last read through I can figure out some of the more difficult words.
Reading a person’s handwriting is a skill that improves with practice, but even with practice I still come across things that I have a hard time figuring out. It does not help that I’m not always familiar with the places he is describing and he often uses unfamiliar spellings for many places. The two scanned examples will let you see some of my challenge. You can click on them to see a larger image.
The first is November 26 and the second is the conclusion of December 10 and the start of 11.


lhg edited and approved.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Dec 1-18

Dez 1.
Sightseeing to the Sakkaro archeological area. We have seen the ruins of ancient Memphis alabaster Sphinx the tombs and pyramids of the King Sakkara, who reignt 2900 B.C. The pyramids were the cemetery for the Kings of Egybt. By the Pyramids there are also the ruins of the Tempels. The Splings of Memphis and Splings King Sagar. afternoon we have seen the allabster Masque Church wich is build of alabaster marcher. Before we entered with Masque they put over our shoes linen sak cover.
The citadella of Cairo, or fortress. There also before we entered the Masque of the zitodel wich also build allabaster manor and is about of 70 by 50 m in [ ] did have to cover our shoes. From the terasa of the zitodelle is a nice feu over the whol city of Cairo.
The cemetery of Cairo is very interesting bietwin the graves are huts or small houses. There is costum, that the people stay by the graves one or two days after the burial, therefore are there the houses.
We also have seen the shopping center or the open market on the street.
Alabaster Sphinz, colossal statue of Ramses II, The serapeum the tombs of Ti and Ptah Hotep Excursion to the Citadel, the mosques of Sulton Hassan, Mohamed Aly.

Dez 2.
Visit Egyptian Museum containing the famous treasures of king Tut Ankh Amon By exgreveting the kings tomb, they found the king and momis in 4 champers and in 4 cofiens
The top Cofien as of 24 carat and weight 110 kg. Other 3 are of wood and covered with gold each solid gold and coffin weigh 110 kg.
Excursion to the Pyramids of Guizeh. Camel ride to the great pyramid of Cheops: wich is 450 feet high. 10,000 people build this pyramid in 30 years. The Sphinx of the farao Ramses had 200 feet high and is 300 feet long. We went inside to the greatest pyramid, has very nerow steps and the halls to the chambar are only 3 feet high. Late in the evening, we went to the great pyramids and have heard and seen the Sound and Light of the Pyramids and Sphinx or the great story of the great Faraors of Egypt afterward we went to the Desert camp for dinner and was for us entertainment.

Dez 3.
Flight to Luxsor Luxor is a old city and in the city is not much to see. However Luxor has a great history, with her natural pyramids Tombs and temple of their great Ferors or the Kings of Egypt who built this places
The Tombs and Tempels With her splendor work of art is very magnificent for the whole world.

Dez 4.
Excursion to the Mountan Thebes, or the natural Pyramid of the Tombs. We have seen the Tomb and in the tomb the moumy of the King Tut Aukh Amon Tomb of Seti who reignet 3500 B.C. The fathers of the great Farou Ramses the 2nd, Tomb of Arnenophis II, Tomb of Ramses IX, The Luxerious Tempel of the quen Hatshepsout and the Tempel of Karnak or the grat temple of aumon Rah. With her splendid columns and art work. This Tempel has had three different cult or worshiper. The front of the Tempel were the egypian in the center the Islams and on the back the Christians. The emperor Constantin of Rom dedeated this part for the Chritions
The tombs are 300 feet underground. The artists worked in the tombs chamber with miror light. The Kings build their tombs during Their reign and when they died then the work also stopt for ever on his tomb and also on his temple. We also have seen the tombs and temple of the noble man and the architect Ramose 1000 B.C. who did not belive on the many gods of Egypt, but he belived in one God, The untouchable god of light and so als his daughter Nefeltay the wife of the King Ramses II. Back to Cairo

Dez 5.
Egypt the city of Cario has tow culture in dweling and also in constan. It had modern buildings in Western stile has many souveneer shops. The city people are mostly dressed in Europian stile, but the people in the country wore robs and they are dwelling in mud hut and have no roof on it. The people are laisy,
We leave Cairo at 3.30P.M. and arrived in Beirute Lebanon at 5.15 P.M.

Dez. 6
Excursion a 200 mil long from Beirut to Pigeon Crotlo, Dog River Byblos or Bibas Fortress, was build in 1100 by the Christan Crusade The temple of King Ahakrien of 2300 B.C. Salt bath at Meditheranie allmerek City ashtrom |1 Pcel. Dany Thomas Village The oldes cidar tree is 3000 B.C. or 5000 years old Tripoly City Kadisha Mountain and valley. The whole ride was up on the Libaniex Mountain it was the niciest senery what I ever have seen.
We stopped by our driver a friend for a coffe and the people there were very kind . at night we were in the thealnie have seen the Myana.

Dez. 7
Excursion early in the morning to Baalbeck and Damascus. Driving along the Lebanese summer resorts ally Balback the second largest city of Lebanon. The place where east and west have met merged a crossroads where different influences and belifs have come together in mutual underdanding.
Temple Jupiter where still six huge colums or pillar are standing a hight of 65 feet.
Tempel Bacchus is complete except the roof and the temple venus.
The tempels were build by the Romans 200 B.C. pillar are of 3 huge stones, and the bottom on weigh 250 tons. The huge 3 blocks, each measures between 19-20 m by 4.50 in diameters. The large court and the altar with wite steps where the Romans sacrafyst ther animals to their gods.
Damascus Siria The Omayad Mosque is very interesting wich was the Aramean Temple in 930 B.C. of god Hadad and was turned converted into a Temple of Jupiter in 2nd Century and in the 4th century was the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, in the time of Theadosius the Great and since 750 centuries D.C. was wholly converted into a mosque and still carrying the legent that St. John is buried in it.
This large building is 500 feet long and 140 feet weit. In the great building four different culture worshiped their gods. From 750 D.C. till the present time is a moslem Mosque. It is allowed just to go into the Mosque by bar foot. Pasha Azein Palace with the splendor decoration and orange parc. St. Paul converting place to clorisenity the house where St. Paul was let to escape. The Eastern gate of the city and the straight street wich was at the time of Christ 13 feet lower as the straight str. Is now. It is 1.5 mil long.

Dez. 8
De leaved early in the morning Beirut at 6.15 from the Hotel Riverio and 7.30 we floo to Jerusalem. When we were above Jerusalem the fog was so tick, that the plane counldn’t landing we flyet a few times around und the airport and finaly after two hour flyet we did land at the airport of Arman instead of Jerusalem.
Excursions to the Shepherds field, The garden of gethsemane, Church of Pater Nostra, Wehre Jesus was praying and where Judas did betraied Him
The hill Chapel where Jesus went into Haven. We still can see the foot print of Jesus, where He stood.
The Town of Bethlehem, The place where Jesus was born and did live till Joseph and Maria escaped with Him to Egypt. The emperor Constantin of Rom, build a church on Jesus birth place The church of Nativity was build at the church has Altar for the Gree Ordodox, Armianian and Catholics.

