A Life Well Lived…

The story of  my Grandfather Christian Roth is now available on the Kindle e-book format at amazon.com. It is what I call a fictional biography. Information was passed down to me by my oldest first cousin, which I took and embellished. The facts of the happenings and events were all true, but many of the details were added by me to create the story.
The video above gives a 360 degree view of the exact setting of the book, near Allensville, Pennsylvania. The little gray farm house is where my Grandfather lived and where my father was raised. The white farm across the field is where my mother grew up.
My grandfather came to America with his family from Switzerland in 1882. They were originally form Altkirch, France, but had moved to Switzerland to avoid the Franco=Prussian war.
My grandfather was a concrete mason by trade. He had a little 17 acre farm, and raised skunks to earn extra money.  He was very creative as you will see. Some of his concrete work still remains in the area.
I think you will find the book fascinating and fun to read. Click the link below to view and read.

Or.. go to amazon.com and look up the title A Live Well Lived – Dwight Roth.

**The video above is also the setting for my e-book memoir Farm Stories also found on amazon.com under my name…

https://www.amazon.com/Dwight-Roth/e/B017HW5AHG?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Coming to America

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Goodbye Little Sister  (The Long Sad Voyage of 1882)

 

The ships tall masts reaching high to the sky

Awesome for a boy of six // wondering why

His family packed up and left their home

Heading for a new world they travel alone

Brothers left behind grown and married

Younger brothers and sisters stay with the family

Watching the Alps fade as the shadows wane

To the port of Le Havre floating down the Seine

Ready to board this giant bucket of timber

Excitement rising trying to remember

All of his friends left behind in Basel

New adventures unseen in this perilous travel

Noise and activity surrounds them all

White sails slide up and begin to unfurl

Down to steerage on the ships second level

The family of Roths find a place to settle

Into the briny dark seas they sail

To New York Harbor where liberty hails

As the week drags on the voyage is rough

Young Christian and sister find sleeping is tough

The food is bad // unlike cooking back home

The water in barrels kept from the rats’ roam

But somehow this packed and unsanitary condition

Made some folks sick with dysentery emissions

Little sister was one whose resistance was lacking

As the days dragged on her fever not slacking

Worried mother and father prayed for God’s backing

Little sister got worse // there was nothing to do

As her fever raged on everyone knew

Late one night while everyone slept

Little sister passed on our little angel had left

O how we cried  // and mourned this great loss

Little sister had died before we’re across

The captain came by early that dawn

Saying sadly “She’s gone and we must send her on,”

The day was spent in tears and sad wails

As the orange sun was setting we bid our farewells

Wrapped in a blanket lowered into the swell

Into the briny blue she fell

With prayers and weeping // sadness abounds

Young Christian stood watching as folks gathered round

Little sister was gone // for her t’was too late

Wondering if he might be next for this unhappy fate

On reaching New York the emigrants unloaded

Ellis Island was crowded // each family recorded

Christian and family moved on to Ohio

With promise of hope always held high

Words still to come reflect how it should be

Give me your tired // your poor // yearning to be free

Give me your sad // your distraught // still counting the cost

Seeking religious freedom in a land unknown

Where Freedom and Liberty stand alone!

*******************************************

Le Havre port  –  Bing Photo

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Bjorn at d’Verse asked us to write a poem using a story narrative. I wrote this poem last years about my Grandfather’s experience of coming to America at the age of six. I decided to repost this fictional narrative. The only fact I had was that when they sailed from France to come to America his little sister died on the journey. I had to fill in the details from my imagination. I took all the details I had and wrote a fictional biograpy of my grandfather Christian Roth.

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Most of us who live in America are descendants of immigrants by choice or by force. We have no idea the sacrifices that were made to come and live in freedom. In the year 1882, my Grandfather came as a young boy of six, only to see his sister die on the way across the Atlantic. (In those days when a child died the name was not always recorded in the family tree.  This seems to be the case in this case!) His parents left Switzerland for freedom of religion. Many immigrants have come in the years following for many reasons. It is sad that emigration today has been equated with fear and criminality.

Join us at d’Verse: https://dversepoetry.com

 

Back Door Entry

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Today President trump signed and Executive Order to keep children with their parents, when being detained for coming across the boarder illegally.  With thousands attempting to cross the into the United States at risk of jail, or peril, the welcoming arms of Lady Liberty and the words of Emma Lazarus become blurred. Everyone has an opinion, but few have a workable solution. What would you do?

Back Door Entry

“Give me your tired // your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to be free…”

Emma Lazarus wrote of a nation of immigrants

Coming by the boat load to America…

Seeking freedom and a chance for a new life

Leaving all behind // never looking back.

Lady Liberty still stands in New York Harbor

The flow has never stopped

The welcoming words // still the same

What has changed?

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Stamp Art: Dwight L. Roth

Publishing the Past Pt.3

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Ellis Island was the entry point for many of our ancestors who emigrated to America to begin a new life in the New World.  The came from different countries with different languages and different cultures.  I thought this would be a good theme for this stamp art that I worked on this afternoon. I am sure news from their relatives back in the Old World was very exciting to receive. I am including another story from my father in law’s collection telling of a day trip on a steamboat up the Hudson River with his Aunt Mary.

