New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

The day after—the paper monster…

Has been growing in the office. I waded through a stack of miscellaneous papers, file-ables, bills, end-of-year statements, circulars, catalogs, and the refinance papers, found a slip for taxes on an acreage I inherited in Oklahoma—and couldn’t even find out what year it was for or if it had been paid.

There was a phone number. And sometimes dealing with Anadarko, Oklahoma is a bit of a warm fuzzy. My great-grandads and great-grandmums on both sides came there before statehood (1907)…even before the land run. My great-grandad and granddad on Mum’s side had their own agreement directly with the Kiowa tribe, for the payment of a cow of their choice and the right to hold meetings on the land, where otherwise my family ran horses and cattle. Suffice it to say—we’re kinda from way-back in town history. And my uncle, after a combine accident that cost him his arm, became county clerk there. So when I had to call the county treasurer and ask if I was paid up on taxes, the conversation went pretty fast—I give my name, they look it up, and have the record instantly, the treasurer knows pretty well where the parcel is, I explain who my mother was, give the last name—oh, yeah. I say who my uncle was, oh, yeah—the man I’m talking to knew him well. It’s old home week, and oh, yeah, if there’s ever a problem, and you need to find me, just ask one of that family and they’ll find me…

Anadarko’s growing: it’s got its Walmart and all; but there’s still a lot of the old town that functions, where I remember buying barbecue from an outdoor pit, where my other-side grandad ran the only gas station on that side of town, and I pumped gas and washed windshields when I was about 10, and cute; where the cousins and I used to walk the alleys and pick particularly pretty river-polished agate stones out of the pebbles they’d hauled in to fill holes in the asphalt; the creek I used to ride across on the right-hand horse of the Percheron team that pulled the old tiller or the hay rake, a horse so big I rode astride on his neck—but I was very little then; the creek had quicksand, but if you were sensible and made like a starfish you could work your way out of it. There was the Martian-red sandstone hilltop where we cousins used to arrange ambushes of each other…and where I learned that you do not, unlike in the movies, try to jump from a cliff to an oak sapling. Oak saplings don’t bend like birches, and they have a lot of branches on the way down. I had a most excellent childhood, especially weekends, when we drove 40 miles on a 2-lane to Anadarko to help out our grandparents. I fought a prairie fire with a wet gunnysack, right along with everybody in the area; I learned (with a hand plow in red clay soil) why a horse-drawn plow was really a big advancement (my few furrows looked like a drunken snake had laid them out)—and that if you harvest an entire row of ripe cabbages you are not helping grandma at all! [But popping the stems is so interesting!]


21 comments to The day after—the paper monster…

  • ready4more

    BargeBoy (readyGuy) and I submitted our tax returns over a week ago. The paper monster has taken over my work station, but this year everything I needed for my taxes was on line including medical receipts. Since I do all my banking on-line if I can help it, I had copies of every transaction for every taxable expenditure. I was able to make .pdf files of everything and put the copies into a “file-folder” for the year. My task for this year is to get a good scanner, scan everything and then immediately destroy the paper… Now what I need is a CD backup of 2011. If I could just manage to discipline myself into throwing out catalogs that have something I like but will never order, and put away my magazines (Science, Science News, Scientific American, etc.) I might actually be able to find the floor around my computer.

  • kokipy

    What wonderful memories. It is good to believe that some of what was there then is still there now. But even if it isn’t it is good that it still exists in your heart.

  • cherryhfan

    Did Grandma make lots of stewed cabbage, soup and cole slaw? Or did she just share with the nearest neighbors? (I’ll bet Cajeiri wouldn’t have been able to resist those stems either!)

  • CJ

    I’m sure there was cabbage for a week after my parents took my little self home.

  • Hanneke

    Thank you for sharing these memories with us sometimes.
    It makes a way of life that seems very far away and long ago when I read about it, suddenly much closer, that someone I’m in (internet)contact with has these personal memories to share.

