Remmick-Hubert Special Page - Lodi Union High School, Class of 1960-Newsletter
Vol.9: 13 Nov. 2002 : Page One
Yesterday, I was driving 70+ mph north on Highway 5 from Lodi to my uncles retirement farm called Lost His Marbles [so named after he realized he was working harder than before he retired] which is west of some little town near Woodland. The day was gorgeous. The flat lands of the valley were busy with tractors who were rumbling along and kicking up dust ... Someone was burning the stubbles of his field and there was the smell of smoke here and there.... Huge trucks, one right after the other were passing each other and slowing down the fast lane.... Some trucks were shinny and spotless with their wheel guards in chrome and the sunlight was boucing off of them.... while other trucks smelled like cows they were or had carried.....
As I drove, my mother and I talked. I heard stories about our family. Some I've heard and a few I have not. