Archive for HERITAGE

Family Icon

Perhaps the most iconic image in the family. Made the background of many photos taken in the house. An oil painting of Fredrick J. Gill, Westfield police department.
I have no idea who painted it, nor of the date it was created and the people that know this aren’t around anymore.

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Margaret Hartmann Memories

Margret Hartmann Robarge. Circled. With her father, mother and 10 siblings. Our grandfather George is standing, second from the right next to his mother Clara.

(click here) Margaret Hartmann Memories

This is Margaret Hartmann Robage (circled in photo) memories of her childhood. Dictated to her daughter Leatrice in August and September 1966.

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A start for Gill Tree

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Click here to enlarge.
This is an extremely rough version, at least a small beginning of a Gill tree. I want to thank Cheryl, a friend of mine for digging in unexpectedly and doing this.
Yeah there are missing last names and somebody named Caroline that was probably who our aunt Carol was named after?
Hartman-Gill Family Tree
Above is the workable link that I am going to transfer soon. You may need a {free) account to view. The starting point is me because she knows me. Again, this is a very rough draft and I’m putting it here in the blog with a lot of searchable tag words to hopefully attract some curious Gill tree seekers. (like the one who disappeared.) We need help on this and ……. time.
Also: I have added her emails to me in the comments.

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Cloud Forest

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The one reason why I thought it was NOT a dream was because I distinctly remember being so excited at this situation that I just had to put my arm around my father. While the photo was being taken, I swirled my head in total ecstasy as to who I was with. I remember turning my head. That wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t deja vu either. It happened.

I’ve kept a watchful eye on my sugar intake. There are some very serious diabetes in our family, I want you all to know.you should really check your glucose level when you can. One of the major culprits in our sister Beverly’s death was diabetes. Our great grandfather had his left leg amputated due to diabetes. Our grandfather also had his left leg amputated and he passed away from diabetes and gangrene triggered by peripheral neuropathy.

Since we all reluctantly visit death in our imagination, we sometimes wonder how we will go. In the movie Big Fish, several children visit a haunted house where a witch with a glass eye lives. and she offers a view into her eye so that you can see how you will die. If you were offered a glance into that glass eye would you be brave enough to look?

It was on the bottom of a box. The box was underneath a pile of other boxes. Like twenty boxes. They were all filled with stuff from Whitman street. Most of it was old toys from Christmas’ long ago. A lot of papers and old letters. What I was looking and hoping for were photos. I don’t even know how I got here. It’s feeling like a dream. Maybe it is and I’ll wake up. Because Whitman street seems dead. I shouldn’t be here. I don’t even live anywhere close to this god-forsaken town. Up these crazy stairs. Doesn’t look like our old house. I don’t get it. Here is the room filled with boxes. The first bedroom on the right. By the upstairs bathroom.

Do you remember this Whitman bathroom? Once our dad spent all day assembling beautiful glass sliding doors on the bathtub so that we could take showers in a sort of luxurious way. He was pretty handy with a drill and hammer. I remember we hounded him all day as he worked on these sliding doors. Mom was excited because they were really nice looking. So when he is finally done, we all take a step back and look at this magnificent work of art. It has probably doubled the worth of our home, I’m thinking. We were the first family on our block with color TV and now we own the richest looking bathroom in Carteret. So we check it out, open and close the glass doors slowly. Yeah, everything works fine. Beautiful. Then someone, I don’t remember who, (probably Glenn did it) slammed the brand new door shut and the room exploded with a million pieces of glass.
What I remember most about that tragedy was my father who typically has a very short fuse, just shook his head, mumbled “It just wasn’t meant to be” and began cleaning the mess. Nobody got yelled at. Nobody got punished. The glass was removed but the frames that he spent hours putting into the wall remained. They were there for years. And for many years after he died. I always looked at them and felt them whenever I took a bath or shower. Touched the screws inside the track holding them to the wall and I thought of my father and his patience. His eerie silence cleaning up afterwards.

