Category Archives: Family History

Takeing notes from Grandma

If we are going into the times of tribulation you may want to take some notes from your grandparents, they had a pretty good sample of what it will be like. I started doing this article on just how grandma used to do banking, but somehow the spirit lead me into a whole other survival strategy. The generation growing up in the 20s knew how to deal with things, and we’re a great deal more prepared then any of us today.

Banking
My grandparents were both born in 1923, Grandma in Germany, Grandpa in America. Both of these countries suffered the 2 worst economic tumoils in history- Weimer Republic and the Great Depression (though I think Weimar was much worse then the depression). They always told me: “Trust the bank like you trust your sandwich with the dog”. When they died, we were amazed to find $800k cash in a box under the floor boards.

She only used the bank to cash checks, and only put enough money in the account for bills +$10 to keep the account open. She kept everyone of her bank statements since 1932, while living in Germany with her first bank account- in 70+ years she did this every month of her life. Not once did she ever take a loan or credit card, she often found it was unnecessary. She died in a cozy house, no debts and a reletively stress free life.

This generation of people knew a lot of secretes about banks. Grandma grew up during the Weimer republic period in Germany, and my Grandfather lived through the American depression. In both countries Bank runs, inflation, government hands in the bank, stock crashes, and so much more were common occurances. They knew all too well not trust the bank anymore then the government.

Work for commodity not money.

Growing up in the Weimer Republic grandma learned early what life is like when the value of the dollar is worthless. say you have $20 today you can buy a loaf of bread with it, but tomorrow that same loaf will be $500, the next day it’s $3. This kind of volitilitay is completely under exaggerated, however what happens is you never know how much that loaf of bread is when you go to the store. On top of this the store might not want to sell it if they think they can charge more tommorrow… better yet what if you don’t even have $20 to begin with. What do you do?

Work for things your company makes. Washing machines, clothes, bullets, chocolate whatever. Don’t take cash as payment take something you can trade. Grandma would work at the chocolate factory as a kid and trade chocolate for supper and things the family needed. She would only get money from collecting bills on the streets to burn it in the furnace. Yup the money was so worthless people just dumped it on the street.

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It was common practice to heat the house by burning bills in 1920s Germany. It was cheaper then coal and the government printed so much of it.

Grandpa had a similar situation in America. Living in the hills of West Virginia during the depression and a dead father- his mom and siblings had to hunt for their food and pick wild mushrooms. They would skin the animal and trade the fur for other things they needed like Medicine or horse feed. They never had a cent and always had what they needed.

Food

How can I not next go into food after the above? The bible tells us to flee into the hills during tribulation, I think grandpa is proof that’s good advice. West Virginia has plenty of hills, just take your pick there. What’s good about this advice is in the woods you should be able to get food in a variety of ways, and you should be able to take care of yourself without relying on society too much- if at all. There’s plenty of Prepper sites just look around and be creative. Due to the virtually limitless info I could give here I’m not going into it- I may as well just write a whole other blog on the topic of getting your own food.

I will say this much, because it’s not very well written about. Most poisonous berries and mushrooms are good to eat after they are cooked- particularly in colder climates like Europe and north America. This also applies to snakes and things, just an FYI

Fun

Of course you will get bored luckily grandpa and grandma had a remedy.
No TV no video games, no electric or money required!!

Grandpa would pass the time by fighting other boys, beating each other to a bloody pulp and laughing about it all day after. But if that’s not your style Grandma used to go to the opera house and watch plays. Did you know community theater has always been a cheap entertainment? $15 at the door or offer to help clean after the play was her usual Friday night out.

Then there’s things like fishing, catching lizards, sewing, reading the bible, throwing mud at boys, tie a rope on a tree to swing around, etc…

Believe it or not boredom is not a new invention, people have always been creative to pass the time- I’m sure you can come up with something too.

Politics

Never trust politics especially when you agree with them. They will generally always let you down. Who knew this? Grandma!!

Picture this 1929 Germany, everyone is broke, unemployment has reached 40%, communism is trying to take over the country, and everyone is talking about a strange man named Adolf Hitler. “Fix inflation” he says. “Get rid of communism” he shouts. “Destroy all forms of evil in Germany” he tells the crowds of thousands cheering.

Oh sure grandma was poor too and he had loads of good ideas, which is why everyone loved him… but at 8 years old grandma told her father “he only wants to get rid of the communist so he can take control of the banks”.

That’s about the sum of what happened with him.

