Thursday, August 6, 2009

Steve and Marcia in Michigan, Backward names

We’ve been spending the last week with a great friend who offered us space in her house while we are in Michigan. Marcia first met Sandi when her husband, Donnie, was in physical therapy following a stroke that he suffered on Christmas Day a couple of years ago. Last summer he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We visited them often in the last months before we moved to the Philippines. We were saddened when, in spite of an incredibly positive attitude, he passed away last November. Sandi’s strong faith in the Lord, her family and her friends have helped her cope with her loss. So we want to really thank her for opening up her house to us, in spite of our crazy schedule and hers. Sandi and Donnie are seen here with Sandi's son K.C.

Also, we want to thank the many people who have met us for lunches and dinners over the past week. It’s been great to get reacquainted and share stories. People from the Midwest are known to be very friendly. Either that or we’ve just been lucky to know the right ones. Several have mentioned a desire to come and visit us on Corregidor one day. We are very excited about that idea.

We were also fortunate to be in Michigan at the same time as Jeff Luby, who hails from Oregon. Steve met Jeff in 2002 on his first trip to the Philippines. Jeff’s uncle, Keith Martin, was a U.S. Marine who survived the Death March and Japanese prison camps. Also, Jeff’s wife Vonn had a Philippine connection, as her mother’s brother, Valleon Sylvester, died on the Hellship Arisan Maru. It was sunk by Americans who, because the Japanese did not mark it as a prison ship, mistook it for a war ship. Only eight of the approximately 1,800 prisoners survived.

If you are ever thinking of coming to visit us, there are two options. One is to contact Vicky at We lead a nine-day tour for her every April which includes two days on Corregidor, plus we get to see the route of the Bataan Death March and so much more. We are also leading a Valor Tours group this October, celebrating the 65th anniversary of General MacArthur’s return to the Philippines. It is not too late to join this tour. Currently there are 15 guests registered.

If you would rather come on your own to visit us on “The Rock,” the months of December, January, and February usually have the best weather – if you can stand to miss a week or two of winter. November isn’t bad but can still be wet, and March through May are mostly dry but more likely will have higher temperatures and humidity. Depending on your point of origin, Delta/Northwest may be a good option, or Philippine Air. Speaking from experience, watch for those with staffed airline counters in Manila just in case weather disrupts scheduled flights.

The weather in Michigan continues to feel cool to us, and we are definitely not accustomed to regular exposure to air conditioning, so we are still dressing like it is fall rather than early August. It has been interesting to note the difference in cloud types and formations compared to what we see above Corregidor, and to rediscover the longer daylight/shorter nighttime of the more northern regions during these summer months.

The Great Lakes Folk Festival is this weekend in East Lansing, Michigan. It runs from Friday night through Sunday afternoon and features folk music of many ethic traditions, as well as lots of arts and crafts. The festival is free and is always very well attended. Steve had been the “presenter” for polka music in the dance tent for many years and will once again announce the Polka band. This year the band is led by Alex Meixner, who not only plays accordion but also the trumpet and many other musical instruments, and is a virtuoso on them all. This promises to be one of the best times ever. Alex performs at 8:00 Friday night and at noon and 5:15 on Saturday. If you can, stop by and see us.

We are still in mid-Michigan another week and are still waiting to hear from some of you. If you have a little time to get together or even just want to say hello on the phone, call us at 517-250-2075.

Steve and Marcia (not currently) on the Rock

A little humor from Steve:

When we were in Minneapolis we visited a cemetery that holds the remains of some of Marcia’s ancestors. While we were looking for one grave I came across a headstone with the name, “Lincoln Abraham.” It got me thinking, what kind of a name is that? What kind of pathetic parents would stick that kind of a name on a poor kid? Were his classmates constantly bugging him about “slaving the frees”?

Later, I started thinking further: was this the only one or are there others? So I looked up the name on the internet and found 13 other Lincoln Abrahams in the United States. How about the other U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore? Yup, there were Washington Georges, who maybe cannot tell the truth, but cherry trees are safe from them. And yes, there are several Jefferson Thomases and Roosevelt Theodores.

Now no one with the last name of Albert would ever name their son Einstein, right? Wrong. There are dozens of them. They’re probably in a race to see who can be the first to discover the Relativity of Theory.

I believe that all the Grant Carys, Gable Clarks, and Cooper Garys out there might be terrible actors. I suppose all Aaron Hanks, Cobb Tys, and Ruth Babes stink on the baseball diamond. I found seven Martin Billys scattered throughout the US, a Knight Bobby in Illinois, and a Lombardi Vince in Rhode Island. I bet that they are all nice guys but would make terrible coaches.

I offer some friendly and free advice. If you name your son Custer George, don’t worry about his last stand, because he won’t survive the first one. If you name your son Armstrong Neil, don’t be surprised when he is arrested for mooning on the walk. And if you were to name your son MacArthur Douglas, don’t be surprised when he goes away and never returns.

I’m sure that I’ve just scratched the surface of “creative names,” and if any of you have equally strange minds, send me your own discoveries and I’ll be happy to give them a gander. Either send me your comments or post them here.

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1 comment:

  1. The name reversal article was funny.

    It reminded me of another great moment in Literary History, in which you may recall Capt. Yossarian, who disliked censoring the mail of
    enlisted men, would turn the task into a game – one day, it would be death to all modifiers! Every adjective and adverb would be eliminated. Then a war on articles. Sometimes he would censor every word except a, an and the. He would sign the name Washington Irving. Then, when he got bored, he signed it Irving Washington.