Dez. 9
Excursion to Jeriho
Temptamshem mountain where Jesus was Tempted by the Devil
Jordan River the place where Jesus was baptized
Death or salty sea
Coruran village of the 1-8 Century was destroyed by earthquake The hill where the scrol was founded of the old testament. The wall of Jerusalem was erected by Salomon
Garden of Gethsemane with the 3 churches
The Lasarus Church where Lazarus was arisen from the death by Jesus.
Old city of Jerusalem
The Golden Gate
Herods Gate
The church of Calvary or the Church of the Resurection The place where was condemned to crucifying by Pilatus. The Holy Sepulchere, Mount Calvary and the place where the Holy cross was founded. The road where Jesus carried the cross up to the scalp hill where he was crucifiet.

Dez. 10
The garden Tomp Interior and Golgatha Hill. An excavation of Rev. Gordon of England Be believes this place was or is the Sepulehre of Jesus and the hill on the North of garden is the seal hill where Jesus was crucified.
The ruin of the temple Salamon. The Toump of the Rock, Qubbat as Lakhara Arabic Architecture. The Mosque is 167.60-1675 in the center of the building is the sacred Rock. The Rock is 17.70 long and 13.50 wide and is 1.65 high
High over the Rock is the beautiful dome in Mosaic colanr and glory supported by an ornate cylindrical drum, wich in turn is supported by 12 marble pillars and four granite piers. The whol glorious building is decorated with stained glass windows in gold also outside the whole great mosque is glorious with the colorful mosaic walls and columns St Anno Church where Maria was born and the pond with wasse where Jesus hield the sick.
The old city of Jerusalem was 2000 years ago 80 feet lower as it is at the piesent time. The city of Jerusalem is build on 5 hills.
The garden tomps was excavated in 1873 by archaeological Mr. Rider Haggard and Rev. Germene Gordon and they belive that the crucifiction and the sepulcher of our Lord Jesus is on this place according to the Bibel the crucificetion was carried Nord out of the Dacuaseus gate on the skull hill and the family sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea was used for Jesus what likely is in the garden timap place.

Dez. 11
We leaved Jerusalem Jordan through the Maundebbaum gate to the other side of Jerusalem to Israel at 8.30 and went to the Mountain Zion to the King David Tomp Domintion Church was build by the Roman Emperor Constantin. The room of the Last Supper
Euplem of Israel parlament building
Bil Rose Garden art museum, Hadassah Medical Guran Region where the Serol was found.
Town of Judea where John the Babtise was born. A ride through the Shero region that is the richest fertile land of Israel with orange plantation and grain field a ride of 220 Km to Tiberias.

Dez 12.
Excursion from Tiberias to Capernaum where Jesus priched in the temple the old town was in 2and century excavated.
Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus did feed the multitude of 5000 people. Pop 30,000 Nazareth. The Grotto of Maria Ananciation and the Grotto where Maria and Joseph and Jesus lieved on the place is the anuncation church in construction. It will be the largest church in middle of east.
The memory of Jesus childhood.
Capernaum with Lake Galilee Nasaret up the hill left St. Joseph Church of the city of Tel Avio 450,000
See port Haifa Pop 230,000
Cuesarea water Equaduct was build 2000 years ago
Fortress or fortification was buildt by the crusaders at the 10 century
Jaffa the city daling back 3500 year.

Dez. 13
We didn’t have program for this day so we slept longer made 2 hour long walk in the town of Lad, close to the Hotel Avid. A Jewish Town of 15,000 popolation 50% are Jewish refugies. They lieve in poor housing. At 19.45 we leaved Tel Avio and At 22.00 arived in Instanbul.

Dez. 14
Excursion with a ferry boat atlong through the Bosphorus till Sariyer ride of 16 M and back with a car to Instanbul. Had a diner of Turkies special foods and afterwords have seen the famous St. Sophia Greek Baselica built by Constantin at 365 D.C. Build by architect Justinian The wall and the Tombs are in mosaic is 77 m. long 71 wite 56 high. The tomb is 31 wide has 107 column. The Fortress of Bonphorus the underground Palace water zister or water reservation build by the Romanus has 135 colums is 170 M long and 60 m. wite.
The blue Mosque, build by Mohamed the first in 1650, had 6 minaretts and 105 colums of marmas the whole Mosque insid is blue and gold in mosaic the Hippodrom with the obelisk of Theodosius The whole is brought from Egypt. The famous grant Oriental bassar.

Dez. 15
We leaved at 10.30 Instainbul and arrived in Athen airport at 11.50 excursion in Athen, The Royal Palace and changing guard, the house of parliament and the tomb of unkown soldier. Temple of Parthenon was bud. 5th century B.C.
4 pic taken
Temple Zeus
Odaion of Herod Atticus
Temple of Athen
The acropolis hill is a place fortified by nature. The excavation have proved it has been inhabited since theneolithic age (3500-3000 B.C.) During the Mycenean era (1600-100 B.C.) a strong cyclopcian wall of 4-4.5 m thick surrounded the hill of the acropolis where the king’s palace stood.
There was a second external wall, they called this second wall encapylos, wich the word explains which has nine gates or entrances.
The acropolis was adorned by splendid temples of their gods and godess Kekrops Athene. Olypya Zeus, Nicke Apollo ECTR. Jupiter. The Sacred Rock the Temple Nike acripo was destroyed during the invasion of the Persians in 480 B.C.

Dez. 16
Exursion ot Daphni Thebes, Lavadio is 3000 feet above see level Delphi the excavation of the temple Apollo, the Museum and the theatre. Temple Apollo was build 6th Century B.C. was destroyed by Earthquage and by the Bisanges

Dez. 17
From Delphi to Itea from there a ferry boat ride to Corinth Island Philip. The town of King Mydinian of 19th Century B.C. tomb of King Agamenon

Dezc. 18
Argalis to Epidaurus, Temple of Asklepeios, The museum and Theeatre of Tholos. Was build 8th Century B.C. it has 115 stairs. Wich connect the two gulf fron coret to cstis.
The Corinth Canal is 6 Km. long 250 M wide on the top at the bottom 75 feet and deph 225 fe. The water is 95 F dep.

