I had dreams for a better life, but when you live in abject poverty and know nothing else, it is difficult to realize the possibilities that exist.

The generations of German families here once had hope, but it had long since died and people simply focused on survival. Laughter made surviving more bearable. This was especially true for my grandparents who had spent their entire lives in this sad and lonely village. My sisters and I didn’t fully understand how terrible things were, for we were still young. My parents were somewhere in between, in the process of moving from hopeful to bitter. If we weren’t careful, my sisters and I would fall into the same trap. Despite the fact that I tried to be hopeful, I was also a realist and I never lost sight of who I really was, a poor German peasant growing up in a dreary village called Grimm located in a cruel area known as the Russian Steppes.

Carl Fritzler 1880-1963

The man I remember as my great grandfather was a fit, bespectacled man with thinning white hair and a kind smile. Wearing a starched white shirt, black pants, and a dark tie, he sat on the grass in a lawn chair one hot, muggy, Wisconsin afternoon, proudly watching his children and grandchildren enjoy spending time together. Even over-dressed for a…

The day a hairstylist fired me

Flash back to when I was seven years old. We were getting ready to go on an extended vacation to visit my mother’s relatives and the day before we left on our journey, my mother decided to take my sister and me to the salon for matching haircuts. Something cool and chic that would be easy to maintain during our…

Willie the cat

Whenever things get tough and I start to feel sorry for myself, I like to think of our cat Willie. He has suffered greatly since the day he was born and has many handicaps, yet he’s the happiest, most contently creature I know. Willie was bitten by his mama shortly after his birth, a tragic mistake that should have taken…

Bookish things

When I’m not writing or researching my family history, I’m often on Pinterest looking for things that inspire me. Old books do that quite well, and I often find myself daydreaming about their contents, especially if they are journals or diaries. Here are some of my favorite pictures.


Fairy Land Book and string tops of old books Stepping Heaven Stack of old books Shakespeare and more Old journal TheMoonstone My escape Maybe a diary Horizontal books Leather bound books End table books Old deteriorating books Books with paper covers Books tied with string Books tied with ribbon Classic books Books and Silver Books and roses Books and coffee cup Books and a tea cup Books near a Window Bibles
































































These photos were found on the following blogs or websites and their respective owners retain all rights to them. To see more cool photos, visit them directly. You can also find these images and more on my Pinterest boards by clicking here.