During Hitlers time in Germany, grandma grew up into a young adult with all her friends. She did what every teenage girl does, dated boys, went to dances, dressed up, slumber parties, worried about grades in school… (at least as much as any teenage girl does). When the Russians invaded Germany and Hitler was done,  everyone was in a panick while grandma was falling in love with grandpa. Truly it seemed to barely phase her that the whole continent was completely leveled by bombs.

When she came to the states she found presidents running for office wernt much different then Hitler vs the Communist- but she particularly liked Kennedy and Ragen.

Then of course there was the German environment of Jewish prejudice. Grandma worked for a Jewish owned chocolate factory as a little girl. As far as she was concerned the Jews were good people for helping her family when they needed it. Then theres concentration camps, she had no idea it was even going on. She thought Jews were going to Israel like anyone else at the time. Otherwise she didn’t think they were evil people or Hitler would go as far as slaughtering them. She like many Germans didn’t fully believe concentration camps even existed either- again she didn’t trust the Allied forces propaganda anymore then German propaganda. Well why should she, they were executing people needlessly and siding with Russia- only to go to war with Russia just 5 years after ww2. How does anyone know what to believe…. one verse out of the bible talks about this:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. – Psalm 146:3

Put your trust in God not a political candidate. The government isn’t there to fix your problems, you are there to fix your own problems.

The Devils Box

This comes more from my grandparents parents. When silent movies were just coming out in the 20s people thought it was satanic. When television came out people thought it was the mark of the beast!!

This sounds crazy now but let me tell you, they were on to something.

Here we have a box that preys on people with Illusions, photo editing, music, and distraction from reality. HELLO!! The entire bases of TV entertainment is to entertain people by manipulating their emotions- satanic indeed. Here is what the soviets were using for propaganda to brainwash people in russia. Here is were corporations pump advertisements into your brain. Here is the thing that makes people look like zombies in their seat while receiving ‘programing’.

Well TV has come a long way since 1920s, now we have it in our computers and pockets, we check up with our friends on it, we do our bank with it, we take photos with it, email, watch ‘reality tv’ with it, we write BLOGS with it!!

On average we stare at a screen almost all the time, TV is not just in our living room- it’s everywhere.
There are even people who can’t stand to look at the real world because their iPhone have better pixels and resolution then the real world.

Think of how much brainwashing that actually entails. If only the soviets in communist russia thought of led and amold screens first… they would force feed it to people everywhere, and make it completely affordable, and probably start up a social network to monitor the way people talked to each other. They may even secretly collect data from a search engine to see what people are looking up and reading about. :cough cough:

If you think Satan wouldn’t take full fledged advantage of this you must also think he’s stupid. :-/

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Ruth Lester, Story of My Grandmother

The tale begins at the city of Memel, Prussia (now Klaipeda lithuania) in 1936 with a small 10 year old girl named Ruth Lester. Her mother was all this girl had as her father (Fritz) abandoned the family to live in Coburg. It was in this year her mother died with symptoms believed today to be cancer. Ruth at age 10 began working at the chocolate factory to provide for herself, a job she really loved. (I imagine any child would love this job). for 3 years she would go to work, come home, feed the chickens, and play with friends from the factory. In 1939 Hitler came to town and her friends took her with them to go to the parade. Ruth remembered how the whole town shut down to welcome him into the city. Apparently he was there to sign an agreement with the local politics that Memel become part of the Reich. The politics did not want to agree to terms however had no alternative given lack of international support, as well as local public support. Shortly after this public appearance Ruth’s father came to Memel to bring her to Germany. He was just a violin player at Landstheater in coburg, but some how he knew Memel was going to be bombed by Russia that very night and he wanted to take her out of there.

Before packing her bags Ruth was told she is not allowed to take anything with her. she wanted her dolls to be safe. Her father told her to put the dolls in a box and bury them by the rail road tracks. Russian soldiers will not bomb the tracks because they are needed as trade routes. So she buried them. Ruth also had some friends she did not want to be bombed, they were older kids helping/living with her at the house- also working at the chocolate factory. Ruth begged her father to take Rose and Richard with them into Germany because they were her only family. Later that night while these 4 were on the train going to Germany, the Russians came and took Memel.