Einstein showed that mass and energy are the same thing. Based on this theory, time travel seems possible. If not now, then in the future. Parallel universes, or alternative universes or mirror universes have had a long run of popularity in science fiction and science fantasy, in both print and visual formats. One need only look at an “Alice in Wonderland” or look no further than the “Star Trek” universe (our Universe in less than obvious disguise) to view the near endless plot variations that such parallel / alternative / mirror universes provide our heroes and heroines. While there are some serious reasons to suspect that parallel universes do exist. Time travel is the name of the game!

stairsSo, in this dream, (which I thought was a dream) I went up the Whitman street stairs, opened a door to the first bedroom and found a bunch of boxes and began digging into them. In one window I could hear birds chirping and the sun was blasting through. When I opened the curtains and looked down it was the side of our house. When I looked up at the Summer sky, it was a cloud forest. There were a few of us playing whiffel ball and Toker was aimlessly walking around. I could hear Schnauzer barking in the backyard. Schnauzer was never allowed to wander around aimlessly. The window on the other side of the room was gray and I could hear the wind whistling through the cracks. I pushed the curtain aside and it was a blizzard outside. I could see Gitters house across the street and it was buried. Mr. Gitter was desperately shoveling the walk leading up to the door and Peanuts was barking like crazy behind him. So here I am in a room from the past split into two different seasons.
Downstairs I heard our whole family screaming. People were yelling Glenn’s name and I went to the door and opened it. At that exact moment Danny Braza was racing down the stairs to save Glenn’s life. A chicken bone stuck in his throat. This was the first use of our brother Glenn’s 16 lives.
I shut the door and realized I was way back in time. It seemed like I knew what I was looking for. Went back to the boxes and there on the bottom of a box filled with receipts and papers from Westfield Sewing Center was this photo. |Click HERE for a better view|
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In regards to a very interesting comment delivered to this blog

Located in Comments on the post; Pawn to King Four

“I HAVE INFO RE: OUR UNCLE WHO WAS LOST ON A SUB AND FRANK GILL WHO WAS KILLED IN THE PHILLIPINES WW11 says:
November 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm (Edit)

MY FATHER, ARTHUR ,WAS FRED GILL’S AND CAROL GILL’S BROTHER”

This was posted Tuesday Nov. 11. Oddly the information which is very Veteran associated was posted the day before Veterans day.
To the best of our knowledge we did not know. Brother, Fred Gill, Carol and Joan Gill had another brother?.

We are asking and hoping that the gentleman, our cousin, can come back and email me.
Assuming he found this blog by the strategic tags I have placed with every post. (this is how we found Jerry Jones and family.

So come back cousin please! We would love to hear from you!
My email is:
neondusk@hotmail.com

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Uncle Billy and Dennis

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Uncle Billy is our fathers brother. Holy crap… we have an uncle hanging around?! Dennis is our cousin. Son of Geraldine Hartman Jones. Billy is struggling with his health in a rehab somewhere in Los Angeles. Dennis went to visit him. I wrote about Uncle Billy four years ago HERE. with some crazy strange blog title: “Put your arms around me for Gods sake” and at the time I was angry at my fathers brother because he just nonchalantly walked right out of our lives and never ever once looked back.
So ironically 40 years ago I rode on the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland in California with Billy and just recently last night got off the phone with him for the first time since.

Right after Gerry found this blog and the Hartman’s and Jones reconnected and right before her untimely death before I was going to visit her in Las Vegas, I spoke to her on the phone. I remember she told me how upset she was at that blog post “Put your arms around me for Gods sake” and she really defended her brother and also told me that my cursing and some the sexual things I had wrote on this ridiculous blog were totally uncalled for.

Talking with Uncle Billy I heard my father’s voice. I heard my Grandfather’s toughness but most of all I heard Uncle Billy. He is his own man that made his own choices and created his own life and really didn’t need to stay “connected” to Joan and her ten kids. He had that right. He owed us nothing and we certainly owed him nothing. I just thought it strange that not once did he just think to check in on his 10 nieces and nephews that tragically lost their father at such an early age? But that’s ok, even though we were little kids, we didn’t go out of our way to check in on him. Damn, I still sound bitter here, don’t I? Too bad.

