Tag Archives: familyhistory

Mass transit with Grandma on a Saturday, 54 years ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Actually, it was on the East Coast, which sometimes feels like another galaxy even after almost 3 years here in California. Especially given the better mass transit systems back East. We took the bus, since the Metro didn’t yet exist, but the subway in DC has always been too expensive for most normal people. I’ve always been shocked at the level of segregation in the metro, as the prices got higher relative to bus fares, and you began to see a big difference in ridership between train and bus lines, between 2004 and 2017. Grandma Marie always took me on the bus everywhere, even to her church, Mt. Zion UMC, all the way over in Georgetown (which by the mid-1970’s was already gentrifying) from Regency House aka The Old Folks Home, on Connecticut Ave & Nebraska Ave, NW.

It’s also the end of Sukkot 5781, which again feels like another planet, growing up going to church, but now looking in from the periphery of a chosen religion, although honored to be asked to chant in public, still not always feeling at home, and feeling a bit guilty for missing the vibrancy of church music, once in a while. But I feel no guilt for missing my adoptive great grandmother, my idea of a Saint in the nation’s capital:

a Grandmother not of my blood, but certainly of my heart and soul…

Here is a snipett of thought that has since been corrected, as apparently My 2xs gr grandfather on that side was not quite the “crazy drunk Cherokee” that I recall hearing about:

-2008-06-20 14:05:00
Happy Past Experiences
Alot of my past is best left forgotten, but I am grateful to have had a Great Grandmother who adopted us (my mom’s mother died when grandma Laverne was 8) and looked after me when I was very small. 
That was Grandma Marie. She always saved me The Mini Pages from the Washington Post and seeing her was always a peaceful and interesting time. She told me the story of my great great grandfather the crazy Cherokee Hayes Wheeler Mayo who went missing for three days when the Maine blew up. The Navy apparently thought he was dead until he turned up drunk with some interesting and apparently inplausible excuse that Grandma Marie seemed to think was characteristically colorful and odd. She also mentioned my taking somewhat after him, being a ‘rambunctious child’ and never staying still. She always had a smile when she told me about him, and frequently looked at me with that same slightly mischievious and ever so slightly almost shocked look. It’s hard to explain, but I always felt that she stood somewhat in awe of him, whilst looking just a tiny bit askance at the same time, and wondered just how closely I took after him. Whatever the case, I nearly felt like he was a hero as she told funny stories about him which I’ve forgotten details to, but remember the love with which she told all of his descendents about him. Grandma Marie, to my knowledge, never had children of her own, but my grandmother, mom, and I were like her own descendents, and I am proud of that. She taught me how to sew on an old black Singer treadle sewing machine, stitching the words I Love You onto the cloth, explaining how she had been a seamstress and her husband, Adolphus Johonson, a very kind man, had been a tailor. She once told me to make sure to carry at least $50 at all times because one day years ago Grandpa Johnson had been arrested for Jay Walking and he didn’t have the money to make bail. She laughed as she told me how she had to go down to the jail and get grandpa out, lecturing him on the way home, as she was known to do. She was such a strong personality, and so loving and bright. 
And a wonderful Great Grandma. 
 Marie Nash Johnson. 
Bright Blessings,
shir. 
 Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
 ShiraDest 
22 February, 12016 HE

Interesting how, just a year or two ago, I recall feeling guilty for being angry with the US Navy for burying this particular gr. gr. grandfather with honors, while my other gr. gr. grandfather was accused of suicide and his family chased off of their land in OK.  Guilty for having to believe that this man who was honored by the military did not deserve what the other grandfather did deserve, but never received.  And yet neither family prospered: the two families met and members married and died during the Gr. Depression of TB.

Yes, we can do better than this.

  More on my continuing striving with family of choice next time, friends:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different reasons to study your thoughts.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, if you feel safe enough.

3.) Share your thoughts a book from your GoodReads reading list on self-reflection,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet that explores, tells a good story, or otherwise makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

September, 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Turkish Tuesdays, Istanbul, late 2004, and Izmir, early 2005, Chanon’s bus Lymeric post

This post is pretty much a reminder that the only way to learn anything is by doing it badly, at first, and then: persisting!  🙂

Some thoughts from back when I lived in Turkey, originally posted at the start of 2020’s global pandemic, but putting in a bit of order as I try to make sense of my longing to get back to languages before I forget them all (glad to see that I’ve improved quite a bit since then!), and to make time to learn all of the lessons from those places where I lived, searching for something that I am not sure how to find.