Fritz had to figure out how to get these kids citizenship, It was a long burocratic process. He legally adopted Ruth, though she was not allowed to live with him. Richard and Rose were too old to be adopted. It was decided all of them had to live in Stuttgart, Richard would have to wait for his work pass while Fritz sent money to pay their living expenses. It took 4-5 years before Richard could work and marry Rose. Ruth was very happy in this time living in Stuttgart, she loved being able to go to school with other kids. She would come home and do house choirs, play with her friends, finally living life like a normal child. She often took the city bus and loved that one moment the bus would be quiet and still as people went to work. Suddenly someone would start singing and the whole bus would break out in song. She also remembered Hitler coming to see her again and a huge parade broke out in the streets for him just like in Memel. This band of kids took family trips to places around the Rhine, Oktoberfest in Munich, every so often her father would come and take them to the theater in town, and to his theater in Coburg. For her Stuttgart was like a dream come true.

When Ruth came of age her father decided it was time for her to come live with him in Coburg, Fritz being able to provide for himself now. There wasn’t any need to keep Ruth there. She had a love hate relationship with Coburg. She loved the quiet town, how everything was beautiful and smaller then Stuttgart. She liked going to the opera to watch her father play the violin. However her father did not really know how to be a father. He always had theater parties with his friends she of course had to clean up after. He expected her to take on the role of more a house wife then a daughter…. a house wife that would put up with being an after hour bartender while he had a new girlfriend every week. (sometimes 3 at a time). He did not really raise her, they were never close- He saved her life though and tried as best as he understood, he just did not know how to go from party boy to daddy.

However one of fritz’s friends (Hanz, a cello player) told him that Stuttgart was going to be bombed by the allied forces, and that he needed to get Richard and Rose out of the city. Apparently an American soldier told him while he was drunk at the bar. (theater people tend to be the best kind of spies during the war it would seem) Once again Fritz hoped on the train to get them out. Equally that very night began a rape on Germany by every allied force, Stuttgart will be leveled within months from bombings. Once again the gang was back together in Fritz’s house, they decided from there they would stay and watch the political situation. Richard got a job at the Landsetheater with fritz in the meantime. It was around this time Fritz informed Ruth that he has come to a marriage arrangement for her. He told her then he relized he was not the best father, but never the less he wanted to do the best for her. The marriage was arranged through his friends at the landestheater from the other landestheater in Linz. The man was Lauritz Melchior. He was an Opera singer, much older then Ruth, he also had 2 children from another marriage in which he was a widower. This same man would later film 5 Hollywood movies and get a star on Hollywood Boulevard. Ruth did not know how to take this man when she met him. He was much like her father in that he only wanted her to raise his kids and take care of the house. He was like many of her fathers friends- Always boasting about how great he was- like many actors the conversation always seemed to turn to him. Ruth couldn’t stand the man one bit though knew her father worked hard for this arranged marriage, she bit her tounge for only a little while.

Rose found out the American soldiers were having a party in town, they rented out a ball room in town welcoming German girls. Some of the soldiers brought their girl friends, and most were just their with their army friends. Rose brought Richard, Ruth just wanted to have some fun with her friends. The music played and everyone was having a good time, Ruth realizing she was third wheel to Richard and Rose stepped aside and went to the bar. She sat quietly to herself for a time, but across the room she had an admirer. His name was Earl, and he walked over to the bar to ask Ruth for a dance. She was reluctant at first, being engaged, she told him sure but only as friends. They danced and danced all night. before they knew it the sun was up. Earl never let Ruth far from his sight as he gently courted her in the streets of Coburg, and she would gently push him away… At first.

Ruth went to her father and told him she can not marry the opera singer, and that there was another man who loved her. Her father did not take this news very well at all. Though he was fuming with anger he tried to remain calm and wanted to meet this man. So Ruth invited him to dinner and it was there the young soldier would find himself in a unexpected German interrogation.

Where are you from? why are you here? what are you doing with my daughter? what is Bluefield West Virginia? Do you have inheritance? who is you’re family?… all of the answers here simply could not compete with a wealthy and prestigious Opera singer, that he had worked so hard to arrange. Earl was a red blooded hillbilly in just about every way a person can be a hillbilly. However Fritz remained mindful not to bring that up since he could see very plainly Ruth loved this guy and her genuinely returned the affection. Rose and Richard made sure not to provide any input not wanting to get involved, the dinner was at best described, aquard.

Fritz told Ruth she was throwing away her life for this guy. Ruths friends told her Americans hated Germans now that the war was over. If Ruth married him of course she would have to come to the States and never see her family again. Once there the Americans might even kill her because she’s German. All these things that people told her did not matter to Ruth she loved the man and the man loved her and it was as simple as that. They were married and moved back to Stuttgart for a time. It was there in 1947 Elfie was born, the nurses at the hospital were so amazed at how small she was and nick named her Mushie (meaning little girl). Earl was given leave to see his family and came to West Virginia. Ruth was very nervous meeting Earls family- what if her friends were right and the Americans would hate her. For hours going into the country side, with each passing mountain the tension just grew, until they came to Earls mothers house, Sarah.