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Nov 26-30

Nov 26 Sightseening to Napoli and to Capri. We leaved in the morning at 8.05 Rome with a fast train and arrived in Napoli at 10.25 as we did look for the information office, there came to us a man from a sightseeing crook camp. What I cal them. And he seth to us that he is from the information office and he will show us the way where to go. When we came out from the rail station there was a car for us waiting and he sath set into the care we take you to Capri and it will cost for both of us the trip to Capri and back to Napli 24,000 Lira or 29.50.
We will see in Pugliano a coral factory and there we have seen how they make there by hands nice and expensive jewels from corals and shells in gold and silver frames. From there they drove us to Pompei an old exgrevated Roman City and from there we went to Socrento Souento is a nice city, population of 15,000. On the clift of the Meditheranian are bild the Luxerous Hotels and Villas
I Sovrento they put us in a small cargo bout wich was loaded with woods, bricks, iron beams, roof tiles and many other junks. The ship carried also a cow and a pair of Goats and 9 pasanger on the deck according to the boat schedule, the boat leaved the harbor one hour later. We had one and a half hour ride in the Meditheranian to the Capri island
The boat was dirty and it did stink, just like a barn yard.
We arrived at 15.10 in Capri and the next pasanger ship from Capry to Napoli did lieve at 16:00 so there was not much time to see of the Island Capry
[We found out, that we payed for the trip the double money then wath it should have cost.]
The Capry island is build on a small bay. The island consist of two rocky mounten a surface of 10.3 KM and has a population of 8000.
The city and so also the while Island is very actractive with her clifts and sineries. At 16.00 We leaved Copry with the a pasanger Ship De Espan to Neapoli and arrived at 18.00 in Neapoli. There we made a walk of 45 minute from the harbor through city to the railroad station. We leave by train Napoli at 19.00 and arrived at 21.90 in Roma

Nov 27 Sightseeing in Roma
The story of Rome covers 27 centuries. The foundation of Rome has been set by Romulus at 753 B.C. and now has a population of 2,500,000
By the tour we have seen the Villa Borghase, The olimpic stadium, Duca of Aosla bridge. The sport studio with is sorounded with statues of Navons. The Pantheon The oldest Christian Church or Basalice in the world. Has been build by Marcus Agrippa at 27 B.C. as a pantheon and the Chriten of Roma made of that pantheon their first church. The basilica has 43 feet in circumference and is 43 feet high. The whole structure is round and has a bronz capula and has no pillar inside. The door is mad of bronz and is one foot thick. Basilica St. Maria De angeli, also one of the oldest church of Rome is a old Roman structure. Is build inside with red and wite marurs and the whole church is ful with oil painting and statues. The whole church look inside very fabolus, but outside it look like a Roman rouin. St Peter Basalica of Rome the largest Baselica in the world. The we received Gods blessing from the pope

Nov 28 Sight seeing the second day of Roma
We have seen St. Giovani Basilica the first Crition in the word was build 2000 year ago by the Roman Emperor Constantin of it was before a sinagage the catacomb. The place has been before a old slave cemeter and during the Christian persecution the Christen used this places for assempling and living places It covers wast area had 4 floor underground and the graves tunel 17 km long.
Basalica of St. Paul or St Palo This church was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantin on the spot where the Apostle Paul were preserved. Wes almost destroyed by fire in 1823 and has been rebuild in Baroc stile and is the most richest church in the world. The Church as 1000 white marmor pillars and 300 gold medals and has mosace frescos and mosaic floor. 320 by 300 [ ] feet and has also a monastery with a exsotic flower garden. Pyramid of cestius and the old Roman Colossemum

Nov 29 We leaved the air line bus terminal of Roma at 10.40, and arrived at the Roma Airport at 11:30.
Since the TWAirline was late of 1.30 minutes so we got a free lunch at the airport.
We leaved Roma at 13.40 and arrived at the Cario Airport at 16.45 a man of the Sita Travel agency was waiting for us at the airport and he took us to the Nile Hilton Hotel.

Nov 30 Sight seeing to the Nile Delta.
We have seen a few dams and bridges on the Nile and quite a few mud huts. The soil or the Land of the Delta is very rich; however, the people are very poor. They liave in the huts with no roof on it and the cows and bufalows are also poor and bony.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Nov 6-25

Sorry I got so far behind. I hope to be caught up by Christmas.

Nov 6. We were invited to Miss A Unger for super

Nov. 7 We were invited for diner to the Plasers and for supper to Mr. & Mrs. Kohl.

Nov 8-9 We went to Burgenland and visited on old friend of Heilig in Lurndorf and in Parma our old Neighbor of our former Home land Hungary the Furhermans

Nov 10. We went sightseening in Wiena to the Shopping Center, Empire Palace and have seen in the palace the Empires furniture, Freskos and paintings and velualbe decorations

Nov 11. We went to Swanenstad visiting on old friends of us the Kastles.

Nov 12 Linz is a nice old city, The Capitol of Upon Austria has a shopping center, Cathedral and a park atlong the Danube river.

Nov 13 St. Pilter
We went to visit a former school teacher from Hungary. Mr. Kurz. He lives outside of the city of St. Palter. It was 2 ½ mil long walk and it was a raining
We got real wet.

Nov 14 Back in Wiena
We were invited for a supper to Mr. & Mrs. Eisenbach, an old friend of my wife.

Nov 15-16 We stayed at home. I wrote daeri. I was behind with my writing for a few days and my wife did some sowing.

Nov 17
Sight seeing to the Empire Castle, The Spanish hors ride school. Hof burg and Schatz Kamer. Have seen the Koronation Jewels and the ornaments and many other things. St. Stephan Cathedral with high tower and some other churches. The Park of Schonbrin and also the parlament and many other historical buildings and Statues. Belvedere palace.

Nov 18 Mrs. Nehis invited us in the evening to a wine stoobe for wine dringing on the home way was raining, so we got wet inside and so also outside.

Nov 19. We made a visit to our former neighbor to Mrs. Hoffer, from Hungary. We didn’t see each other for 21 year. Since we were driven out by communist regime. Than afterword we went to a friend of my wife To Miss A Unger to say good by and there we met to ladies from Hungary. We had there a good conversation of the old time.

Nov. 20.
For noon, we went into a church of Lising and afternoon we were invited for diner to Mr. & Mrs. Walter Kohl and after diner, I show them the films wath I made in our European tour through 14 countries and we had there a good time.

Nov 21. We stayed at home by the Wormer and wrote my diary and som postcards for our friends.

Nov 22
We went to Schimbrien into the Zoo of Wiene and have seen all kinds of birds from all countinents and all kinds of animals. Then afterwards we went to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to say good by We werein Wiena for 23 days and during that time we had almost every day rain and fog. So we didn’t see much of Wiena.