“cultural note: Kurds, Turks, and Jewish (Sephardic) families all kiss the hand and touch the forehead of the eldest person/host as a greeting. I was quite surprised to see this as a universal custom (ok, at least one Kurdish family and extended friend group, only one Jewish family that I got to spend alot of time with around their extended family, and I’ve only seen Turkish family greetings on TV here in the commercials and shows. The Turkish family I lived with did not do this, but they are quite wealthy, and Americanized).

My Kurdish friends love to sing! They do not however consider me Jewish, because my father and mother are not Jewish. That seems to be the same sentiment I got from the Turkish and Jewish people I spoke with here in Istanbul as well.

Most people use propane gas for cooking. Natural gas is only in rich areas, so far.

Here, the doorway is not the place to hide during an earthquake. Under a table is what my roommate tells me…
2004-11-09 17:34:00″
from:..

“karamsar, dark or negative thinking, really?

A person in Izmir accused me of being thus, for refusing to bring a new life into this world. I beg to differ…
May all people who wander be granted peace of mind, and complete, total Shalom. “

And lastly but most certainly not least of all, remembering old friends who visited (twice!!):

The conversation before the lymeric (ok, or maybe after the Lymeric…) !!   I am very grateful that this friend visited me, as I’d never have taken the time to see anything around me, working as I did constantly, while I lived in Izmir.   May his memory be for a blessing:

“At Ersan Pansyon, just off of Kibris Shehitler caddesi, near my apartment, there is a nice young man who works there, who yesterday offered us breakfast and the opportunity to talk. My guest Chanan does not speak Turkish, so I served as both translator and breakfast guest with him. This has been wonderful. I have forgotten the young man’s name, but he asked many questions about the US, which I translated for Channon from a Boston/NY perspective, and occasionally threw in my own perspective on growing up in the South. One thing that particularly struck me, which I have hear from religious Turks before, is that they are anxious for Americans and Europeans to know that Turkey is different from the other muslim countries, and *is not Arab* -and also is not a bed for fanatical Islam. The current president, as our friend told us, comes from a religious background, as does the family that runs this pansyon, and none of them are fanatics. All do however believe strongly in hospitality and friendship. He told us that all of the people in the world are relatives, all descending from Adam and Eve. This was a wonderful conversation.
2005-03-24 12:52:00”

“2005-03-23 15:10:00
Group Limerick -on the bus!!
Here is a limerick Channon and I composed with the help of several fellow passengers (!)on the bus as we travelled to meet some SERVAS friends (the SERVAS http://www.servas.org coordinator here in İzmir, as it turned out) here in İzmir:

Izmir’de çok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa döndük?!”
Mutfak çok pislik
Zor temizledik
Efes’i gördük, mutluyduk

the link to all of his travel limericks is also available from this link, i think… https://lists.ccs.neu.edu/pipermail/craignet/2005/000122.html

=========
Here is my original in a more readable form…
—-
Izmir’de cok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa donduk?!”
Mutfak cok pislik
Zor temizledik
Efes’i gorduk, mutluyduk
—-

…sorry, thought I’d posted the translation with it:
In Izmir we were lost all the time
“Which way did we turn?!”
The kitchen was really dirty
We had a hard time cleaning it
We say Ephesus, we were happy

2005-03-25 14:15:00
Los EE y el emperio Romano; ABD ve Roma emperyum; US and the Roman Empire…
Estoy trabajando para amigos en leer sus documentos en ingles, escuchando a Nuevo Flamenco muy bonito (me sorpresa que Slash puede tocar la gitarra tan bueno asi!), y preocupando por me permiso de trabajar, y yo estaba pensando en los EE y Roma, que similar; En los ultimos años, la culta del emperor y los valores familiares fue mucho hablado (me temo que he olvidè a esta idioma, y nunca fue tan bueno, asi que me perdoneran, ustedes queridos leeredores…). Una buen amiga me decia que los EE y Roma tienen muchas cosas en comun…

*cringe* now for the Turkish attempt -I’m still trying to translate the last line :
*ahora en Turquesa, aunque estoy tratando de traducir a la ultima linea de la respuesta de Silmaril…

Çalışıyorum ve düşünüyorüm -çalışma vizem nerede? Düşündüm ki ABD ve Roma Emperyum çok beğenziyor.
***
As I shuttle back and forth between trying not to worry about where the bleepety bleep bleep bleep my bleeping work visa is (lost in Ankara …), work on reviewing the English documentation for some friends, and reading this paper on Global Civil Society …

Memories.  Neither misty nor water-colored.

