Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Sweet New Relative and Corrections for My Fred Kiechel Blog

The computer and internet make for a very small world! Remember the blog I posted in January 2016, about my cousin and I spending the afternoon reading about our Great Grandfather, Fred Kiechel? Well, I find it more than coincidental that a distant relative's wife spent time reading my blog after randomly looking up to see what other information she could glean off the internet about her husband's Great Grandfather who happened to be the same Fred Kiechel that I wrote about. Shortly thereafter, she tracked me down and called me. I think I was as excited to hear from her as she was as excited to talk to me.  Thus a new relationship was made, thanks to our common ancestor, Fred Kiechel!
Fred Kiechel

Her husband's grandfather was a brother to my grandmother and though their father, Fred Kiechel lived in Nebraska, my new relative and her husband and father-in-law now reside in Washington D.C. The internet and our ability to travel generations as well as miles with our finger-tips is indeed amazing!

I had not been entirely accurate about Fred Kiechel and she added corrections.  Fred Kiechel's father did die before his mother brought him and his two siblings to America, from Alsace Loraine, France and his  mother later did remarry BUT Fred Kiechel was born Fred Kiechel and remained Fred Kiechel his whole life. He was never adopted by his stepfather and the picture that I thought was an early picture of his wife, Alvina, and her brother, was more likely a picture of their second child, my grandmother, Addie Rose and her brother Walter, though that will hopefully be confirmed in the near future.
Perhaps Addie Rose Kiechel, my Grandmother and her brother, Walter?

I gathered information to send to my new relatives, which included copies of my grandmother's diaries and copies of old pictures and family trees associated with Fred. I also sent a copy of a letter written by my grandmother's brother to her, along with the articles my Great Grandfather, Fred Kiechel had written for a local newspaper regarding some of the history of the area of Nebraska that he and his wife had helped settle. In the process of doing this, I learned even more about Fred. His mother had remarried and had several more children.  She died shortly after birthing her last child, and knowing she would die, she requested that her first daughter raise this baby.

Fred's step father quickly raced to town to get a marriage license to marry Fred's sister and while he was gone, she fled to the home of a young man she had been courting and they were married instead. Her stepfather, in anger, threw Fred and his brother out of the house and disinherited them. They then lived with their sister and her husband for a time!

This would likely explain why Fred's grandson never heard him talk much about his mother! Fred's persona grew even bigger when I heard about this. His story is indeed a remarkable story of a young man who wasn't about to let personal loss and hard times stand in the way of his success! He indeed had much to be proud about as he reflected on his life and wrote his "not-so-humble account of it" that was later read by his son at he and his wife's 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration. The details of this glorious celebration and Fred's reflections were published in their local newspaper and was the article that my cousin and I spent the afternoon reading! Fred came alive again for a time. He was indeed a very colorful sort of personality!

The varieties of Smith Island Cakes found at!!

An Original Smith Island Cake for those with a serious sweet tooth! YUM!!
I look forward to my new relative sharing any more information that she might glean from her father-in-law and his sister, the only two remaining relatives that I know of from my mother's generation. For my efforts in mailing the information that my father and my mother's cousin had gathered, I received a beautiful Smith Island Cake in the mail. I wrote to my relative that she had quickly become my "sweetest" relative ever for indeed this cake was made the way I like my cakes, half frosting/ half cake, and just like the fishermen that feasted on such a moist cake while at sea, we made it last as long as we could!  My daughter, husband and myself were indeed well-paid for our efforts, besides which I have now dusted off my family's ancestry box.

It is time to copy the family historical information for my siblings!  I had been overwhelmed by this task, and it really wasn't so hard, as with computers I can now scan the pictures and other information and load it on DVD's and my mother's mother's side of the family is now done and ready to be sent to my own family members! I just need to do my mother's dad's side of the family and my father's side of the family! I also plan to post this information on so that other relatives may access this information as well.

Perhaps I will meet more new relatives in the future, though to be sure, there will never be another relative as sweet, quite literally, as my Great Grandfather's Great Grandson's wife!! Shortly after confessing to her that I was at first reluctant to share this cake with my daughter and husband and considered hiding it in the freezer and keeping it all for myself, she emailed me back so say that she had ordered one of these cakes for herself, as her husband and son don't much care for sweets. My daughter and I are now convinced that she IS 100% blood relative, instead of her husband and their son!!
Cookies and Cakes make for healthy  breakfasts! Martin Potato Salad does too!

I inherited a sweet tooth from my mother and her sisters, and find it sad that my mother's correspondence with her sisters and mother wasn't saved, for they were hand-written letters loaded with new sweet recipes. We called them "Martin" letters, as they were all about Addie Rose Martin family gatherings and what was being served, along with recipes and snippets of materials with descriptions of new dresses and quilts in process! My new "sweet" relative fits right into our family!!

I wonder if she knows anything about the yellow mustard potato salad family recipe that we credit to my grandmother's side of the family--perhaps it isn't really "Martin Potato Salad", but rather "Kiechel Potato Salad" instead?

