Monday, March 28, 2011

Working out the details

Yesterday I had to spill the beans about our plans for homeschooling to my son. He's seen me reading how-to books, organizing cabinets with school books and supplies and going to "meetings". He's too smart to let it pass so yesterday he finally asked me why all of this was happening. I told him as little as possible (he has a need to know everything, so it wasn't easy). I want him to know what we are thinking about but I'm still keeping all of the details to myself. I made him a promise that on the last day of school I would give him the full run down, only two more months.

At first he looked at me like I had two heads and then he asked the question I knew would be first "You mean I'm going to have to leave all my friends?". That's not an easy one, how do you tell your child you're taking him away from his security? After I explained the good points to him I could see a little spark in his eye. He had a few minutes to think about it and then he was on board! There are so many advantages to this way of learning and the more I hear the more I can understand why it works.

When I went to school my parents didn't have to think about where I went to school or the quality of that school. There were no SOLs and "No Child Left Behind" wasn't even a thought yet. Don't get me started on those two ideas... My best friend's fathers were a lawyer and a doctor. They could have gone to private school if they wanted to but we had a good school so it wasn't even questioned. The hardest obstacle we have had to overcome with our children is schooling. We knew before we had kids that we would never send them to our neighborhood public school and when we found the private school they attend I had been warned by many to beware. I figured that we could just supplement what they weren't getting at home. What I didn't know is that paying for your child's education doesn't mean you will be heard at the school when there is a problem; and I certainly didn't figure that our concerns would be ignored.

I still have a lot to figure out and some days I panic because I'll be in charge of my child's education but once we hit our stride I think we'll find it suits our family. This might be the answer we have been searching for all along.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011


“Habent sua fata libelli” (books have their fate) ~ Latin Saying
“Houses do too, don't they?” ~ Karin Eckelmeyer

Do you believe in Fate? I do, in fact I think it's one of the basics of existence. I believe we each run in a series of circles (for lack of a better phrase) that keep us coming in contact with the same people over and over again throughout our lifetime and throughout the lifetimes of our ancestors.

How else do I explain that months before I landed my new job, a man walked into the Red Cross with a colleague and spoke to a woman about CPR training. That woman was my Aunt who asked if there were any job openings at their company (she was always looking for me). After I had submitted my resume, interviewed and gotten the job I realized that one of those gentlemen was now my new boyfriend (who would eventually become my husband). None of that would have happened if Matt they hadn’t walked into the Red Cross on that day.

On the first week of my next job, Matt came to take me to lunch. He took one look at my new surroundings and said “I’ve been here before”. He had come to the air cargo terminal to pick up a package and had walked into the wrong office. He had been re-directed by my new co-worker, we are still friends to this day. I also went to High School with this new co-worker’s friend from back home. This wouldn’t be too much of a stretch except for the fact that they are both Icelanders. What are the odds that I would have a foreign exchange student in my Virginia High School that was a friend of someone I met 15 years later?

When Marty was in preschool I met a mother who had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina and was now living in her family home in Portsmouth while the repairs could be made to their New Orleans home. We became fast friends and after a lot of “old house” talk realized that her Bilisoly ancestors had built my house. You could chalk this up to the fact that Portsmouth is a small town and of course we know the same people. But, I would have never met Anne if a Hurricane hadn’t destroyed their city and forced them to move – they were only here full time one year.

The internet and all its social trappings have made the world a much smaller place and you become “friends” on a much more global level now. By in large I still think our lives touch many and we may never know we have affected them.

Why did I start this post? When Matt first bought this house in 1995 I did a lot of research on its previous owners. The internet was relatively new and there wasn’t as much information as there is today. I had the facts but I wanted details. I knew the names but I wanted family history. In 2008 I was cleaning out a closet under the 3rd floor stairs and found a little name scratched on the inside of the door. I also found a little half wall which had been built to keep things from going all the way to the back under the bottom stairs. I got a flashlight and a mirror and after much squeezing and stretching I pulled out a mailing tube from 1913. It was addressed to Hermann Aspegren who was the father of the little girl who had left her mark upon my house. All of the sudden I had what I was looking for… history. My discovery led me around the world; first the internet directed me to a passenger list of the Aspegren family through Ellis Island; then to a Swedish genealogy site (which was translated by my air cargo friend’s Icelandic father) and finally it landed me in California. I had found my link, Karin Eckelmeyer. Thank goodness they have such a great name, can you imagine me searching for Karen Smith? I’m sure Mrs. Eckelmeyer thought that was a very odd message I left for her that day; “Hello my name is Kathy Eykamp and I think I live in your Mother’s childhood home”. She called me back and I was elated! Finally I had received what I was looking for all along, my family.

Mrs. Eckelmeyer and her brother have been a wealth of family history for me. She sent me pictures of the Aspegren family around the house. I love that I have a picture of her Grandparents and their children on the same porch that we have enjoyed for so many years. I can hear the 5 Aspegren girls playing just as I hear my own children. I can imagine what their lives were like 100 years ago as they forged a new life in America.

I received an email on Monday from Mrs. Eckelmeyer that her Mother, Karin had passed away in June a week after her 100th birthday. You can read her obituary here:

Did fate have a plan for me that day in 2008 when I was cleaning? I would like to think so. I would also like to think that in 1995 when Matt asked me to go look at a house he wanted to buy, fate was lurking in the shadows just waiting for me.

Houses do have their fate and we were lucky enough to be chosen by this one.

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