Saturday, February 2, 2013


HERE

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIOR

I am writing of my family, various members in various places. I am starting with August and Auguste Schumann, my great grandparents, living at this time in Boguslawka, Volhynia.

The summer of 1887 was one of those hot summers on the prairie of Volhynia. German families had come to eke out a living in a new land. The August Schumann family had many of their relatives on surrounding small farms. It was harvest time now for the grain, which produced the income for the family. Normally, the mother would be bringing food to her husband as he worked. She should also be helping to tie the bundles and shock the grain.

“However, this day of July, the 24th, Auguste had been in the humid living quarters of their tiny, 2-room  home for several days because all of her children were running very high fevers. She went from one to the other to sponge her children with wet cloths. Auguste Pauline was hallucinating now, yelling and screaming, which  prevented Karl Friedrich and Friedrich Wilhelm from any peaceful rest as they fought the illness. Auguste was exhausted, having been up several nights with the children. It was approaching noon now, when she should be cooking the noonday meal.  At last, Auguste Pauline seemed to be quieting down but her breathing was now so shallow that a feather could hardly be moved by her breath. As the screaming ceased, August sat in a chair for a moment, wiping her own perspiring brow. All around them was illness, children ill in every home."

2nd Weekend Writing Warrior (continuing on with expansion of my family history. In this section I refer to four children although only three are lying ill on the bed. )

     "Auguste dragged herself out of the chair where she had been sitting for no more than five minutes. She plodded into the adjoining room which served as kitchen and storage for small garden equipment like hoes and rakes. She grabbed a glass from a cupboard now nearly empty of clean dishes. With a dipper, she filled the glass from the nearly empty bucket of drinking water.
     Returning to the room, in which the children lay, she was determined to get them to drink some water. All three children lay in the children's bed, crosswise to allow sleeping of all four children.  Their necks were so swollen and their color so dusky. Only a day or two ago, there were children's voices, joyfully playing outdoors with many other children living in the small settlement."

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22 comments:

  1. I know you're trying, Carol, to get that link up there. I hope restarting it works. :-)

    I like this. It's well-written, and moves the story along. You've painted a dire scene--no doubt close to how it really was.

    Good eight. :-)

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    1. I don't know how I'll ever be able to thank you for helping a klutz get started.

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  2. Link still not happening but the words paint a powerful picture. I realise that you have to distinguish between Auguste herself and little Auguste Pauline but the use of the two names for both boys gives it a detached, formal feel that I'm not sure you were intending? Although, on reflection, if all my children were sick at the same time I would need to be a bit detached just to cope. Sorry, that isn't much help as a comment, is it!

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    1. It is a great help. So many of the names in this family, cousins and others related are all the same that sorting them has been a challenge. But I am pretty intimate here with one family at this time. Maybe I don't need both names.

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    1. Sad and about to get sadder. But I am here so there will be a bright part, too.

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  4. I love family histories. :) Is Volhynia in Poland?

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    1. Volhynia may be a part of Poland and a part of Ukraine today. Sometimes it was part of Russia. I first began to find births and deaths in the St. Petersburg archives. My last living aunt said, "No, our family has never lived in Russia." "What is this birth record?" I asked. She answered, "That is our famiiy." I will go there next summer to view the area.

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  5. Very interesting! I get the impression of weariness and desperation on several levels. The illness is one, but what about the crop? Their economic well being depends on it.

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  6. Very traumatic scene and leaves me wanting to read more.

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    1. Thank you so much, Debbie. Finding records is one thing, but making it readable for my family is another thing.

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  7. What kind of an epidemic, aside from the fever?

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    1. I believe it is diphtheria according to word of mouth reports.

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  8. Wow, powerful but sad...excellent excerpt, in a very evocative way.

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    1. I hope the "evocative" will draw family to read.

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  9. I love the idea of telling the story of your ancestors, not just passing along names and dates. It makes your family come alive.

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    1. Thank you, Ed. That is my hope. To make it alive. I happen to know that this family lost 3 children in 2 days, (I think all their living children) but that data seems sterile to me unless I try to make it real.

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  10. What a stark picture and you've painted it so well.

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    1. Thank you, Kate. I am a beginner and struggle with writing yet.

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  11. Powerful and heartbreaking - nicely written!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. I hope to learn to write with a bit of the skill that the rest of you have.

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