Hello Lynn, Thanks for a job well done.
Friday June 4, Virginia and I left about noon for Sam's in Arkansas. We arrived about 10:15 that night.
On Saturday- Sam took us to breakfast at the Back Porch and on a tour of his area. Then we headed out for
Nixa via the Shell Knob route as Virginia went there a long time ago with her friends, the Orr's. In Nixa, we got the grand
tour of Roger's home. He has many, many antiques and collectibles to enjoy. He fixed us all Kitchen Sink salads, tea, and
homemade key lime pie. Which he finished off the English way with a little cheese and a cracker. Afterwards we all went to
see my niece, Geri, her husband, Jack and daughter, Jana in Springfield and we girls visited about 4 hours. Jack took Sam
and Roger on a tour of homes in their area which they enjoyed so much. We got back to Sam's about 10:30 PM.
Sunday- Jean stopped by to see Virginia. Virginia left before noon for Murfreesboro and didn't get home until
about midnight because at Rogersville, MO. while she was putting gas in her car it spewed up in her face and drenched her
hair, eyes and clothes so she had to get completely clean of that gas before she could drive on. Which took at least an hour
of her time. She was okay a couple days later but it was a good thing she wasn't a smoker because she may have had some gas
left on her that she would have ignited on the way home.
We stayed home that day and cleaned all Sam's slow drains with baking soda and vinegar then went to Jean's
for supper and TV.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Sam worked at getting the car ready for the trip getting 2 new tires, etc.
We took supper to Jean's one night and she fixed supper one night.
Thursday morning we stopped at Roger's and left the washing machine part there for him to try to get for Sam
while we were gone and had breakfast at McDonald's with him then onto the 65 to Iowa. We left Arkansas at 6 AM and got to
Decorah, Iowa at 9:30 PM after stopping at a lot of antique and thrift stores on the way. Edith's were already there. We had
room 203 and they had room 221 down the hall.
Friday we all got in Edith and John's van and started looking the area over. We shopped in Decorah then went
back to the motel and met Mayme and Lester and we all went to the Dairy Queen for lunch then onto Spillville. It didn't take
long to look over the town and shop at Bily Clocks shop. At the Innwood Ballroom in the park we were the first to sign in.
The meal count was 140 so that is a close estimate of all the relatives there. So it is safe to say we met 133 relatives we
didn't know we had. Lynn Kimball, who arranged all this, said 100 had preregistered. After looking at pictures and a good
fish fry meal at which a guy played music for us on his concertina, Craig Swehla and his family entertained us. The Swehla
Family Singers are Craig, his wife, Julie, and their 11 children.
Saturday- We went to Spillville and took classes in egg painting, making kolaches and zelnicky. The Dan Swehla
family did the cooking classes. Then we rode the bus to take the tour of the area where they pointed out the old Swehla farm
area (which most is now a golf course), where the old farm was, the town and the St. Wenceslaus church. Which the family helped
build. For us it was doubly interesting as on our great grandmothers side of the family her sister, Mary, and husband were
the second ones married in this church. That night pictures were taken and we had a Czech. meal for our banquet and then more
entertainment by the Swehla Family singers.
Sunday- Sam and I went to church at St. Wenceslaus. I and one other lady had hats on and Sam and one other
man had a suit on. Not even there regular members wore dress clothes. After church we changed into picnic clothes and joined
the Swehla family in the park for our farewell picnic of hamburgers and brats with al the fixings. I got to try pickled asparagus
which was a first for me. I liked it. Mayme's left at noon while Edith's, Sam and I went out to the old farm where we had
to climb over a fence as it was chained shut and walk about 1/2 mile downhill to the old farmstead. The old barn, pump and
newer old barn were still there. We think we saw where the dugout was that they lived in for the first 2 years. Lots of horseradish
plants are still there in an area that may have been the garden area. Afterwards we went to Calmar and found the graves of
our great-great-grandparents, Frankisek and Katherine (Bruna) Swehla. It is good that Dan and Edith Swehla told us that the
stones had the name spelled Swella and were newer stones. Edith's left for Kansas and Sam and I went back to the St. Wenceslaus
Church cemetery and found the graves of great-great-grandparents, Vitua and Catherine Fisher. Janelle Pavolec saw us there
and showed us where the grave markers were and that Fisher was also spelled Fiser on them. Much of the wording on the stones
is in Czech..
Monday we checked out and stopped in Decorah at a store Sam wanted to see about some things and we had seen
a lot of tractors in town. Well as we got gas they started out in a tractorcade to Lansing, Iowa. They were letting 30 on
the road in each batch. Luckily for us they took the old stage road for better scenery and we took the highway and was able
to get in front of them. We crossed over into Wisconsin and drove along the river before turning east. In Dodgeville, WI.
we stopped at a cheese store and got some of their cheese. Then onto Illinois and our brother, Dan's, home. We got there and
we all went to eat at a nice restaurant. Sam and I both got to try calamari (octopus) for the first time and fresh salmon
for our supper. Then Dan and Pam took us on a drive to see the lights in Chicago. We saw Lake Michigan and all the boats on
it. Getting home around midnight.
Tuesday- Sam helped Dan put a refrigerator down in their basement and Sam made a shadow box for Pam. After
Dan cooked supper and went to sleep as he had to go to work that night Pam drove us back up into Wisconsin to Lake Geneva.
We all got big ice cream cones there for our treat and started back to Illinois. It is a big piece of water. Sam and I left
after breakfast on Wednesday so Dan would get to bed to be ready for work again that night. We took the 2 lane roads down
to Jewett, Illinois. Jewett has a postoffice, church and about a dozen homes then on down into Indiana and Kentucky. When
we got to Henderson, KY. the car was getting louder and louder and Sam decided he had car trouble. We were lucky the Lord
was with us as we were in front of the Sleep Inn so in he turned and we got a room there. The next day the cashier told him
where to take the car so we checked out and loaded up again, drove to the repair shop where they said the whole rear end was
out of the car. So they shuttled us back to the motel as this would take until the next day to fix. Luckily they were able
to get a used part and get it repaired for us to leave on Friday about 11:30 AM and we were on our way to Nashville. We took
Hwy. 41 and if we had broke down on it we would have been stranded by either wheat or cornfields. Then at Hopkinsville we
went over to the I 24 and on into Nashville. Henderson is about 3 hours out of Nashville. Finally we got here about 3 PM.
I unpacked everything and Sam rested ...
Today I took Sam out to some antique shops over in Hermitage and Mt. Juliet. When it was time to head onto
Lebanon and Watertown he said lets go home and rest, so we did.
We are glad to be home and Sam will leave here for Arkansas on Monday unless his plans change.
Blessings to you. Jessie and brother, Sam.
We made it home safe and sound, had anice long trip--4,880 miles, no car
trouble.The reunion was just great. I showed & talked to my brother Ron in Texas--He said you put a lot into this reunion
& you did! Ron will be sending you
some information for your book, his computer has been down.
I wish I had wrote
down all the info. about everyone that you told me, I can't remember it all & wish I knew more of the others & how
they were related to me on the family tree. Did you get any info. from others about another reunion?
I think Spillville
was the perfect place for this-with so much history of the Swehla's.
Lynn could you send me all the names ofmy Grandpa
Joe's family in the big picture-somehow I didn't get that all to gather.Gary's sister was writing it down but not me. Can
you send me Gary's e-mail address. Also what was the name of the oldest lady at the reunion& how was she related on the
Thanks and have a great day
Colleen & Jim