Nov 23 We leaved Wiena at noon at 12.00 with a fast train train to Roma, Italia and when we came to the Wiena newstad about 80KM the sun came out and we had a nice sunshine trip till Scuering.
In Seumering, There was a foot snow on the ground and when we came to Arnoldstein, the Austraian and Italian border there was snowing and morning on Nov 24, when we arrived in Rome at 8.25 it did raining.

Nov 24 Rome
Afternoon we made some shopping

Nov 25 We were out shopping for the whole day. We bought some presents for our grandchildren daughter and son-in-law and for his parents and sister

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mate Szedlak's travel journal Oct 24-Nov 5

24-25 Gerlingen & Stuttgart

After our long tour we came back to Gerlingen for resting a few days and to say good by to our relatives

We mad some shopping in Stuttgart and on 27 we went to Allfeld to my sister-in-law to say good-by. And on 28-29 to Eberbach to my Nefews and we made ride to Manheim.

Oct 30
We went back to Gerlingeen packed our lagguage and on 31 of Oct we leaved Gerlingen and at the same day we arrived in Wiena West rail station. My brother-in-law and Sister-in-law did wait us There.

Nov 1 Wiena
We mad a visit to the Plasers a brother-in-law of myne.

Nov 2.
We visited a old friend of my wife Mr. & Mrs. Eisenbach and a other friend of us Miss O Unger. Late in the evening when we came home I checked my papers and I noticed that the voucher of the Hotel acomandation is missing or lost.

Next morning Nov. 3 I notified my travel agency of the lost voucher and I went at noon with the Orient Expres from Wiena to Stuttgart looking for the lost Hotel papers.

Nov 4
I didn’t find the lost paper. However I came just right back to Germany to picking up my heritage in Sinsheim. 120.30 D.M and 169.70 D.M in Helustad. Together 290.00 or $75.00 What my uncle leftover after his death. I also visited some friends in BadMingabheim. The wether was very bad. The whole day was rainy mixed with snow.

Nov 5. I came back to Wiena at 22.22

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A daughter returns home

Being a pastor’s daughter in North Dakota I always felt more like a tumble weed than a rooted plant. I was passing through and no matter what brush I might have gotten caught in, I had no roots. When the winds changed I’d eventually be on my way. At least that’s what I thought. For 14 years of my life I was a member at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, ten miles outside of St. Thomas, ND. The parsonage was across the road. I was confirmed at that church and married there, then I left with my husband and have lived in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Fort Wayne Indiana and now I’m back in Milwaukee. Since I left North Dakota in 1994 I’ve only been back to that bit of country once to visit my parents, and it wasn’t a Sunday. So the last service I attended at St. Paul’s was my own wedding. Dad retired in 1998 and moved to Eau Claire Wisconsin, so in my mind I had no reason ever to go back there.

When my sister Sarah proposed us taking a road trip to Winnipeg for my cousin’s wedding I was excited and in the planning it looked like going to church in North Dakota would be an easy fit for our plans. Figuring out the service time was easy since I knew the pastor from my time in Fort Wayne and had friended him on Facebook.
I had learned from Sarah the year before that the parsonage was sold and moved away. The pastor that serves my father’s former parish lives in Cavalier. When I saw the pictures I got teary eyed. The view from the church just didn’t look right. In some sense I wanted to see it for myself but I was unsure of what emotional effect it would have.

The video below shows starting what would be the end of the driveway to the parsonage.

Sarah and I arrived early and there were about two cars in the parking lot. St. Paul’s does not have the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, but we were happy to see we’d be doing Matins, modified slightly for Sunday worship. It was wonderful. That’s the only word that comes to mind. The people, the church, the music, were all familiar. It was like returning home and sleeping in your old bed.

On one hand it was odd to be there with the parsonage gone and Mom and Dad still in Winnipeg. Rebecca was there with her whole family and then there was Sarah and me.
The sermon was good. I told a few people before church how excited I was when I saw the call list and realized who their pastor would be. Rev. Chepulis is not one to dumb things down or tread lightly around the truth. He preaches Christ and Him crucified. It was a joy to hear the law preached in all its harshness followed by the gospel in all its delight.

My sisters and I were greeted with open arms. Somewhere in the middle of the Te Deum it hit me. I was in the pew and with me in the nave were people who had taught me Sunday school, taken me to youth gatherings, whose children I had taught Sunday School. Women I had helped in the kitchen before and after potlucks. People who sent me aid when my house burned down six years ago. People who have prayed for my father through all his bouts with cancer. There was not an unfamiliar or unfriendly face. I was a daughter of St. Paul’s returning home for a visit and it was so good to be there. The only thing that would have made it better would have been the real presence of Christ in the Sacrament.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mate Szedlak Travel Journal Oct 13-23

Oct 13.
Bern Capitol of Sehneiz
We have seen the Parlament or government building, Munster church, The museum of Art. It has old Armors, Jewels, paintings and many other handwork and also environment of the primitive peoples of Asia and Afrika. Shoping Center.

Oct 14-15 Genova Italia
We have seen the Colombus square with the statue of Colombus, Plassa De Verdi with the large Terase from there we saw over the City the old Roman fortress, the harbor with the big ocean shipps. The King palace, academy of art. Piassa & Ella Vittoria with the nice flower park and Vis Codorne the sculpture gate, The Basalica of Genova and many other Churches. The churches buildings are in Gothic structure. The churches are outside shaby, but inside they are very colorful with frescos and statues.
The people are kind and well dressed, even the teen agers are well dressed and have nice hair due. It seems to be, that the Beatles didn’t conquer Italy yet.

Oct 16 Monte Carlo, Monaco
We leaved Genovo and a rainy morning to Monaco with a fast train wich stoped almost by each chicken cube.
The whole train was over crowed with labors and with their lugguages. The whole train was filty, even the first clas was filty. We have seen the Castel of Monaco or the palace of Prince Renold. The famos Gambling Casino and the sinery of Monte Carlo.

Oct. 17. Barzelona
The train Monaco to Barzeelona was over filed mostly with labors and lagguages
We arrived at 1.30 after midnight on the border station of Port Bou, Spain all pasanger of the train did have to leave the train with all their lagguages to the custody building for custody inspection. The inspection took more than one hour. The same did happen to us before we leaved the border of Spain.
Barzelona with her big harbor is the trade center of Spain. Has a museum and a romantic park with statues and water fall, big churches and government buildings.
Olsidently in the Cathedral of Barzelona we was a big wedding of the dignatory of the City. All the man wore froks and the ladies were in silk and furs.

