Giving thanks for . . .

18 07 2011

#174 Wildflowers in a jar

#175 Baklava

#176 Bubbles

#177 Homegrown tomatoes and basil with fresh mozzarella cheese

#178 Swings

#179 Burgers on the grill

#180 Whimsical place markers

#181 Happy mingling of generations

#182 A timeline reaching back to the 1800s in Macedonia

#183 Four generations of Damoffs and their families

Almost a century ago, a young Macedonian couple traveled across the Atlantic to a land of hope and opportunity. They stood in a line on Ellis Island and gave their names as best they could — “Son of Dame” the husband said in his native tongue — and the clerk wrote “Damoff.” They settled in Mansfield, Ohio, where they made a home and raised a family. The mother was illiterate, the father worked a factory job, and neither parent spoke English, but they got what they came for. The children grew up American. Seven of ten survived to adulthood to raise their own families, marrying and giving in marriage. They were fruitful and multiplied and the branches spread across the land.

This past weekend we returned to the roots. From California, Maryland, Texas, Washington, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, we gathered again in Mansfield, including three of the five surviving siblings from that first generation. We ate good food, told stories, laughed, played, and ate some more. But more than anything we simply belonged. To a history. To each other.

I married into this family, was grafted into the tree. But my name is on that timeline, and my children’s names, and grand-children’s names. I think of that young immigrant couple and wonder how they imagined their descendents’ future. Would they have chosen me for their grandson?

Then I remember another tree and another grafting. Another family and another Name. The blood that doesn’t flow through my veins, but makes me His daughter. My name was written in His book before the foundation of the world. He always knew I would be His.

We who bear His Name are family. We belong to His story. We belong to each other. And some day we’ll gather for reunion, from every tribe, nation, and tongue.

The timeline will finally reach its end. And our Father, He will welcome us Home.




7 responses

18 07 2011

looking forward to that reunion with you, jeanne!

this time with your clan looks amazing. so fun! we lived in mansfield for a brief six months once upon a life ago…


18 07 2011

What a really fun looking get together.
That timeline is priceless.

18 07 2011

This is beautiful, Jeanne! Your photos and memories are equally lovely. We’re going to NYC this fall and I can’t wait to spend time, quietly, on Ellis Island. The thought of so many lives passing through one place is staggering. Thanks for sharing your a bit of your history.

18 07 2011

How lovely to spend time with family Jeanne. It sometimes just takes my breath away to realize He wrote my name before I ever drew one breath. Me…such amazing grace.

18 07 2011

Beautiful family gathering! I don’t know about you, but today I am very eager for that day when the Father welcomes us Home. God bless you.

18 07 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

What a blessing this must have been, Jeanne. LOVE all the creative decorating ideas….especially the timeline. So cool. XOX

19 07 2011

hi Jeanne,

it’s good that (geographical) scattering hasn’t broken the affective bonds between the Damoffs. and it’s neat that you married into, and your kids were born into, such a rich family history. if you didn’t already know this, you might be interested to learn that in italian, the word ‘macedonia’ means not just the country, but also a fruit salad–the idea being that the great variety of fruits in a fruit salad resembles the great variety of peoples and cultures in macedonia.
did you get to see the towns of your ancestors-in-law when you were in eastern europe, or (better yet) meet some in-laws?

hope you’re not suffering ‘road lag’, with all the travelling you’ve been doing!


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