  Aunt Mary Takes Me to Newburg, New York

I think I was twelve years old when a big offer came to me. My Aunt Mary, who was a single lady and might have been forty or so, asked me to accompany her on a one day excursion to New York. What a thing to look forward to. I had traveled a hundred or one hundred and fifty miles from home only two or three times. Aunt Mary usually gave us Christmas presents every year even though my parents didn’t every year. But, this was special!!

On Friday evening, Father took me to her house at 357 E. Ross Street, in Lancaster. I went to bed early, but could not sleep. At five or six AM, Aunt Mary called me to get up, so I quickly dressed. We walked in the semi-darkness about ten blocks to the railroad station.

Soon we were on the train called the Twentieth Century Limited and we rode to New York. We arrived at New York Central Station, a place built of marble that could easily have been a cathedral.

We took the bus to the docks and got on a river boat. I believe it may have been a sternwheeler. Its name was the Peter Stuyvesant. (He was a famous Dutchman in NYC.)

It was a bright sunny day in the middle of the summer, but a chilly west wind blew across the Hudson Valley, as we started up the river. There were three or four hundred people on board, and because it was uncomfortably cold on the shady west side, everyone sat on the starboard side to eat their lunch and watch the big city pass by.

This was an immense weight on one side and this four decker vessel listed greatly. One had to walk up hill to cross over to the port side. The scenery beyond the city was beautiful as we traveled northward two or two and half hours and docked at Newburgh.

Aunt Mary boat

We walked around a bit and then went to a pharmacy where Aunt Mary bought me a banana split, something I never saw before! It was a great treat.

       Soon we again boarded the river cruiser heading back down the Hudson to New York City.  I walked all over it. I even went to the place where you could watch the engines working.

Around supper time we were back in New York City. We found a restaurant and Aunt Mary ordered a mutton supper for me. We walked to Central Station and waited for our train.

We rode through the dark night arriving in Lancaster around 11 PM. Aunt Mary decided we could walk home in the dark. Part way home she began to run because she thought someone was following us, but I could not see anyone behind us. We walked the rest of the way at a normal pace and nothing else frightened us.

I will never forget that trip and I appreciate Aunt Mary for taking me.

***************************************************

Stamp Art of Ellis Island: Dwight L. Roth

Photo found on amazon.com

 

Goodbye Little Sister

le-havre-e2-jpg

Goodbye Little Sister  (The Long Sad Voyage of 1882)

The ships tall masts reaching high to the sky

Awesome for a boy of six just wondering why

His family packed up and left their home

Heading for a new world they travel alone

Brothers left behind grown and married

Younger and sister stay with the family

Watching the Alps fade as the shadows wane

To the port of Le Havre floating down the Seine

Ready to board this giant bucket of timber

Excitement rising trying to remember

All of his friends left behind in Basel

New adventures unseen in this perilous travel

Noise and activity surrounds them all

White sails slide up and begin to unfurl

Down to steerage on the ships second level

The family of Roths find a place to settle

Into the briny dark seas they sail

To New York Harbor where liberty hails

As the week drags on the voyage is rough

Young Christian and sister find sleeping is tough

The food is bad unlike cooking back home

The water in barrels kept from the rats’ roam

But somehow this packed and unsanitary condition

Made some folks sick with dysentery emissions

Little sister was one whose resistance was lacking

As the days dragged on her fever not slacking

Worried mother and father prayed for God’s backing

Little sister got worse there was nothing to do

As her fever raged on everyone knew

Late one night while everyone slept

Little sister passed on our little angel had left

O how we cried and mourned this great loss

Little sister had died before we’re across

The captain came by early that dawn

Saying sadly she’s gone and we must send her on

The day was spent in tears and sad wails

As the orange sun was setting we bid our farewells

Wrapped in a blanket lowered into the swell

Into the briny blue she fell

With prayers and weeping the sadness abounds

Young Christian stood watching as folks gathered round

Little sister was gone for her was too late

Wondering if he might be next for this fate

On reaching New York the emigrants unloaded

Ellis Island was crowded each family recorded

Christian and family moved on to Ohio

With promise of hope always held high

Words still to come reflect how it should be

Give me your tired your poor yearning to be free

Give me your sad you distraught still counting the cost

Seeking religious freedom in a land unknown

Where Freedom and Liberty stand alone!

*******************************************

Le Havre port  –  Bing Photo

*******************************************

Most of us who live in America are descendants of immigrants by choice or by force. We have no idea the sacrifices that were made to come and live in freedom. In the year 1882, my Grandfather came as a young boy of six only to see his sister die on the way across the Atlantic. (In those days when a child died the name was not always recorded in the family tree.  This seems to be the case in this case!) His parents left Switzerland for freedom of religion. Many immigrants have come in the years following for many reasons. It is sad that emigration today has been equated with fear and criminality.