Oct 18-19 Madrid
The ride on the Train from Barzelona to Madrid is not much to see. We have seen only rocky mountains and bare hils with no tries or shrubs. This very pour country.
We arrived at 9.40 in Madrid. It rained the whol day, so we stayed the first day in the hotel because the Streets were all dirty or mudy. The second day we went out for sight seeing to the King palace and park, Casidra of Madrid and other churches and statues. Since my wife didn’t feel well and also through lack of knowledge of the Spanish language, we desided not to go to Gibraltar and to Lisabon as we had pland it.
We leaved Madrid at 22.30 and arrived in the morning at 9.30 in Bayonne.

Oct 20 Bayonne
Since my did not feel well we stayed in the Rail raod station restaurant, till got a Train to Lourdes. We arrived in Lourdes at 17.30.

Oct 21. Lourdes
Sight seeing to the church of Francis of Assisy. The Basalica of Lourdes, The Calvary fourteen station, The Holy Spring Shrine, and the Lourdes Hospital where hundreds of sick and crippled people were pushed with the wheel chair from the hospital to the Holy Spring for heeling then from there to the Basalicka for the Lords Blessings. From there we went to the old Fortress of Charteuaugehe. The Fortress was build by the Arabs at 730 and on 814 the Normands took the fortress over and they build around the fortress wall. In 1373 England took over the fortress and since 1404 belongs to the Kindom of Franze. King Louis XV of France made of the fortress a prison and it was a political prison til 1920 and since that time is a museum of human environment or development from the stone age till the present Time.

Oct 22-23 Paris
Sight seeing to the Conservatory Museum of Tehnology in Mashinery, Electricity and mining of Minerals.
Statue of Blasse Pascal the founder of the Barometer. The Notre Dome Church, Basclica, The parlament of France, Court of Justice, Eifel Tower, Lafaette Palace and Park & Shopping Center

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A few random moments with Dorian

There are few things more relaxing in my life than watching my cat do something--that is something other than sleeping or spitting up his lunch. I just thought I'd share these.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Oct 7-12 1966

Oct. 7
We were in Augsburg where I worked once by the American Army. And we have visit some old friends.

Oct. 8. Munchen.
Have seen the City hall and we went up to the top on the City hall tower and had a nice view over the city. The Frauen Church, Cathedral and other historical and government buildings. At the evening we went to the state theater and saw a performance of Countuse Marica

Oct 9. We were in Wien

Oct 10. Salzburg.
Have seen the Cathedral and the Ost drunk Castle and the statue, The Fortress of Salzburg and the catacombs and the cemetery and also the

Oct 11 Insbruck
Have seen the Museum of Tirol, The Cathedral, The City park and some historical buildings. The rid on the Train from Insbruck to Zurich through the Alpine mountains has very nice seeneries and is also colorful with the Snow covered mountain.

Oct 12
Zurich a population of 440,000 has a shopping center, great Munster church, Ladis Church, St. Peter Church, City hall, The house of Congres and college.
The reid from Zurich to Bern was raining and foggy. The City is sorounded with the snow covered mountains

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Oct 4,5 & 6 1966

Oct 4 Manheim.
Has a romantic park with statues, flowers and water fall and on the center water tower. Nier the Cathedral, The City has been destroyed in the last war and the whole city is rebuild now.
Oct 4. Bad Durkleins has the largest wine barrel in the world. The barrel is used now as a restaurant.
Speyer is famous with her Roman build large Cathedral where 13 Emperors of the Roman Empire are buried.

Oct. 5
We have visited some old friend from Hungary in Jacksfeld and Offeman.

We were by my Niece in Gerlengen

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Oct 3, 1966

Oct 3 Sightseeing in Heidelberg
The old Castle of Heidelberg was build between 1155-1300 by the Pfaly grafer or Count of Hohrnstaufer. Louis the XIV of France occupied on 1688 and on 1659 before the France army leaved the city, they destroyed the whole castle and never was rebuild again and since that time the castle is a ruin and is a famous place now for the tourist and with the beauty Necker river and vally has a nice sinery and the famous University.
Museum of Heidelberg.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Oct 2, 1966

Oct 2
After a two week tour through six countries we did rest a whole day in Eberbach

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 30 & Oct 1, 1966

Sep 30 Luxemburg
Sight seeing to the old fortress of Luxenburg and the velly of the city.
Prinze Charle Palace
Cathedral of Luxemburg
The velly with the many viaduct bridges and the old fortress walls and shopping center.
The City is preaty and has many nice seneries and the people are very kind.

Oct 1.
We have seen the old Roman City of Trier and from there we came back to Eberbach

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 28 & 29, 1966

Sept 28
Sightseeing in Copenhaven. City hall, the fortress of the City with it splendor flower garden and statues.
King palace of Christiansburg and the guard changing.
Museum of art.
Fredrick Church.
Round tower Church and the shopping center.

Sept 29 Bielefeld
We made a visit to Mr. Von Hacken in Bielefeld and from there we went to Koblauz and stayed there over night.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 27, 1966

Sept 27.
We arrived in Copenhaven at 9.25 and wen to the Hotel and slept till 16.00 ock.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Sept 26, 1966

Sep. 26. Oslo
Sight seeing.
King palace, the University, The Vigeland Sculputer in the Fragnor park. It covers and area of 75 acres.
The gigantic work of Gustav Vigeland, Comprising 256 single Statues of bronse. 150 statues of granite stones and a 30 feet high obiesk of a Granit stone is carved all over with from the bottom till the top with human figures. The whole statues simbalising the human being from the beginning till to end or death.
The great sculpture Vigeland worked on this project for 40 years.
Beyond the park is the museum at one time was the Vigeland’s studio. The oldest Ski museum in the world, with the Homenkollen Ski jump tower. The famos City hall of Oslo with the tower on wich is a 17 teen feet in diameter a gold clock. The walls of the hall, has lot of wood carvings and frescos, and the floor and the stairs are in mosaic of white, black, and gray marmors.
In the center of Oslo, is the old fortress.
Since we didn’t find a Hotel room in Oslo, we leaved the same night Oslo with the Train to Copenhaven.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Sept 24-25, 1966

Sept 24-25 Stockholm.
Sight seeing to the King palace, King libury guen Charlote Castel, Palace of Justice, City hall and Park, the harbor.
Afternoon we made five hour walk around the island of Stockholm The teenager are bad dressed and they are also immoral...
The prises are prity high.
We left on 25th at 10P.M. Stockholm and arrived in Oslo, Norway next morning a 9.30.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Sept 22& 23, 1966

Sept. 22 Ansterdam
Sight seeing.
The industrial center. The Harbor with the canals St. Nicolaus Church. Shopping Center and other historical buildings and statues.
The Streets are over croweded with people and bikes. When the people drive home from work with their bikes through the streets, it look like as a army goes through the City. I never saw so many bikes in my life.