It was only by pure luck and internet hocus pocus that Aunt Gerry searched her own name and found this blog because I hoped she would. My reverse finding tagging trick worked. Through Gerry I have rediscovered our long lost cousins, Robert, Diane and Dennis. All of us have lived our lives and roller coasted the ups and downs that it can bring. Billy in particular had a life threatening disease, polio, attack him at the age of five. This is one rough way to start your life. Dennis is quite a story himself and an outright damn miracle of recovery. I even posted a movie made about him on this blog HERE

It’s a small world after all INDEED when your fathers brother is still around even after 44 years four months and three days after his untimely death.

My cousin Dennis and me in the jaws of Disneyland 1975

My cousin Dennis and me in the jaws of Disneyland 1975

In the Summer of 1975 I was an awkward teen boy going through puberty from hell when our uncle Jay Jones died. I remember Dennis calling me up and crying about it to me. That Summer his mother Gerry, insisted that I come out there to be with them. Her greatest concern was that as she worked she would be leaving young Dennis alone. I really didn’t want to go. I was scared of everything at that age. I’m still scared of everything at my current age of 55.

The agreement was Gerry was going to pay for my plane fare to California there and mom was going to pay for it on the way back. The other agreement at my insistence was that I was only going to stay a couple of weeks. Well I ended up staying the entire Summer and almost ended up living there forever. Turns out when it was moms turn to pay for the fare back, she didn’t have the money. And thus began the non-relationship of mom and Gerry. You see, money destroys relationships quicker than a hurricane hitting a double-wide.

The day I left mom had to give me a ride to the airport and as the time grew closer and closer for the plane to leave, mom sat at the kitchen table getting drunker and drunker on white cans of Budweiser beer. I was sure I was going to miss the plane or that we would get into a horrific crash on the NJ Turnpike half way to Newark airport. Finally I just yelled “MOM we have TO LEAVE!” which was strange for a boy that didn’t want to go.

Needless to say I made the plane. Everything was pure magic after that. Pure absolute magic that I will NEVER forget. It was the first time I rode on a plane and it was crystal blue skys and puffy white clouds out my window seat. The stewardess treated me like a king because I was a 15 year old boy alone. I couldn’t believe how BIG and how BEAUTIFUL our country was from up there. When I arrived in LA and got off the plane there were hipsters and hippies and PALM TREES, California is not of this planet. It is it’s own beautiful world of color, neon lights, texture and gorgeous sunsets. Aunt Gerry was always a woman that loved to go out and do things! And that we did. She took me to Disneyland, we went to see Jaws in a huge theater in LA which just blew me away as a movie (now the special effects are laughable!) I was very fortunate to have Gerry take me that Summer. I left all my brothers and sisters in the groggy hot depths of Carteret as we went to Reno Nevada and played Kino for hours.

It was here I did see Uncle Billy for the last time. He was always so distant but that’s just him. Our uncle is struggling to walk now and he is full of memories. My phone call with him wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I was looking for the past again. I wanted to hear intricate stories of him and our dad running down back alleys of Westfield and getting into trouble. I wanted to hear Grandpa Hartman yell at them for not eating their peas. I wanted to see Grandma Hartman shopping at the A&P and squeezing oranges. I wanted to see them all riding to upstate NY in that station wagon they had.

Instead we talked about polio and prostates and how he was a salesman for AllState Insurance company his whole life. But that was ok. It was great to speak to him. And in this “small world afterall” he ended our conversation with … please call again.

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August 3 2000

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Today Beverly passed away 15 years ago and we approach the one year anniversary of Glenns passing August 17 (yeah, I know, already!). Bev would have been 58 this September which means she was a very young 43 when she died. Somewhere on this blog I write about the day Bev died and how I’ll never forget it. She used to raise and sell persian kittens and the funny thing is one of her cats is still alive and lives with George Poulo in Plainfield NJ.
Personally I have so many memories with each Glenn and Beverly but I did have a special relationship with Bev. It was just one of those things. We go way back. She understood me deeply. As she sailed further and further away from us in her sickness, I never tried to find her. I wasn’t strong enough.
It is these kinds of anniversary that tell you fast the clock ticks and how fragile our time here is. I really miss them.

