Archive for August 2012

Silly Stories from the Hearth – Tags go on the inside!   1 comment






About 10 years ago I read a book titled  “God Uses Cracked Pots”  by Patsy Clairmont.  It’s a roll on the floor with laughter kind of book and if you haven’t read it and need a little humor in your life you will love this one,  especially the gals.


One story in the book that I loved told about a day in her life when she was feeling particularly good about herself and had gone into town to do some shopping. As she was walking down the street several people in cars honk their horns and waved. She thought “wow” I really am look’n good! ,In the stores people were smiling at her. All this attention was reaffirming that she “was” look’n good. Then it happened, the reason they were all smiling and waving.  As she walked by window she saw her reflection and stuck to the back of her dress was a pair of panty hose.   Of course her version is much more hilarious than mine.

This leads me to my own “cracked pot” story. After my Mom passed away last year my Dad,  Brother,  Sister-in-Law and I started going out for brunch on Sundays.  It’s great on many levels,  we get caught up on each others lives and I think it’s something my Dad looks forward to.   Plus anytime spent with family is a blessing.

As I’ve gotten older my bad habit of being a procrastinator has only gotten worse and I seem to be more distracted by my own little projects. Getting ready to go to brunch on Sundays is no exception.  I allow myself barely enough time to get ready before I need to walk out the door. This last Sunday was no exception. I let myself get caught up in a photo project knowing full well that I wouldn’t have time to complete it before I needed to stop.   Did that stop me – of course not.   After all these years I know exactly to the minute how much time I need to shower, brush my teeth, throw a little make-up on and try to do something with my hair.   Well I pushed the time envelope this last Sunday.   The 10 extra minutes I spent on the computer would have made all the difference in the world to my actually getting out the door on time.   And,  yes if I’d actually brought up my clean clothes from the basement and put them in my closet that would have helped as well.

It seems the less time I have to do something the more things I take time to do.  I mean really, I was already 10 minutes behind my starting point,  but,  I decided that my bathroom sink and counter needed to be cleaned.   So I took time to do that all while the clock is ticking away. Now I need to be out the door no later than 10:40 to arrive on time and it’s now 10:30.  Yikes!   So because I can’t seem to bring my clean clothes from the laundry room I have to run down there to get something to wear.   There’s just enough light down there so I don’t bother to turn on the light.   I grab a blouse off the rack that I hang them on after they come out of the dryer.   Throw it on real quick and run back upstairs.   Coffee – I need my coffee!   Where did I leave my travel cup?   Ok,  now it’s pushing 10:40.   Travel cup is not in the car,  not in the dishwasher,  not by the coffee pot where I normally keep it.   Oh ja, it’s up in the office, duh. I run back up the stairs grab my cup,  fill it up,  grab my purse and keys and out the door.   Whew…..

We had a really nice brunch,  good food,  good conversation and then we all went our separate ways.  Once home I was back at my project.  Soon the hours passed and I decided I’d watch a little TV.    Well these days staying awake through most of these programs is impossible.  I woke up from my nap about 11 pm and decided I would check my emails,  etc.,   but first I thought I’d put my PJ’s on and brush my teeth.   Did I mention that not once since getting ready in the morning had I looked in the mirror??   Well….
As I stood in front of the mirror I looked – then looked again at myself.  Oh, lordy!   I looked again thinking it was just the sleepies still in my eyes from my nap.   Nope what I was seeing was real.  In my rush to get dressed I had put my blouse on inside out.  I stood there shaking my head and kind of laughed,  thinking my goodness lady you are getting feeble minded – TAGS GO ON THE INSIDE!   I’m past the age of being embarrassed easily and I’ve learned to take most things with a grain of salt.  But,  the real kicker was that none of my lunch companions said a word to me about it.  Didn’t they notice?   Or maybe they didn’t want to embarrass me.  No wonder those people were smiling at me as we left the restaurant.

Note to self:   Tags go on the inside.   And check the mirror before you leave home.

“Normal is just a setting on the dryer.”
by Patsy Clairmont



Posted August 6, 2012 by Terri Kallio/Site Coordinator in Uncategorized

I was suddenly in a time that was not my own…   5 comments

When I opened my email this afternoon I was excited to see that my distant cousin, Kurt Bevensee, had sent not one but four emails.   I was anxious to open them because he has been generously spending time locating records for my Bebensee ancestors in Germany.   I couldn’t wait to see what news he may have.   As I realized what he sent I actually started to shake. An overwhelming feeling of sadness seemed to come over me from out of nowhere.   I looked at each photograph, but had trouble focusing as my eyes started to fill with tears.   It was as if I was plummeted to a time that was not my own.   I felt surrounded by people I did not know but, the connection was so strong I knew I belonged. If you have never experienced this it may be hard for you to understand – and yes I know I tend to gush and go on, but this was a moment I did not expect.

I know so little about my Great Grandmother, Maria Charlotte “Anna” Bebensee, nee Sievers that I consume every morsel of information as if it were a feast.   She was born, married, bore her four children in Wandsbek, Germany and lived all her life there and the nearby town of Eilbeck.   Both towns are suburbs of Hamburg.   Anna met my great grandfather, Gustav Bebensee, while working as a servant at the Bebensee home.   A marriage that was not acceptable to his parents.   After my great grandfather and their oldest son emigrated in 1898 to the United States, she made a living by taking in sewing and by all accounts struggled to keep her 3 remaining children fed.   In a letter I have from 1899, I believe she was kind, compassionate and loved her children very much, beyond this I know nothing of her life. What I do know is that my grandpa would tear up when he spoke of her.   I know that his entire life he felt a sense of guilt because he was so excited to get on the ship to come to America that he never told her good bye,  never gave her one last hug nor said I love you one more time.   Possibly the sadness I felt today was not mine but his.

Through the wonderful photographs that Kurt sent I was able to walk past the Friedhöfe Kapella Tonndorf (cemetery chapel),  past the statue of the “Pilgrim”.  I could follow the path, past the graves which are so beautifully kept with flowers.  Then there it was not far from the tall hedges was where my Great Grandmother was laid to rest in March 1920 at the age of 53.   Maybe I’m just sentimental, but knowing this has meant the world to me.   There is a peace in my heart now as the longing for answers has finally come.

My grandfather’s sister, Margaretha (called Grace),  was the only sibling to remain in Germany.   According to the records that Kurt sent she paid for her mothers burial at a price of 60 Reich Marks.  The records also indicate that she was still unmarried at the time of her mother’s death, which provides another small clue to her.  Unfortunately the lease on the grave was only for 25 years, so sometime after 1945 her remains were removed and the plot was resold to another family.   Today there is no one buried in this plot. (I’d almost like to believe she is still there – but, I know that is not the case.)

So to my Oma Maria Charlotte “Anna” Bebensee you are not forgotten – your life will be remembered through the stories past on for generations to come.

Maria Charlotte “Anna” Bebensee
Nee Sievers
February 14, 1867 – March 27, 1920
Laid to rest at Friedhöfe Tonndorf

“This world is not our home. We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“We are just pilgrims passing through this world on our way to the promised land.”



I have no words that can fully express my gratitude to Kurt Bevensee for all he has given me by his tireless search for the records of my ancestors.

Posted August 4, 2012 by Terri Kallio/Site Coordinator in Uncategorized