Sept 23
We leaved Amsterdam at 7.35 with the Orient Express and went through Copenhaven and arrived next morning at 9.20 in Stockholm. We went to the Hotel and slept for a few hours. After noon Through the shopping center and made some Shopping.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 20-21, 1966

Sept. 20-21 Brussel
Sightseeing. City hall with the Tower, old King palace, Palace of justice. The houses of the Crote Markt are decorated with Statues and color glasses of mosaic. The King palace and the guards of the palace. City park with statues and government buildings. The central Railroad Station of Brussel is underground and stranger get easy lost there.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Sept 19, 1966

Sept. 19 Elsdorf
We visited a unknown friend and had a wonderful time there.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 18, 1966

Sept. 18 Eberbach
My cousin was very happy to see us again. We didn’t see each other for 15 years.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 17, 1966

Sept 17
Ollfeld by my Sister in law. and the widow of my cousin

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 15, 1966

Sept 15.
We were in Jackfeld and Offemen. Visited an old friend of our home town Rajka and Schwanauers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 14, 1966

Sept 14

We visited my God Father in Sinsheim and it was the same treatment eating and dinning.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 13, 1966

Sept. 13
We start to use our Euraulpass from Stuttgart to Pforzhein and visited a old school mate of myn. From there we went to Phillipsburg to my cousin, We didn’t see each other for 25 years. It was a hapy surprise and every where were we treated and feeded like a king.

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 11-12, 1966

Gerlingen b/Stuttgart.
Sept 11.-12
We made our Temporary home by my niece during our Europian Tour. We took a couple days rest and were feded very wel.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 10, 1966

Sept 10.
We leaved Berlin at 8.30 with the Pan am. To Stuttgart
We arrived at 9.30 on the Stuttgart Airport, where my niece with her husband did wait for us.
I didn’t see my niece for 15 years ago. Then she was a young Teenager and now she is married and has two lovely girls and fine husband and they own a nice home.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Sept 9, 1966

Sept, 9. Berlin.
Have seen Kaiser Wilhems Memorial Church, Tuptow Park, Soviet war Memorial, Karl Marx ollce Alexander Plotz Unter Dem Linden, Checkpoint Charley, Potsdamer platz Brandenburg gate, old Reichs Tag, Parlament Hausa—quarter Charlottenburg—castle, Radio Tower and the ugly wall of Berlin
Kurfursten daumum
We also went into the States Theater and have seen the performent of the Land of Laugh.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Sept 8, 1966

Sept 8
We leaved London at 10.15 with the B.E.Airplain and arrived at 12.30 in Berlin
Hotel Astoria.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal: Sept 7th 1966

Sept 7
The House of Parlement, Westminster Abbey The Coronation church for 900 years, with the coronational jewels. Churchil Castel guirns(??) Tower bridge, Buckingham palace Fortress of London, where the King Henry the VIII had headed off his seven wifes heads and We have seen also the guillotine chamber with equipment and alos old armors.
Afternoon we went to the palace Theater and have see the performent of the Sound of Music. It was enjoyable, however; during the performent somebody has stolen my valet with $29.00.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 6, 1966

Sept 6 London
Sight seeing of the City. Have seen the old City, St. Paul Cathedral, Statue of Queen Anna. Tower of London, Statue of prince Albert the Councelor.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 5, 1966

Sept. 5
We made some shopping and walked around the stores just for time killing.
We leaved New York from the Kennedy airport to London at 20.15 with PanAm and arrived on the morning at 9.00 London.
The first custom inspection in foreign contry England. This token more than one a half hour the custody inspection
Bernes Hotel London

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 4, 1966

Sept. 4.
Sight seeing of the City of New York. Have seen the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The building is Gothic style. The construction had begun on 1820, and will be completed maybe on the year of 2000. It will be the largest and the impressive Cathedral in the U.S.A. St. Patric Cathedral, it look like the famous cathedral of Cologne (Germany) Greenwich Village, The Harlem, The Negro and Porto Rican section and the China Town. Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hal, United Nation Building, Washington bridge, Brooklyn bridge the longest in the U.S.A. wich connect the Manhatten Island. It spans the bay.
Statue of Liberty. We walked up on the top into the statue. Afterward we could hardly stand on our legs.
We also went up with the lift on the Empire State building to the 102 coud floor. It is the tallest building in the World. It rained the whole day, so I couldn’t take pictures of the city.
We came back to our Hotel exhausted and tired.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 3, 1966

New York Sept 3.
Motor Hotel
Two hundred miles long sightseeing in the State of New York, at long the Hudson River. We went through the Washington Hil, the 10m. long Rockefeller estate,
Rockefeller Country Club, where the membership cost for the first year $50.000.00, The state gas chamber and electric chair. The pigeon Mountain with the highest and sloppiest railroad in the world. Bear Pigeon Bridge, Bear Mountain, St. John Seminary, West Point the great military academy and Cadeth Chapel.
Statues of G. Washington and of Colonel Thayer, the father of the military academy and the war heros of the West Point. The 140 acres Hyde Park of the Franklin D. Roosevelt home and birth place. The garden of roses and the groves where president Roosevelt and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt are buried. The whole place is a museum now. We had a good diner at the famous Bear Mountain Restaurant.
On the home way, we went on the other side of the Hudson River.
On the steep ridge of the Anthony’s Nose, a road carved through the rock directly above the Hudson River.
It has a glorious beauty, scenery. The whole ride was 11 hours.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mate Szedlak's Travel Journal Sept 2, 1966

Sept 2

We leaved Washington D.C. at 11.30 and arrived in New York at 12.35 after noon, we made a walk at long The Broadway.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mate Szedlak's travel journal Sept 1 1966

Washington Sep. 1
Manger Hamilton Hotel.
Sight seeing. The City was over kroudet with tourists. We have seen The Capitol Hill, White house, the court palace of Justice, Lincoln Museum, the former Theater where Lincoln was shot and the house where he died. Mount Vernon, Washington’s birth place. The historical Church of Christ in Alexandria, The pentagon bldg. and the Arlington cemetery and the grove of President Kennedy.
On our tour, we had a delicious diner at the Hogotas Resturant in Alexandria.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mate & Theresia Szedlak's trip around the world

This summer I enjoyed a family reunion with my Dad’s side of the family. I even got a story I wrote about it in the River Falls Journal.
I spent a lot of time in the last year prepping for this event by scanning old photos and slides. There was one photo I failed to find. It was a portrait Grandma Szedlak had taken of her and her three children during the war. Grandpa was off with the military and Grandma feared that they wouldn’t all make it through the war alive, so she had the picture taken. While at my folks for the reunion, I made a frantic search for the missing picture. We never did find it, but in the process I found my Grandfather’s travel log from the trip they took around the world in 1966. I was happily surprised to discover it was in English. My first scanning project had been photos taken during that trip—most of them of my Grandmother as Grandpa almost never let her use the camera. For my blog this year I’m going to transcribe his entries. My grandfather wrote with an accent. For me it’s part of the charm of his entries, so I don’t plan to do much, if any, editing. It was 45 years ago today that they left their home in River Falls to visit family in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The journal ends before they got home and not every day has an entry but I hope you will enjoy the ride.

