Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mystery in the Blood Lines

Maude Brodock Robertson with son Les Robertson

When I was a kid, I remember my Uncles Les talking to my Dad about a man who told Les he looked like an Indian.  Uncle Les was incensed.  At that time, people I knew here were ashamed of Native American (NA) heritage.  Later, in doing family history work, some relations from Oklahoma wrote to me about an ancestor on the Brodock line who was Indian.  They decided this because a common ancestor, Henry Brodock, had his picture taken in Indian garb and Henry's daughter, their grandmother, claimed NA heritage.  Another relation claims Henry's mother, Submitta (not one other thing known about her other than her name), was Indian and has the same picture of Henry in NA apparel.
David Brodock (known as "Jake." His posture in this pic is just like my brother Jack's posture
Some other evidence that supports the NA theory is that  many of the Brodocks, including my grandmother, had black eyes and black hair.  Other than the "say so" of distant relatives, that is all the evidence I have.
One of Grandma's sisters.  Several of the girls
were dark like this.

Dave Brodock
Trying to track down this heritage would have been so much easier if: 1) Relatives had admitted they  had NA ancestry and 2) DNA testing had been available in the 1950's and 1960's.  Now, all my Brodock relatives have died.  I might be a sissy, but tracking down a shirt-tail Brodock relation that I've never met and asking for a DNA sample sounds awkward at best.
Grandma - Maude Brodock

Because I'm curious, I had a male Robertson cousin test his DNA. The test revealed that the male Robertson line is Celtic and nothing else.  Before I figured out how the DNA testing worked, I had my son tested.  This test revealed that my husband and his father's Welsh ancestors have more similarities with the Vikings than any of the other nationalities.  Well, I guess those Vikings did give Great Britain a heck of a time during the middle ages.

I still want to confirm the NA line.  Family History strongly indicates that our line ties up with Bartholomew Brodock, (before the name was Americanized :it was Brod Hack) one of the first settlers in the Mohawk Valley in New York.  So, along with our Scotch, English, Irish, Welsh, Dutch, German, French, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish heritage, there might be a drop of NA thrown in.  Review the pics and tell me what you
Janette "Nettie" Brodock - David Brodock's sister

Henry Brodock (Brodhack) David Brodock's father
Supposedly, Submitta, his mother, was NA.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

National Corporations and Magical Thinking

It's astonishing to me that large corporations ever evolved.  They really stink when it comes to efficiency, flexibility, and common sense.  For instance, the old Helena Cable TV was bought by Bresnan which was later bought by  Charter.  There are underground lines for Charter cable TV in the ground a stone's throw from my house.  But do you think I can get cable?  Nope.  Someday, if the cable company decides to expand 150 yards down the road to my place,  I can have cable.  I'm not sure what the deciding factor would be for this business expansion.  Does a committee back East somewhere sit down and consult with an astronomer to see if the moon is in the right phase?  Or does a decision to expand 150 yards have to do with the CEO getting his favorite Java at Starbucks in the morning?  This is a mystery.

I don't know much about cable TV, but I am reasonably certain that if the old cable TV company were still in operation, they would have run the cable to our house.  That business was run by people with reasoning ability.  They probably didn't spend their days gazing at computer generated sales models, but they possessed a modicum of common sense.  If they knew I wanted cable, they would have worked something out because they would see me as a person and a customer, not a statistic. A small company had the flexibility to make decisions on a case by case basis. They wouldn't crawl through a chain of command starting in my home town and ending up in Los Angeles to figure out whether or not to give me service.

Department stores that decide "one size fits all"  in the name of efficiency are another example of corporate stupidity.  A radio broadcast that mentioned J.C. Penny's had dubious sales reports didn't surprise me.  I used to buy a lot clothes at J.C. Penny's.  Then, the Corporate head decided to take the decision of what individual stores stocked out of the hands of the local store manager.  An employee told me that every store everywhere has to stock the same merchandise.  This decision decimated our local Penny's formerly excellent lingerie department, so I had to shop elsewhere.  Then came the spring when I saw the store stock numerous spring shades of men's sport coats in lilac, pink, yellow, and robin's egg blue.  I knew a huge sale on sport coats would be coming soon.  Sport coats in those shades may have been real sellers in Baltimore, but anyone who lived in my hometown would tell you that you couldn't give those jackets away here.  They had the sale, but the men shopping in my town decided to save 100% when it came to those jackets.

Call me a bird brain, but shipping merchandise thousands of miles only to ship it back again when it doesn't sell, doesn't seem like a way to make money.

It seems like when businesses get big, they lose contact with the the basic principles of commerce. Most people don't buy what they don't want, no matter how catchy the ad campaign. Big businesses kid themselves into thinking that what is easy for the business is the best course, and that the business can magically get customers to buy whatever the store decides to sell.  Earth to corporations:  we may live in the sticks, but we don't buy stuff we don't want.

Preparing for the Arrival of Small Children

While other grandmothers prepare for the arrival of grandchildren by removing the porcelain figurines from the end tables or locking the glass display case, I am rounding up my rocks.  My rocks have been stored in two boxes and a metal can in a bottom cabinet in the kitchen.  They are some of my most prized possessions, and my grandchildren are every bit as fascinated with them as I am.  Sad experience has taught me that children lose rocks and some rocks break.  That is why I now shove them in a box on my bedroom closet shelf when the grand kids come.

Other women buy Precious Moments figurines, vases from Italy worth thousands of dollars, and sapphire earrings.  I collect plain, unaltered rocks. Usually, the only thing I spend for them is time.  Obviously, my husband encourages this kind of collecting over jewelry and figurines.  My rocks are not necessarily interesting or valuable to anyone except me.  When I am hiking, I love to take a rock home to remember the hike.

Then, I have the rocks I inherited,  My grandmother, Maude Brodock Robertson, was an enthusiastic rock hound, according to my father.  She found the shark's tooth pictured above on a mine dump in Oregon Gulch.  I have three big seashells from her collection. I'm guessing she bought them on a trip to California for a religious convention.

Besides my rock hound grandmother, three or more of my ancestors were gold miners.  I guess you could say they liked rocks -the right kind of rocks.  Watching my grandchildren, I gather that a love for rocks is an inherited trait.

Sometime during the children's visit, I will bring out the rocks for an hour one day, and the grandchildren and I will all admire them.  We will celebrate our fascination with rocks.  I wouldn't trade my rocks for all the artistically created jewelry and vases made.  My rocks are more interesting and a lot less stressful.