Thursday, May 23, 2013

MyYard and Bit of History

My yard is not fancy, to some it needs some work, but we like it;). The history is at the end of the page, just a foot note.

Bubbles 10+ years old. She likes to pull up and eat my Rose bushes.
Swarly, who is just visiting, lol he's my son's dog but stays at my house. He's a year and a half old.
Locki, our rescue buddy. He is the sweetest dog! He and Swarly are about the same age.

Bertha, my Mothers Day gift. She's 7 weeks old.
The Robins nest in my large knock out rose bush. There are 3 bright blue eggs.
The rose bush. It needs trimming but I left it because of the nest.
Back yard rock garden. The day lilies will bloom when the Irises are done. I planted a rose bush back there. Bubbles pulled it up daily for a week. I thought it was dead so I planted another one next to it and "trapped" it too keep Bubbles out. Well it looks like they might both survive. If so next year I will spread them out and trap it again.
Rose traps to keep bubbles out. This winter she killed 8 bushes. I replaced them all, she killed 2 of those. I replaced those 2 and planted 4 more. I've had more time off this spring so I am technically winning the battle. When I first got her 10+ years ago, she was 5 weeks old, I had 18 full and beautiful rose bushes. People would stop and stare. When she hit 1-2 years old, I started working 70-80 hours a week and she began she pull up my bushes.
Rose bush row.
One year my husband decided to put in this flower garden. I already had bushes planted, but bubbles had killed off the majority of them. So he covered what was left, he figured they would come back up, it was a surprise and I was at work. By the time I got home it was all done.
The next year, thinking they were dead I planted new. Two years later this bush started putting out different leaves and blooms.
This year, six years after the fact, I have another bush putting out different leaves. Lets see what those blooms do;).
The bush, see the different leaves.
You may have noticed I have a parking lot on either side of my home. I live across the street from a Catholic Church and they own all the land surrounding me. There is a school K-8 school one the church grounds as well.  My three younger children graduated 8th grade after starting at the other Catholic school (Mexican).

This story was told to me by an older gentleman who was a history buff and his favorite topic was the railroad. He lived in Topeka so he knew a lot regarding Topeka's railroad history. He had no affiliation with either church to my knowledge.

The are two Catholic Churches blocks from each other. One was founded by German immigrants, the other Mexican. Many years ago Santa Fe Railroad in Topeka had a large group of German immigrant workers. The workers decided to form a union.

The railroad decided to import workers from Mexico to thwart the German immigrants efforts. At the time there was revolution going on in Mexico. Which one I don't know, there were quite a few.

The railroad representatives went to Mexico. They offered jobs, housing and let workers bring their families. Around the rail yards the railway set up box cards and allowed the workers live in them - housing. My stepfather is 77. He was born in a box car and lived there long enough that he remembers it pretty well. The box car towns ended in his young childhood. Many houses in my neighborhood are built around boxcars.

My grand mother came as a young preteen, 11-12. She remembers crossing he river with suit cases filled with Mexican money. She said they left a fairly prosperous farm behind but had to leave for safety. She said they soldiers and rebels would come by and the men in the family had to be hidden in wood piles or they would be killed or forced into service. Both sides took what they wanted, the people lived in fear of being killed, raped or kidnapped.

When my grandmother's family arrived in America they found their money had no value. Luckily, my great grandfather's brother and settled in Kansas. So they walked from Mexico to Kansas. Wow! My grandmother lived to be in her 90's and died 14-15 years ago. She spoke almost no English.
She met my grandfather only days before she married him. He saw her working in the yard. He went to her father and a marriage was arranged. All seven of her sons were drafted and served in the military, six in combat. WW2 to Vietnam. All her son-in-laws served as well. As well a few grandsons in Vietnam.

My grandmother never learned to read English and could not pass the test to become a citizen. But, she did become a citizen prior to her death.  She received her citizenship after her last son returned from Vietnam. According to US she contributed to the health and welfare of our Nation by providing sons to the war effort. All my uncles and cousins survived their combat tours. One brought home a bride from England.

Back to the churches. The Mexicans were not wanted. The churches shunned them. The German church was the closest but they really didn't want them. To tell the truth I'm not sure if this was before or after the attempts to organize, but I believe it was a few years after. I don't know if any Mexicans were working for Santa Fe then. They usually worked as laborers. I know my grandfather worked for Santa Fe but he came to the US as a young teen.

The mexican church was founded in 1914. After the parishioners had asked for a priest from the diocese and were turned down. So, they kidnaped one passing through, you know it, on the railroad!
They kept him until the diocese said they could found their own church and a priest would be provided. My grandparents were part of the community involved in the kidnapping. When we would ask her about it she would laugh. She said they had a very small building built for the church but the diocese felt that two churches within blocks was not a good idea. Per my GM the kidnapped priest quickly became sympathetic to their plight and actually petitioned the archbishop on their behalf. I wish we would have video tapped her telling the story. Our parish is now a national parish meaning anyone can claim it as their home parish.

When my parents were growing up they had no idea of the history. Times were hard, they focused on living not history so many people forgot why the Germans hated the Mexicans so much. Everyone put it down to racism.

So when my younger son was ending 7th grade the decision was made to combine the two catholic schools, again only blocks from each other. It wasn't easy, there were tensions but my sons class was the first graduating class and they weathered it far better than the parents and grandparents. The kids had a lot of fun that year. They taught the grown ups a few lessons. He is now 20 years old.
I live across the street from the German parish. Many of the tensions have subsided but on occasion the ugliness still rears it head.

Which church do we go to? Well that's complicated. It has more to do with the fact that we bought a house the parish considered theirs, despite the fact they have never owned it or the lot it sits on. They would like us to sell, but sell and give are two different things, and the price I have heard is "giving". Me, I have no plans to move. My house is about paid off and the inside was completely remodeled in 1999 by my carpenter husband. Why move?  I can't touch a house in my neighborhood, similar to size and location for what they are offering.  And why would I want to get into a new house payment, when I am about done with this one?

We go to,  I hope you have enjoyed my story;).

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