Monday, March 6, 2017

Küblers to America

Büsserach, Switzerland
Thus ends the chronicle of my branch of the Kübler family from Büsserach, Switzerland to America. I've traveled to Büsserach and walked the villages, inhaled the mountain air and seen the beautiful  countryside through my own eyes. I've met some of the descendants of Vinzenz Joseph Kübler's siblings and other extended family. I even slept in the building where Vinzenz made the exchange of money for his land so that he could come to America with his family. Despite all that, I cannot conceive of what it must have felt like to take a last look at everyone and everything you have ever known and loved and say a final good-bye. How tough was his life that he would risk everything to take an arduous one way trip on a sailing vessel with his young family to an unknown country and an unknown future?

I never had the opportunity to know him, of course, as this was long before I was born. I barely knew my grandfather, Joseph Kubler. Although I was 13 when he died, traveling from Des Moines to Cincinnati in the 1960s was not an easy trip due to the lack of interstates. Busy, two-lane highways meant the drive was long and often slow, so visits back "home" were limited to once a year at best. Our family always stayed with my mom's parents, never at the Kubler house. We would go over to see Grandma and Grandpa Kubler when we were in town, however. They were nice to me, but I could sense the closer relationship that the cousins who lived in Cincinnati had with them. I always felt a bit like an outsider.

My memories of Grandma Kubler are much clearer, as I was 23 when she passed. She was kind and friendly, and a great cook. It was always a treat to be able to have a meal with her. It seemed like she was always in the kitchen when we visited. I'm grateful for her cooking skills as she passed them along to my dad. Though my mom was always the cook in our family during the week, on the weekends my dad nearly always helped out in the kitchen. Once he retired, cooking and cleaning were activities he shared with my mom.

Like most young people, I never sat down with my grandparents to get their stories. By the time I got interested in genealogy, following the death of my mother, all my grandparents were gone. I have tried to make up for that by talking with my older relatives each time I go to Cincinnati for a visit, and by participating in the Family History Writing Challenge so that I get the information placed somewhere besides my genealogy software. I have a long way to go, but at least I am taking steps to get there.

Dad and me circa 1958
I forgot to include in the last post the poem I wrote for my dad when he died, so it appears below. This is a scan of the original I placed beside his casket in the funeral home, somewhat wavy from the tears and snowstorm it was carried through. I have written poetry since early childhood, but I don't share it very often. I wrote a poem for Aunt Marie (my mother's sister) for her funeral, and another for my sister-in-law Lynn to express my feelings and hopefully console my brother, Joseph. So it seemed fitting to put my thoughts on paper for my dad. He was not always an easy man to be around, but I never doubted his love for me. It's an odd feeling when your second parent dies, as if you are now an orphan. The two people who were responsible for your very existence, and the anchor for your entire family are no longer a phone call or relatively short drive away. Pieces of my heart were buried with each one of them, but I am extremely happy that I have the photographs and memories to tuck away in those empty spaces.

Dad's Poem


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