Working on learning.  öğrenmeye çalışıyorum.

Learning the language of Family History, and Choosing your Hill…

Tracing one’s family, particularly a family full of mostly Enslaved Persons, and some Free People of Color (free before the Civil War and subject to the Black Codes in most states), means learning the language of genealogy, and then learning your own family language, with names that run in families, especially middle names, and have certain meanings known only to the inner circle at that time. In order to survive, each of those People of Color had to decide and choose which hill they wanted to die upon: the hill of passing for White, in some cases, despite loosing family to do so, the hill of fighting to educate Colored people, despite the many hurtles, as my 2xs great grandfather and his daughter, in her turn, did, or the hill, today, of bearing the torch to help educate all people, as many of us are choosing in this difficult time.

What hill do you choose to die on? Building or choosing ‘Found Family’ for me is about connecting deeply and personally with other folks who share my values, as my great Aunt Sr. Mary Felix Manzilla did, when she joined the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first Catholic sisterhood open to Colored women, in 1914. I seek to help build community that honors safety and Enough for All, and is willing to die upon the hill of Empathy and Compassion, fighting for Everyone to have Enough of Everything

(… taking a quick “station break” for some Standing Action Items on that:
1.) Tell your local Transit Board to build more LightRail stops,
2.) Tell your local city council to hire more librarians, add social workers and nurses to the library staff, and add washing stations to Public Library bathrooms,
3.) Ask your Community College Provost to give free classes on State Law Basics covering local land, property, contract and Statutes of Limitations laws (with shuttle bus service from poor neighborhoods!),
4.) Ask your State Senators and Reps to pass Universal Health Care in your state, and tell your Congressmen to do likewise at the Federal level.
…)

that Every Human Being needs to live with human dignity. But I seek that community as one looking to build personal family connections, to walk, to teach, and eat together, to look after one another and if necessary, to die for and with one another. In other words, Family, like my great aunt found, with the OSP.

Dear Readers, please consider the people and institutions linked above, and

Action Items:

1.)    Share your Hill, if you wish.

2.)     Simply Google your town’s Mass Transit Authority, to see if you have a Light Rail.  Then, if you have one, ask them to expand it!  🙂  If not, ask them how a simple and cheap tolley or light rail line could be put in.

You are now returned to your regularly scheduled #PublicDomainInfrastructure through #LanguageLearning channel (& I return to my #WiP!): please stand by…

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

August, 12020 HE

Stop modern lynchings by learning languages, and getting ProBono Legal education for land owners

Some languages help us communicate, while other languages help us make things run smoothly. Computer languages and legal language are examples of the latter. To understand computer languages, one studies computer science, and to understand legal language, one studies the law and policies active in the state of residence. But not all of us have the opportunity to study the crucial legal language that governs much of our existence, and the consequences of that unequal knowledge can be devastating.

Lynching once occurred physically, but now happens financially, through the court system all across the South, and make no mistake, it is just as murderous, and just as racist:

“…42% of the cases involved black families, despite the fact that only 6% of Carteret’s population is black. Heirs not only regularly lose their land; they are also required to pay the legal fees of those who bring the partition cases. In 2008, Janice Dyer, a research associate at Auburn University, published a study of these actions in Macon County, Alabama. She told me that the lack of secure ownership locks black families out of the wealth in their property. ”

That is, land that is owned by their families.

Historically separate and highly unequal educational systems have also contributed to this system:

“A former state politician named Thomas Limehouse, who owned a luxury hotel nearby, bought Reed’s property at a tax sale for $2,000, about an eighth of its value. Reed had a year to redeem her property, but, when she tried to pay her debt, officials told her that she couldn’t get the land back, because she wasn’t officially listed as her grandmother’s heir; she’d have to go through probate court. Here she faced another obstacle: heirs in South Carolina have 10 years to probate an estate after the death of the owner, and” you can only do that if you know how to probate an estate, which you can only do if you know what it means to probate an estate.

