Saturday, August 30, 2014

Homeward Bound

  executive summary by darmansjah

YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING. Travel Talk April 2013 cover story-Going Home-which featured five essays by writers who traveled to their motherlands, from Taiwan to Sicily-hit close to home for readers. “An unexpected Facebook message from a Swedish cousin in 2008 launched trips to visit family in Sweden, California, Italy, and Canada,” wrote Rian Stenberg of Boca Raton, Fla. “At every turn we felt at home, as if decades and centuries had not passed. The phrase Liz Beatty wrote, ‘shared genetic memory,’ almost brought me to tears. It exists in this transient world and is a powerful motivation to continue the journey.’ Barbara Murphy of Auburn, N.Y., shared her tale of genealogy luck: “In 2010 my husband and I traveled to England. Before we left, I sent a vague letter ‘to the attention of anyone’ at St. Nicholas Church in Potter Heigham, in eastern-most England, from where my great-grandmother emigrated in 1868. The man who received the letter turned it over to this wife, who had a keen interest in genealogy. She wrote back and we arranged to meet; she took us to the churchyard graves of my great-great-great-grandparents and other ancestors, and handed me an envelope with my family history in England dating back to 1605. We toured the tiny town where my family lived so many years ago. I had known my great-grandmother well, and seeing where she grew up was the highlight of our trip.”
Kelli Nakagama of Salt Lake city, Utah, bonded with her parents on a recent trip to explore ancestry in Japan: “My day is a third-generation Japanese American who looks the part but doesn’t speak any Japanese; my mom is a blond-heired American who looked and felt out of place, while I am a mix of the two-and the only one able to understand a bit of the language. Japan was foreign to all three of us, but we were able to bridge gaps for each other: my dad in describing food and customs from his childhood, my mom’s outsider’s perspective, and myhelp with communication. We understand each other better than before.”

In “Unearthing a Polish Past,” Nina Strochlic wrote about Krakow and seeking out the prewar lives of her grandparents, who she wrote had been forced into ghettos in the late 1930s. however the Krakow Ghetto was not established by the Nazis until 1941. “I’ve heard ‘late 1930s’ so often in our family lore that I never questioned it,” explains Strochlic. “I regret not doing so.” The essay also misdescribes Krakow’s Wawel Castle ,which is Polish Renaissance in style.

PARENT TRAP In a column about airplane etiquette, Christopher Elliott suggested that no annoyance “sets off the fireworks as much as Other People’s Kids.” Well, nothing stokes readers’ ire as much as suggesting that parents deserve a pass, with Elliott citing his daughter’s recent behavior as “unfixable.” Phyliss Meyers of Miami,Fla.. wrote: “Why did Elliott forget his own advice to think about others? I have never traveled with children without bag of tricks that kept them content.”

SWISS MISS “Swiss Tracks” lauded the ease of traveling Switzerland by train. Regrettably, our editing proved less efficient: A caption incorrectly located Bern’s Zentrum Paul Klee museum, and the article also misspelled the Italian town of Cervinia.

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