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Forever loved by all

The day we said goodbye to Glenn started as a sunny day like the day before, but slowly turned into a complete washout. The family was drained from Glenns impoverishment and his goodbye was limited to a small memorial service and a rent-a-priest in the funeral home. I don’t believe his cremation even took place so there was an empty urn at the front of the room. Does any of this really matter when you pass away? Glenn had not been “the same” in many years, yet we were there to say goodbye to the spirit of Glenn that we loved and remembered. So on this rainy day two sisters cleaned out Glenns small space where he lived. Fifty one years of living had come down to a few bags of “stuff” Mostly his state supplied medication, some hand made notes and phone numbers, his cloths and razor blades. That’s it. Fifty one years and it took an hour to put away his physical presence on this planet. Like I said in an earlier post Glenn wrote many letters. He was a very talented self-taught artist. During the clean up of his meager worldly possessions, sister Bonnie found a letter from him to her. The last letter/poem that brother Glenn wrote can be viewed below.

Click here

Click here

Glenn left behind more important things, some great memories, two beautiful children, a granddaughter and another on the way. The journey to Brendas grave was started as just an idea as something to do before the service. Traveling to Ohio was a good enough reason to take advantage of going to her grave. Brenda had passed away six years earlier and her body was in an unmarked grave in Middletown Ohio. What we thought would be a forty minuet drive turned into a much longer long twisting journey in the pouring rain hills and back roads of southern Ohio. I had missed Brendas funeral so it became special for me that I get there. Thank you Bonnie and Paul for making that possible. Also the girls persistence that a marker be put on Brendas grave after six lonely years is a blessing.
So after all that driving by Paul we only stood there in the poring rain for a few minutes but there it was. A beautiful and humble stone in honor of our wonderful sister Brenda. It was so powerful for me to see it. I am grateful to all the sisters that pushed it and for the entire family for making this happen. The angel on her stone is even a reference to her favorite song by Sarah Mclachlan’s “Angel” and the sunflower is her favorite flower.
Located in Woodside Cemetery, Middletown Ohio.

Located in Woodside Cemetery, Middletown Ohio.

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Gill-go-round

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In this months PTMYT (April 2014) another old mysterious Gill photo taken on Austin street in Westfield NJ. (probably). This photo had the same kind of look and feel of another old Gill photo mentioned in a previous BLOG POST.

This was taken much earlier than the above photo based on the height of Joan alone.

This was taken much earlier than the above photo based on the height of Joan alone.

Definitely not from the same day at all. Maybe some of the same people but several years earlier. Our grandmother May Gill was born in 1915 to John Coleman Rosecrans and Maude L. Rosecrans. May died at a very young age of only 44. She died suddenly and shockingly of a heart attack at home. There have been rumors flung about about her death being suspicious based on several “things told to me”.
1. The fiery relationship she had with her husband Fredrick, a Westfield NJ cop.
2. The decision by husband to have NO autopsy and a quick burial.
3. A suddenly new relationship by husband with a new woman only a few weeks after funeral.
So yeah, ha ha, secret family scandal. May Gill was poisoned by her cop husband. None of this has ever been proven. Nor will it ever be. I’m not exhuming the grave of the grandmother I never saw and I certainly don’t want to see what she looks like now. Rest in peace everyone involved.

One thing I really ponder on now, was that May had THREE brothers and SIX sisters! So that big family thing isn’t just a Hartman trend? So there were NINE aunts and uncles that we also never really met or saw. I might have been too young to remember even if I did meet them. Her three children, Joan, Fred and Carol told me Grandma Gill was a nice woman. That’s all I remember. Another story was that when she pooped, her kids would all go in the bathroom with her and she would tell stories. She was known as a very kind woman in her job at Westfield High School where she was a cook for nine years. Her death at 44 was so early that she only had two grandchildren when she passed away, Barb and Beverly. She would have been surprised if she hung around.