Ruth slowly walked up to the porch very nervous, Sarah rushed out first thing giving Ruth a hug. With such a Warm hearted and very accepting gesture, Ruth’s tension just melted away. Sarah of course was glad to finally see her son and her new grand daughter. The family all got together to meet her, Ruth was enjoying so much the company, she seemed to fit right into the family effortlessly. Though it was brief, Earl had another assignment in Germany, Ruth could not wait to tell her family in Germany how great everyone was.

Fritz would never really be apart of Ruths life from now on, it’s plain to see he knew that from this point. He only had his daughter a short time and now she was married with a kid. Even worse with a former enemy soldier whos family is so “Kind and Accepting”- it was clear he lost his daughter. He would write to Ruth all the time until he died, but he would barely ever see her again. To some degree he held that grudge against Earl, he would never really like him- but he was a good man to Ruth and for him that was what mattered.

Ruth and Earl would now travel the world from army base to army base with little Elfie. The little family loved it. Ruth would always have new friends amongst the army wifes. her best friend for a long time was a lady from Japan. Ruth joked, the 2 were the axis front within the American base. she was yet again surprised however how this Japanese girl and she never had a problem fitting in with the Americans during and after the war. Here were soldiers who’s job was to blow up both their countries, yet no one gave anyone the slightest hint of prejudice. Eventually Ruth would have to part with her Japanese friend, and many other army wife friends as they had to bounce from base to base. She made sure to keep in contact with her family in Germany no matter where they went.

In 1957 as the Russians announced they launched the first ever space satellite, Ruth and Earl were very busy in the ER. Gary was born. The nurses at the hospital nick named him after the Russian satellite ‘Sputnik’. As the little satellite sent little beeps back to earth Elfie was 10 years old now and happy to meet her little brother.

Years would pass, eventually Earl would join civilian life, Ruth was somewhat happy her endless traveling was over. They were stationed at Fort Mede Maryland, Elfie was already enrolled at Hammond High. They decided they would stay by the base as the kids already had their friends there. Earl had some difficulty adjusting to civilian life, and he drank beer considerably. though over time he would get adjusted to working a normal job, living in a normal house. Years later Elfie would Marry a man named Joe Winsted and very soon after Brett was born. Later of course Gary grew up and brought home Linda (his story on meeting Linda is almost just as romantic as his parents, However I will let him tell you for himself). Ruth and Earl would now be Grandparents- and they were both excellent. Bret loved going to West Virginia to see the family there, though he often said the boys out their play rough. Gary and linda would not be far behind Elfie Giving them Steven and Peter. Earl spent a great deal of time with the kids and they were very close. They watched them grow up, as they grew old. they always wanted to keep the family close together and did everything they could for the grand children that would later come.

Elfie took a great deal after her mother, she was independent minded, though a bit of a hippy rather conservative. Her husband Joe however was not very responsible. Though Ruth liked Joe very much she understood her daughters reasons for wanting a divorce. she insited joe would not be a stranger, In her eyes he will always be family. It would not take long before Elfie brought home a new guy his name was Richard. She met him at her job and they were married. They then gave birth to Jessie (me) in 1987. 2 months later Gary and Linda had there 3rd boy Mathew.
At this point I can speak from a personal perspective. Ruth was probably the best grandmother anyone could have. Every Sunday we went to see her after church, and she would tell stories about Germany and make sure everyone was fed well. Me and Matthew kept this little old lady pretty busy. Of course the best thing being where mom and dad said no Grandma always said yes (most of the time). One time we went to adventure land (now sixth flags) and me and Matt talked her into riding Superman at 70 years she didn’t even flinch to do it with us. She got older and older and well eventually she died. Not only was ruth so lively but she had the heart of a saint. Here was a woman who prayed Hitler and Joesph stalin wouldn’t go to hell just the same as Churchill or Roosevelt. There is actually only 1 person I remember her actually calling particularly evil- it was the queen of England when the news was buzzing that princess Diana died. She even went as far as writing letters from santa to us grandkids- I actually believed they were from santa for a long time, It was hard evidence among my friends. Her life was pretty incredible, though a certain artistic liberty was taken with this tale It is completely based on what she told us, Paperwork from her father Fritz in Germany, and historical documents from the time. I think when I put all these together the story of her life is one we should never forget. Though this is just a rough draft for now, Im curious if anyone would like to add before I put this up on Ancestry.com

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