    It sounded like sauerkraut-making time arrived a bit early, if your grandmother knew how to do that? Around here, it’s a big industry when cabbages are ripe, and the whole countryside stinks of them; and my own grandmother learned how to make it at home from her mother – apparently it’s not too difficult; you have to work cleanly and have patience, and a cool place to leave the crock to ferment, but I’ve never tried it myself.
    And Cherryhfan is right – I immediately thought it would be the kind of thing Cajeiri could have done, ‘helping out’ in Najida village’s vegetable gardens, if he didn’t have to stay close to Bren’s house with all the alarms going on. Does Cajeiri have a lot of your own childhood mischief in his pranks and adventures? Is some part of the playful adventurousness he displays when he gets the chance based on your own memories? You seem to have had a lot more freedom as a child than I’m used to, and to have developed a lot of skills quite early; and Cajeiri too is often surprisingly competent at his adventures for an eight year old. Funny, how this remembrance suddenly made me see the (possible) parallel – is there any in truth?

    • CJ

      Yes. I think my brother has our grandmother’s sauerkraut crock, ceramic, with embossing and painting, a little dinged with wear. She was a Tipton, of (ultimately) English origins, but my grandfather was a Vandeventer, out of the Dutch colony in New York/New Jersey. The Vandeventers split—one part, with the money, became pretty well to do, lawyers and such, and a descendant became a Supreme Court Justice back in the 1930’s. The other half (my half)—headed south to the Carolinas and Tennessee and became farmers, which is where my grandfather’s lot was before the Civil War—they moved further west when the war started, as many people did who didn’t have sympathy for that fight. They were very proudly Dutch, and I’ll bet there was a sauerkraut recipe around: being a frontier family, they would never let anything go to waste. And there was that crock. My uncle, in Anadarko, was surprised one day by a knock at the door—this was in the late 50’s or early 60’s—and it was Van Deventers from Holland who had come to the US tracing their cousins and trying to find out what had happened to the New York Vandeventers. I’m not sure when the name altered spelling—but you can bet any Vandeventer or Van Deventer in the US is related to us. I’ve run into people at book signings, one in Houston, one in Pennsylvania, and when we compared notes—yes, we can figure when we were connected.
      Part of that connection, I’m sure, is recipes—women’s knowledge, passed from mothers-in-law to new brides. Gran cooked by pinches and fistfuls, never a measuring cup in her kitchen, and she’d worked with my great-gran in her kitchen, up the hill: the two families had migrated together, 2 generations.
      I suppose I did have an adventurous childhood. There was no one and nothing I was afraid of—I was shot at once, at age 12, by a crazy old guy who was a hermit, but he probably meant to miss; I’ve gotten myself in various predicaments and managed to get out. I think it does contribute to Cajeiri’s attitude—the lad sees possibilities far more keenly than he sees hazards, though he is learning… 😉

    • chondrite

      I get some of those family memories too. My mother told me about, when the old farmhouse where she grew up finally got indoor plumbing, marching down the hill to the old outhouse and taking a sledgehammer to it. The cast iron stove in the farmhouse that preceded that one, which is still rusting away in the ruins of the kitchen because it weighs better than half a ton and the old road is now impassable to anyone but a hiker or HumVee; Heaven only knows how they managed to wrestle it into position in the days before trucks and Tommy Gates. I grew up on the outskirts of what is now a National Recreation Area, and would think nothing of going off for an entire afternoon with a sandwich and a walking stick, down into the swamp. I think I must have been one of the lucky ones who has a high tolerance for the active oil in poison ivy, because I never got it, despite the clumps and tufts of the evil stuff all over.

  • Dragonrider Gal

    *sigh* How nice to have such a idyllic childhood. I too was raised on a farm till I was 6. But idyllic it was not… 🙁 Because of my two uncles had drown there, in the pond one winter long before, I was allowed to wander as I wanted, but never beyond calling distance. If I did, my grandmother would freak out and get very angry, which meant she closed herself off and wouldn’t talk to me for days, sometimes. As you can tell, my ancestors are all pretty screwed up. I come by it honestly! *lol*

    My sweetie though, was raised in Montana, where it is all pretty wild still. His parents were much kinder (shows how much work I’ve done to resolve that childhood stuff if I can be with someone who is so emotionally healthy! :)), and he was allowed to wander, ride his bike and so on with very little if any supervision. He tells of his first-grade year where he would be walking, by himself, to school and get distracted by something in the woods, and never make it to school. Finally his mom had his cousin start coming by and walking with him to keep him on track for attending school that day. 🙂 He’s such a sweetie, and I do feel quite lucky to be with him! He’s a good influence on me!

