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Posts Tagged ‘Basque’

Until I heard a woman being interviewed a week ago, in reference to the North Dakota flooding, stating that she was lightly optimistic, and that to a Norwegian is like being ecstatic, I had no idea what my Norwegian heritage meant.  You see, I’m a mutt and until just about two years ago, none of those nationalities were Norwegian. 

 

Mom’s heritage is British and Basque, with a rumor of Native American thrown in there.  My dad, a VanVleck, had always thought he was British on his mother’s side and Dutch on his dad’s side. 

 

My nephew is really into genealogy JayJay’s World and has traced dad’s family back as far as:  Generation 7:  Van Vleck, John Henry Sr. 

 

John Henry, Sr., or his family, came to the USA in the early 1800’s.  It is unclear whether he was actually born here or in Holland.  So, dad was partly right, but apparently what my nephew is finding, is that the VanVlecks might have changed their name from VanVlackern when they originally came from Norway. 

  

I sometimes envy a person with one national heritage.  They know their holidays and their place in the world.  However, us Mutts do have the benefit of getting to choose one or all of the nationalities running in our veins. 

 

Let’s face it, most of us are from somewhere else,  But, as for me, the Norwegian information does explain some things about my dad.  His lightly pessimistic was like the pits of despondency.

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Where would you go, if you won a trip to anywhere in the world.

 

My list is almost too long to mention. Alaska to see the Northern Lights, anywhere to watch the whales, Holland/Norway, the Basque Country, to see what really made my ancestors who they were, and Japan to find a long lost friend, Junko Kanazawa.  India to photograph the women in their vibrant sari’s and learn more about Buddhism.  Africa for the music, culture and animals and for fun: New Zealand.  Send me a ticket, and with two seconds to pack my sketch pad and camera, I’m there.

 

I grew up in Indiana, thirty miles outside of Chicago. My father’s reason for never going to Chicago was stated succinctly.  “I never lost anything in Chicago. So, I don’t have to go back to get it.” The Dunes National Park was a short drive east. Couldn’t go there, He heard from someone, who knew someone, who was mugged there once.  He also told me once that anything he wanted to see, he could see on his television.  Dad was not adventurous.

 

Dad worked at Combustion Engineering and the family went to town once every other week, on payday.  They got groceries in Griffith, Indiana, where I would go to the library and carry out a load of books that stretched my arms down like an orangutan. Clothing was delivered by the Sears man.  In the summer, we would eat beer batter Fish and Chips at a drive-in restaurant on payday. I think it was at Broad and Main, in Griffith.

 

I however, wanted to move, since I remember being able to think.  I would look out an office window of a skyscraper and envy every one of those cars zooming by on the expressway, then I would go back to my typing.  I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states, Canada and momentarily in Mexico.  So, the world is ahead of me yet..

 

Mom was there when we got home from school and cooked dinner, until the fateful day in history when TV Dinners blighted the earth.  She was having health problems, so it was quick fix, and, like Twinkies and White Castle, I thought they tasted better then, than they do now.

 

Dad’s big travel was his yearly two week vacation. The first I remember were the trips to cabins in Wisconsin. We spent two glorious weeks swimming, hiking and swatting mosquitoes. I loved it and the woods. Then, they bought a station wagon and camping equipment and my brother and I were in heaven.  I haven’t been camping in years and I really miss it.  I’m never so happy as when I am outdoors, anywhere.

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