Mate Szedlak’s Journal from his trip around the world
After 6 months of preparing and planning our trip around the world, we leaved in God’s name, our home on 31 of August 1966 and went to the Minneapolis airport and at 17.50 we flyet with the Pan Am Jet to Washington DC. We arrived in Washington at 22.00

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gifts from cats.

There is much in my life that is too dull to post and things going on in and around my life that I should not speak of in such a public venue, so I’ve been at a loss for good blog topics.

For a short time after Easter I thought I’d be spending my July moving to another state, but that opportunity sadly fell through. So we are here. In an effort to make the best of things I’ve been systematically cleaning each room of our small home in a manner similar to what one does in preparation for a move. It’s been good to de-clutter my space. I’ve also started to make some other changes that I may relate here in a few weeks, but I want those changes to become closer to habits before I speak of them on this blog.

This summer has been good in a few ways. First we have an air conditioner—small underpowered unit but coupled with a powerful small fan (on loan from Latif’s brother) we’ve been able to keep the house dry and usually under 80 degrees.

This summer we also have a cat. He used to hang out in the bedroom most of the evening, but he doesn’t like the noise, or perhaps the cold, and has taken to napping by the front door—a space he is blocked from in the winter in an effort to cut down on drafts.

In North Dakota I had a cat, Neko. He was a strictly outdoor animal and in the spring would forgo his dry food and hunt fresh meat. His diet was varied. He’d even eat leftover stew—all but the peas (a very smart animal in my estimation—I HATE PEAS.) Much of his summer was spent hanging out by the big front picture window waiting for a bird to mistake it for sky and slam into it. The stunned bird on the sidewalk easily became lunch, and Neko would proudly stroll the front walk with bird feet hanging out of his mouth. In the late fall, without fail he would find a small mouse or shrew and leave it as a gift at our back step. Neko was a farm cat and a fine hunter with all his tools and weapons.

Dorian is not a farm cat. He has no claws and aside from the odd insect that he encounters, does not catch is own food. He has (like the priest in my husband’s favorite movie) a rather “capricious stomach” and aside from buttered croissants has showed zero interest in anything we eat. He is rather inept at stalking and pouncing and aside from a few ventures to our deck and the front walk to get a good brush down to deal with shedding, he never goes outside. He is the opposite of Neko. But after his own fashion he likes to leave us offerings. Pictured is a toy of his. I call it the “jingle sock.” There are bells tucked in that sound when he plays with it. Every few days I wake up in the morning to find that Dorian has left it at the foot of our bed. He will not play with it again until I toss it back into the living room. Then he will in the night attack it and leave it for us as a gift.


lhg edited and approved

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Advice for those long dull summer days

Sometimes in the summer I would be at my grandparents’ house in Winnipeg and like all children I would run out of amusements and complain to the closest adult that I was bored. Grandpa Schafer would suggest thumb twiddling. He would demonstrate with the thumbs going clockwise and then add that if that became boring one could switch direction. He would then demonstrate them going counter-clockwise. Grandma would often ask, “Have you had a good cry? When I get frustrated and can’t think of what to do with myself, I sit down and have a good cry. Perhaps you should do that. Go sit over there and have a good cry.”


lhg edited and approved

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break

Spring Break for students and instructors means time off and often travel. For support staff I’ve come to realize that spring break is pretty much summed up in three things. Less noise, fewer places to get food on campus, and better parking. That’s it. I did however enjoy one extra perk. The library closed at 7:00pm instead of 2:00am and thus I was able to leave work Monday two hours earlier than the standard 9:00pm. My Monday schedule is in some ways cruel since Mr. Gaba’s latest work schedule involves working Tuesday to Sunday nights. That’s right. The only night he has off is the only night I work (barring my working the occasional Sunday 12:30 to 9:00pm shift.) So we took full advantage of my spring break and went out to eat Monday. Latif narrowed it down to three places: one in our Riverwest neighborhood, one Downtown, and one on the East Side. More than that he would not tell me. Mr. Gaba actively works to dissuade me of the notion that I should be able to plan and anticipate my future with any kind of a clear idea of what will happen. We were able to easily get a table at the place in Riverwest—the Centro Cafe. It’s a very small Italian place with amazing food, cooked just feet away from the tables in an open kitchen. I really hope we go again sometime.

As my spring break progressed I found myself spending several hours at the circulation desk. This was the result of the Access Services Librarian being out with health issues and no students volunteering to work during some parts of the break. I don’t blame the students. With the coffee shop closed the library has taken on the more hushed ambiance of those days when I was paid $3.75/hr to sit at the desk. It feels very familiar. Also familiar is the feeling that I had as a freshmen of not really knowing enough to be completely helpful. This is after all the first time I’ve been by myself at the circulation desk since last August. I’m OK with the basics, but if someone needed to pay a fine I would have had to call for backup. I also had to open the library myself on Thursday. It has been a few years since I opened a library and it wasn’t this library. I did manage to figure out where all the light switches were and how to log on to the circulation computers.

Saturday while students and faculty began considering having to head back to campus, I got to spend four hours at work. Only four. This is after all a break. The hours went by quickly as I had a test to proctor and then did two library instruction sessions for international MBA students who operate on a different academic schedule.

Spring break just isn’t what it used to be.


lhg edited and approved

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Liturgical Irony

I grew up a pastor’s kid in North Dakota. Our church didn’t bother with the “new” hymnal and stuck with TLH. The liturgy never changed. By the age of 10 I had stopped using the hymnal on Sundays for everything but the hymns. It was a great way to grow up. No matter what else was going on in my life that was a constant. Regrettably our little country church only had communion once a month and on high occasions like Christmas, Maundy Thursday, or Easter. Still, every time we had communion my father picked communion hymns, one before the consecration, one for the distribution and one after the benediction. A typical first Sunday of the month would have us singing “Draw Nigh and Take the Body of the Lord” before the sacrament. “Soul Adorn Thyself with Gladness” or “I Come O Savior to Thy Table” and we would end the service with “Oh Lord We Praise Thee.”