Mrs. Fredrick Gill Obituary. CLICK to READ

Mrs. Fredrick Gill Obituary.
CLICK to READ

So my curiosity remains at who is who in the top photo. At this point I’m going out on a limb to assume that most or all of them are her siblings.
Starting from left, John Rosecrans Jr, May Gill, sister, another brother (maybe Fredrick Rosecrans with wife OR another sister. Fred Gill Sr is next and he is holding a little baby Caroline our aunt. At the end the only thing I can say here is “Get a freaking room.”
Of course in the first row is Joan Gill (our mother) and Fred Gill Jr our uncle. He is wearing an official cap of some sort. This stirred up even more curiosity in me. I do know that we have a great uncle that was lost in a submarine during WWII. I am assuming this photo was taken around 1940-2. So there was a war going on when this was taken. That man in the middle appears to be wearing dress military uniform. So I am assuming that the cap our uncle Fred is playing with is actually from that guy in the center of the photo. I did a google image search on Navy caps used during World War 2. Not surprisingly something very similar came up. It might be an officers cap from Navy.
So is this the guy that was never found on a sunken submarine in WWII??? Sure enough I found a web site that listed every submarine and their crew member LOST during WWII. I actually clicked on every submarine and checked for the sir name Gill. I did find one- on January 24, 1942 the submarine USS S-26 went down BUT three men survived. The mans name TMC Joseph Mathew Gill was goggled and as it turns out he is from Alabama and not New Jersey.

The only other things I think of is that great uncle from the Navy was actually a Rosecrans and not a Gill. This is not the way I remember it being told to me. This WWII hero was definitely named GILL. OR maybe that is a fireman or policemen uniform. It is a fact that Mays father was indeed the Cheif of the Westfield NJ police force which is exactly how our grandfather Fredrick Gill got the job.

Yet another Rosecrans search, I found in the Westfield Leader newspaper (bottom left middle article) that Mays brother, Windsor was promoted to a Lieut. in the National Guard. But this was July 1927. (yet still possible, that might be a captains cap after 13+ years!)

So this is how it goes with web research on the amazing and still growing world wide web. I was just trying to find out some names. People that have long passed on. People that were “somehow” related to our mothers and fathers. This spark of a connection in life that electrifies our existence. Like I said, if I had this interest even before Carol or Joan died, I would have had all the answers and names and probably a few cool stories too.

May sandwiched by brother and sister. Big family love.

May sandwiched by brother and sister. Big family love.


Dad and baby daughter. Caroline.

Dad and baby daughter. Caroline.


Sister and brother. Joan and Fred.

Sister and brother. Joan and Fred.


lovers

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Hartmann – Online Family Tree‏

Two years ago I found our very distant cousin Caleb from Canada. Caleb has spent a lot of hard work and time constructing this on-line family tree. I am very grateful for our cousin for this tree goes back centuries in time. On first click the Family Tree seems trivial but CLICK AROUND – you will be amazed at your absolutely incredible heritage! There is a row of links across the top. They say Index | Descendancy | Register | Pedigree etc. I would suggest clicking on these.

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-HARTMANN ONLINE FAMILY TREE- Click here to discover!

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Some notes from Caleb: “Any mistakes in the gedcom online can be fixed and updated later. I do not post info on living people on there to protect peoples identity.
My mom was Leatrice Robarge, she was the daughter of Frank Robarge and Margaret Hartman, they are on the online gedcom too. Tillies line is the one the Vanduzers are from. The Vanduzer’s and my mom put the Hartmann Book together with info they had on the family and stories from my grandmother Margaret, back in the 1980’s. I was given my copy as a child. I have held onto it ever since. It covers a lot of Margarets siblings and what life was like back then in New Jersey and New York. In the book it describes Poppa (Charles Richard Hartmann or Dick) passing away, and Momma (Clara). It describes the other hartmans too and the siblings of Poppa helping with the printing and music business.”

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