Like my 2xs Great Grandfather Wayne Anthony Manzilla, many Black men were killed “between 1890 and 1920 because whites wanted their land.”

The problem with land law is that it is often “co-opted by big business. One lawyer said that people saw it as a scheme ‘whereby rich men could seize the lands of the poor.’ Even lawyer Nelson Taylor acknowledged that it was abused… his own grandfather had lost a 50-acre plot to (the) Torrens (law). ‘First time he knew anything about it was when somebody told him that he didn’t own it anymore,’ Taylor said. ‘That was happening more often than it ever should have.’ ”

And it should never happen.

“The leading cause of Black involuntary land loss,’ heirs’ property is estimated to make up more than a third of Southern black-owned land — 3.5 million acres, worth more than $28 billion. These landowners are vulnerable to laws and loopholes that allow speculators and developers to acquire their property. Black families watch as their land is auctioned on courthouse steps or forced into a sale against their will.”

So, what can we do about this? Well, several things. To help stop this injustice, at least 4 Action Items spring to mind:
1.)    Please consider giving your time, your cash, or your attention by sharing via your social and personal or business networks to The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, in South Carolina, and:
2.)   Please consider reading and sharing publications by ProPublica, a non-profit that spreads the word on these matters together with potential solutions, and

then:
3.)   Please read, review, and share Dr. Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, because “42% of the cases involved black families, despite the fact that only 6% of Carteret’s population is black.” so, it really is about race.

4.)   OR:  Simply search for the term “Statute of Limitations” on Google, or your favorite search engine, to see how states like SC prevent heirs like Ms. Reed from probating their property.  If you have the energy, please share your findings with someone, over FaceBook, Twitter, or the phone.

Please share your ideas for increasing Legal and Financial Literacy and opportunity for ALL of us!

This post is dedicated to my Great Great grandparents Wayne Anthony, murdered for succeeding, and his wife Maude Eleanor West Manzilla, who never gave up her legal suit to clear his name of the suicide charge by the life insurance company, and worked valiantly to keep her family together. Their descendants continue their work.

Quotes for this post came from a recent ProPublica article co-published with The New Yorker.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

August, 12020 HE

– One use of genealogy: restorative justice

FYI for anyone possibly descended from slaves sold by Georgetown University, if this is true: check your genealogy and apply for that (alleged) scholarship!! Details: https://www.wikitree.com/…/are-any-descendants-slaves-sold-… Please see the full article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/restorative-justice-based-genealogy-creative-ways-help-landrac
-ShiraDest.
13 Feb. 12017 HE

– linking to posts from Istanbul, late 2004, and Izmir, early 2005, Chanon’s bus Lymeric post & link

posted in 2020 during global pandemic:

“cultural note:

Kurds, Turks, and Jewish (Sephardic) familys all kiss the hand and touch the forehead of the eldest person/host as a greeting. I was quite surprised to see this as a universal custom (ok, at least one Kurdish family and extended friend group, only one Jewish family that I got to spend alot of time with around their extended family, and I’ve only seen Turkish family greetings on TV here in the commercials and shows. The Turkish family I lived with did not do this, but they are quite wealthy, and Americanized).

My Kurdish friends love to sing! They do not however consider me Jewish, because my father and mother are not Jewish. That seems to be the same sentiment I got from the Turkish and Jewish people I spoke with here in Istanbul as well.

Most people use propane gas for cooking. Natural gas is only in rich areas, so far.

Here, the doorway is not the place to hide during an earthquake. Under a table is what my roommate tells me…
2004-11-09 17:34:00”
from:
https://shiradestin.wordpress.com/2005/03/23/transition-time-in-first-foreign-country/

…and just the other year, in 2016, cousin Monica expressed the similar belief that I’d been destroyed, writing me off as hopelessly depressed, yet treating me like a pariah and leaving me alone constantly, denying that there were any family get-togethers, dinners or bbqs for the holidays. Just as Dad was abandoned, except that I have never drank nor used drugs. With family like that, who needs enemies?

“karamsar, dark or negative thinking, really?

