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My Ancestors


Five generations...

The baby in the photo is my mother, and the woman holding her is, of course, my grandmother. I come from a long line of hard-working Germans, who first came to this country in the 1800's.

I'll have more to post about this later, but hats off to their ethic for independence. The fella standing above my grandmother is Leonard "Toughy" Rademacher, and is her father, long-deceased. He died when my grandmother, Nana, was only 19. He'd been a single dad for years, as his wife had run off with another man and only saw her two children when Nana was 8. I knew his sisters as my Aunt Onie and Aunt Lucy, and Onie was like a second mother to me. Knowing her as well as I did, and knowing how my grandmother has always been - this wonderful spark of a human being - it makes me think that this guy, Toughy, was a pretty cool character.

The life-long nickname came about because when people tried to mess with him, they wound up on the short end of the stick. On a bet, he once swam across and back the Missouri river. He owned and rode a horse named Prince.

I'll ask Nana more about these folks next time I see her. For me, it helps to fill out the shape of the people I've known in my life.


by Brett Rogers, 10/12/2009 9:09:13 AM


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