  • CJ

    I love your attitude—and I’d say you’ve got a prize, a guy whose happiness communicates. Hang on to him. 😉

  • NosenDove

    No such stories from me – I was raised in urban settings.

    Concerning the paper, scan it onto your computer and discard the paper. Scanned records have been accepted by various courts as valid.

    And my tax refund is coming on March 27th.

  • GreenWyvern

    Van Deventer is a fairly common name here in South Africa. So it seems that some emigrants from Deventer went to America and some to South Africa.

    According to Wikipedia, Deventer was a great trading town. It was looted by Vikings in 882, and gained formal recognition as a city in 956.

    The word venter = vendor. It seems that Deventer was a place where you could buy things.

  • CJ

    Interesting! Our batch was married into the Schenks and the Hoogebooms—colonists that came over to the Dutch colony in New York and New Jersey. But after the British/Dutch War, the treaty gave the Dutch colony in the Americas to the British, and the Dutch retained the East India trade, I think, which they valued more. The Dutch occupants (if my family had the property in mid Manhattan that they once occupied, I suspect I’d be a millionaire several times over!)—began spreading out at that point, some, including my relatives, deciding that they didn’t want to live there after the British came in—and moving on to the peripheries of British rule, the places further south and west, ie, the Carolinas and Tennessee, Pennsylvania and so on. Our bunch was not part of the religiously-based Dutch communities that were scattered through Pennsylvania—the OTHER side of the family, the British side, was briefly associated with the Quakers (Society of Friends) who were also in Pennsylvania—until the Society told the eldest of the brothers they disapproved of his new wife (he was a widower). At that point the whole extended clan got mad and left for the Carolinas, breaking all relations with the Society, and carving a new settlement out of what was outright wilderness. They didn’t meet the Dutch branch then: it went through the Revolution and the War of 1812 and the Civil War before they all moved far enough west to meet up in, apparently, Nebraska—where Jane’s British-origin relatives also were, after moving out of New York, though WE didn’t meet until the 1980’s. Amazing how many times our relatives crossed paths trying to stay out of the various wars and civil fusses as possible. At times, as large as the United States is, they were within miles of each other…

    • GreenWyvern

      Interesting about the Dutch colonists moving out after the British took over New York, because they didn’t want to live under British rule.

      Exactly the same thing happened in South Africa. Cape Town (where I live) was originally a Dutch colony, established in 1652. During the Napoleonic Wars the Netherlands ceded it to Britain. A few years later, a large number of Dutch colonists packed their possessions on wagons and headed off into the interior, where they founded their own states, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic. ‘Orange’ refers to the Dutch House of Orange, as do some of the several Orange Counties in the USA.

  • I pay an accountant to do my taxes – capital gains is involved – and I’m happy to be getting a refund. (I got to do the PDF bit with some of the forms that needed signing and returning, all done via e-mail.)

  • pence

    Any Van Nostrands in the New Amsterdam connection?

  • CJ

    Nope. Van Doorns, Hoogebooms, Couwenhovens, Wyckoffs, Monforts, Shubber, Van Odyck, Wallings, Hendricks—oldest found is Pieter Van Deventer, born in Deventer, Overijssel, mid 1500’s. That batch married into the Hermans lot, from Twello, Gelderland, Netherlands. The one that sailed for the New World was another Pieter, Pieter Jans Van Deventer, born in Bunnik, Utrecht, Netherlands, died or buried in Monmouth Beach NJ, married to Mayke Christianse Van Doorn, who was born in Kings, New York, and died and was buried in Loudon, Virginia. One isn’t sure what the story may be, whether Pieter Ians lived in Virginia, and returned to his father’s place in New Utrecht NY after Mayke died, or why he ended up in Monmouth Beach. You could imagine a whole novel’s worth of plots in those few lines. Apparently he came over with his father, Jan Pieterse Van Deventer, from Deventer, and his mother Maria Hoogeboom, who was from Utrecht, Netherlands, and who died in New Utrecht, NY. There’s a story there somewhere. You can see how a writer can get swept up in this kind of ancestor-chase. There are stories in there, tons of stories.

  • Hanneke

    Funny, the little ‘ping’ of connection I get from seeing my own home village (Bunnik) in that list – there’s only a couple of centuries in between.

  • pence

    There have been a few occasions when I have smugly mentioned that my ancestors immigrated here *before* the Mayflower!

Leave a Reply