A person in Izmir accused me of being thus, for refusing to bring a new life into this world. I beg to differ…
…nor am I a raving suicidal lunatic who is emotionally ruined, I am an adventurer exploring places that most people would not try to explore, both physically and emotionally in a time in my life that seems late to most, but is a stage that I missed earlier on and need to push myself through. But it is so hard, most of the time, to keep all of this in mind. May HaShem grant me an all people who wander peace of mind and complete total Shalom. ”

From:
https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/shiradestin.wordpress.com/2903

and lastly but most poignent of all:
The conversation before the lymeric (ok, or maybe after the Lymeric…) !!

“At Ersan Pansyon, just off of Kibris Sehitler caddesi, near my apartment, there is a nice young man who works there, who yesterday offered us breakfast and the opportunity to talk. My guest Chanan does not speak Turkish, so I served as both translator and breakfast guest with him. This has been wonderful. I have forgotten the young man’s name, but he asked many questions about the US, which I translated for Chanon from a Boston/NY perspective, and occasionally threw in my own prespective on growing up in the south. One thing that particularly struck me, which I have hear from religious Turks before, is that they are anxious for Americans and Europeans to know that Turkey is different from the other muslim countries, and *is not Arab* -and also is not a bed for fanatical Islam. The current president, as our friend told us, comes from a religious background, as does the family that runs this pansyon, and none of them are fanatics. All do however believe strongly in hospitality and friendship. He told us that all of the people in the world are relatives, all descending from Adam and Eve. This was a wonderful conversation.
2005-03-24 12:52:00”

“2005-03-23 15:10:00
Group Limerick -on the bus!!
Here is a limerick İ composed with the help of several fellow passengers (!)on the bus as we travelled to meet some SERVAS friends (the SERVAS http://www.servas.org coordinator here in İzmir, as it turned out) here in İzmir:

Izmir’de çok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa döndük?!”
Mutfak çok pislik
Zor temizledik
Efes’i gördük, mutluyduk

the link to all of his travel limericks is also available from this link, i think… https://lists.ccs.neu.edu/pipermail/craignet/2005/000122.html

=========
Here is my original in a more readable form…
—-
Izmir’de cok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa donduk?!”
Mutfak cok pislik
Zor temizledik
Efes’i gorduk, mutluyduk
—-

…sorry, thought I’d posted the translation with it:
In Izmir we were lost all the time
“Which way did we turn?!”
The kitchen was really dirty
We had a hard time cleaning it
We say Ephesus, we were happy

0
bouncy

142
2005-03-25 14:15:00
Los EE y el emperio Romano; ABD ve Roma emperyum; US and the Roman Empire…
Estoy trabajando para amigos en leer sus documentos en ingles, escuchando a Nuevo Flamenco muy bonito (me sorpresa que Slash puede tocar la gitarra tan bueno asi!), y preocupando por me permiso de trabajar, y yo estaba pensando en los EE y Roma, que similar; En los ultimos años, la culta del emperor y los valores familiares fue mucho hablado (me temo que he olvidè a esta idioma, y nunca fue tan bueno, asi que me perdoneran, ustedes queridos leeredores…). Una buen amiga me decia que los EE y Roma tienen muchas cosas en comun…

*cringe* now for the Turkish attempt -I’m still trying to translate the last line of silmaril’s
http://www.livejournal.com/users// comment…
*ahora en Turquesa, aunque estoy tratando de traducir a la ultima linea de la respuesta de Silmaril…

Çalışıyorum ve düşünüyorüm -çalışma vizem nerede? Düşündüm ki ABD ve Roma Emperyum çok beğenziyor.
***
As I shuttle back and forth between trying not to worry about where the bleepety bleep bleep bleep my bleeping work visa is (lost in Ankara bueracracy…), work on reviewing the English documentation for some friends, and reading this paper on Global Civil Society (I confess that i would like to see more documentation for some of their points…) http://www.pcdf.org/civilsociety/path.htm I am reminded of a comment by a close friend about two years ago that mirrored my own thoughts -the US really is looking more and more like the Roman Empire did, in it’s final centuries (say, around the time of Domitian as he tried to prop up the prestige of the empirial cult, get back to family values, etc)…
0
annoyed
castellano, ngo, economic justice”

From (zlB) Craig/Chanon’s visits while I lived in Izmir: https://shiradestin.wordpress.com/2005/07/17/less-stress-does-lead-to-better-understanding-and-less-wrath-poured-out/