Our church restricted communion to those who had been confirmed, and that didn’t happen until after the eighth grade. Thus for most of my years at home, I sat in the pew and sang all of these hymns. “I Come O Savior to Thy Table” was an early favorite of mine. I remember singing the refrain: “May Thy body and Thy blood be for my soul the highest good” before I was in kindergarten. It was one of the few hymns that I could sing with the congregation before I could read. Later it was a big deal for me to get to sing that phrase all 15 times. This was not all that frequent of an occurrence. First there was the infrequency of communion and the fact that this hymn wasn’t sung every time. Add to that it was a distribution hymn so singing the entire hymn depended on enough people being in church to commune. Then the right organist had to be playing; one that didn’t feel the need to play an interlude every five verses to give our voices a break. You also lost the chance to sing them if you were communing, but this wasn’t too much of an issue for my family since we sat in the front (well, four or five pews back from the front, but no one sat in front of us) and was usually the first to commune and thus in the same table as the organist. The organ was just off the chancel. The most I would miss was the first stanza depending on how fast the organist got to the bench and how quickly she started playing. The last communion Sunday before I was confirmed everything came together and I got to sing all 15 versus.

Fast forward to now and I am glad to say that I have attended churches that offer communion every Sunday. But with this wonderful gain there has come some personally regrettable losses. First the liturgy keeps changing. This often happens with the church season and while I’ve become familiar with most of the orders in the hymnal, gone are the days where I can abandon the hymnal for everything but hymns. The second thing is now that communion is every Sunday I rarely sing communion hymns. Pastors use the distribution hymns to emphasis the theme of the Sunday and if several hymns are used he may toss in one communion hymn. The only service where I can count on singing them is Maundy Thursday. Couple this with a new hymnal and the regrettable practice of messing with the words and now when I do sing one of those old often repeated in my childhood hymns, I invariably end up frustrated by the changes. If I sang them more often I’d eventually get over this, or at least think about what the hymn is conveying instead of being angry at synodical busy bodies who felt the need to mess with something for some high minded reason like this word or that more accurately reflects the original form of the Latin or German or is a less archaic English word, completely disregarding the notion that some faithful Lutheran may have memorized this hymn in his childhood and isn’t going to appreciate the nuances. Alas, now that I get communion every Sunday I rarely sing about it and when I do, rather than it being a joy, for now, I just get annoyed.


lhg edited and approved

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Life as a Public Worker in Wisconsin

For 18 months of my life I was a public worker in Wisconsin. I was a Circulation Assistant 1 at Milwaukee Public Library’s Central Library. If I had kept that job my life would be much different. I’d be earning, even without my library degree, much more than I am now and I’d be fully vested in a very nice pension plan. If I had gotten my degree while working there, the city would have paid for it, and I wouldn’t still be shelling out monthly to pay for student loans. The Christmas I worked there was wonderful—we were able to afford to give Usinger sausage gift boxes to our parents and siblings. Something I’ve never been in a position to do since. Loved the union wage. Loved the benefits. Loved the library. Hated the union.

I hated that money out of each of my paychecks, only about, I think, $16, went to the union. Now when you are earning so much more than a non-union library job with all the perks and benefits, four hundred some odd dollars a year is a small price to pay. I understood that I benefited from their collective bargaining and I was OK with that money being taken, but I didn’t like that my money was going to support political causes to which I was fundamentally morally opposed. In particular, supporting organizations and candidates who believe that women have a right to murder their own children, provided it’s done in the womb. When asked by co-workers why I didn’t join the union I stated flatly, “I don’t fiscally support the candidates I do vote for, why would I support the ones I disagree with?” But I had no choice in the money being taken.

The only recourse I had as a non-union member was to apply to get back the portion of my union dues that went to political contributions. It was claimed that it amounted to only something like $24 a year, but it’s the principle of things, so I went through the hassle of hunting down the form and having each person I needed to speak to along the way look at me like some sort of diseased moron for wanting to do such a thing. The form was cumbersome and tedious and on the form in no less than seven places was written that the union was not responsible for the form getting lost in the mail. The form then had to be mailed. No person or address was given. I could not deliver it in person. I could not send it registered mail. It had to go to a designated PO Box. If this box did not exist, or if a postal worker just kept “losing” things addressed to it, I never discovered. I moved to Fort Wayne and was not sticking around to fight. I never got my money back.

Just after I started at the library, the union contract expired and the negotiations were not going smoothly. In the end the whole thing went to arbitration. It took almost the entire time I worked there, before it was settled. Every worker got an extra $100 just for the union finally agreeing to the contract and then got a very nice check of back wages to settle the wage increase from the year before that we would have gotten all along if negotiations hadn’t taken so long. It was crazy.

Now I believe in public libraries. I think they contribute greatly to an educated free society and do more than any other institution to bridge the digital divide. I’m proud of my city for having one of the oldest public library systems in the country. I think library workers should make a livable wage and that they do our city and the public a great service. But even with a large cut in pay I was very glad to get back to private academia, because it irked me that money I worked for helped pay for the union president to attend Bill Clinton’s inaugural ball in Washington DC. It irked me that the union president was a co-worker who would decide on a whim to enforce or not bother with library rules and policy and was never reprimanded or corrected for such behavior. It also irked me that nobody in that place was willing to lift a finger outside of their assigned time and duties to make the library a better place to work.

I personally spent months of lunch hours relabeling one of the underground tiers of journals so I could find things faster. Everyone who went to that floor benefited from my work, but when I mentioned that I was doing this during my lunches I was generally scorned. The idea that workers would use their own initiative or worse yet, time, to improve their workplace was a foreign concept to my union minded co-workers. So was the idea of doing tasks as a team and completing them efficiently. One time I was assigned to spend two hours on a shifting project that involved moving two columns (14 shelves) of government documents from one range of shelves to a range that was about ten feet away. My supervisor looked at me like I was crazy when I requested working with a co-worker and using a cart, but finally agreed. We got them all shifted within an hour. My supervisor was amazed because she figured that task would take at least another week to complete. Of course if I had been taking them by handfuls instead of loading them on a cart with each person using one hand to hand the thing off, and one hand to keep the documents from flopping over while filling a cart shelf—yes it would have taken another week to finish the job.

Just before I started, the Milwaukee County Federated Library System started to use a new library automation system. It was the same system I had used at two other libraries: Libraries where I did the same sort of work for less than half the hourly rate and with lesser or no benefits. To many of my co-workers learning a new system was a hardship. Their response was not to use their collective bargaining to get us better or more training. Or even a seminar on dealing with stress in the workplace, but rather to argue for higher wages since their jobs were so much more stressful what with having to learn the new computer system. I’m glad to say the city rejected the appeal, but it made me wonder about how much of those mandated collective bargaining dues went towards this frivolous and downright silly play for more money, not to mention how much of my tax dollars the city had to spend responding to it.

All this is to say that my eighteen months over a decade ago as a city worker represented by a public employees union has colored the way I view the current budget battle in Wisconsin. I support Governor Scott Walker.


lhg edited and approved