Sunday, August 7, 2016


My mother's UFO, her most beautiful quilt ever. I am "in-training" to finish it.
UFO's to a quilter are those unfinished quilts that we haven't finished before moving onto making others.  Newer quilt projects are more enticing, and so apparently I am not the only one, it seems, to have UFO's in abundance.  WIPs or works in progress may or may not be included among them. I am working to prioritize my sewing and put all my UFO's onto my WIP or in my case, PIP (Projects in Process) Do-List. I will finish them, if it is the last thing I do, and they may very well be just that!! I have since placed written directions in plastic sleeves to store with them. This alleviates any worry that should I die with them left unfinished, any quilter can pick up where I have left off. I am a control freak enough that I would hope they are finished just as I want them to be finished! "Dream on, Jane Girl!!
WIP's or PIP's. No more UFO's!
I have a new motto "Finished is better than perfect", though I don't want to spoil any quilts that have great starts and so I am having to learn new skills to actually accomplish what I have started.  Perhaps there are other quilters out there that "get stuck" as I do and find myself suddenly in over-my-head and I don't know how to proceed.  I would hope I am not the only one that "takes on more than I can chew" or in the case of sewing "more than I can sew"!

My mother had only one UFO, and it was her most beautiful quilt ever and foolishly, I agreed to finish it for her so she could die in peace, though I am living without any peace as a result of this commitment!! She was working hard to finish it and was having some real quality control issues and it was too beautiful a quilt to have her push on and potentially ruin what is truly a gorgeous and unusual quilt. As I hadn't quilted in a very long time, I have been brushing up on my quilting skills and learning new ones, in order to be worthy of finishing her quilt.
 I remind myself that my life' purpose is to eat, pray and quilt!

I have been making some new utility quilts to practice machine quilting skills and quilt-as-you-go technique, though my mother's quilts were always done entirely by hand using a similar quilt-as-you-go technique.  I have come to terms with the fact that not all my quilts will be hand-quilted as my life span is growing shorter all the time.  I often whine now that my other careers should have been abandoned long before they were, no matter that they "earned" a living, unlike quilting, besides you know what they say about hindsight anyway!

UFO? You decide! (The circle has been added to help see the mystery lights.

The subject of UFO's seems to be foremost in my husband's world as well...and these are not the quilter's kind! He has been out taking photographs of The Milky Way and other galaxy-sort of subjects, and when he puts them on his computer he is finding strange lights belonging to aircraft, that don't look like ones used by any earthlings that we know.  I will try to post a few of them in such a way that my readers can see what we see.  They are more impressive when they are blown up larger.
The circle has been added to this picture for viewer's ease to find the UFO.
My husband is not seeing them with his naked eye, only in his pictures. I have sent them onto friends, some of whom consider it nothing so surprising, as they just know that we aren't alone in this universe and other's like me, are shocked by any such apparent realities.

See circled lights. UFO's or airplanes' blinking lights with slow shutter speed?
I have never enjoyed learning about astronomy.  The thought of other life forms on other planets is just too big for me to "take in". I remember as a child having to go to our local Observatory Park to view a planet through a telescope. After standing in a line blocks long in the freezing cold winter weather, I finally got my turn to look in the telescope. I had to climb a narrow flight of stairs, and did I mention that I am afraid of heights and only to see nothing. The astronomer kept yelling at others, when they reported not seeing what we were there to see. I falsely reported that I saw whatever it was I was supposed to see though I didn't. I didn't want to be yelled at, though the person after me was more honest and sure enough, the planet had moved, or was it the telescope? My assignment to draw what I saw was lifted from an encyclopedia that was never credited!  I preferred to be at home, all warm and cozy doing my needlework! Some things never change!

Now, in our home my husband and I have our own TV rooms. He loves science programs, and I prefer chick flicks with a sewing station in my living room, and real "down-to-earth" news programs. I tune into dramas or earth-bound politics, which my husband complains is the lowest of low TV programming.  My husband has tried to subject me to such movies as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars and the classic TV series, Star Trek. I find their space ships unwarmly decorated and their attire not so attractive either...No "down home" comforts in their world and I understand that that those that have supposedly been abducted find real alien space ships to be similar...rather cold and metallic-like without home warmth and friendliness.

It would be my worst nightmare to be abducted, and though I insist that my husband take his "earth anchor" with him, I will only accompany him with a suitcase packed with a favorite cozy quilt and picture of my family in case of abduction. Just thinking about the possibility of unwanted travel in these alien craft, will necessitate me wearing clean underwear with no holes as well! I understand that as an earthling, I might be subject to examinations similar to those at a doctor's office. Clearly they know little about down-home hospitality!!

So I leave it up to you, my readers to help us figure out what we are seeing, and do let me know about any alien etiquette we should know, just in case?  I do understand now that our local Vermont area is known for having such spaceship sightings, but why should that surprise me.  It is truly "a down-home-sort-of-place", the sort that makes anyone, and perhaps even aliens feel "at-home".  I used to say that we came home to a place we had never been before!  It is truly an "out-of-this-world" sort of place to live!! (pun intended!)

(One of my friend's son, said that perhaps with slower shutter speed, my husband is actually photographing blinking airplane lights that make these lines. It would be a relief to know that I needn't fear any alien abduction, and so I hope this theory is right!?  If any of you have gotten these in your night-time photographs we would be interested to hear from you? Though we are also open to hearing from those who have experiences with real UFO's as well! My daughter insists that she has actually seen lights flying erratically, not like any airplane she has ever known? Do please let us know what you think!)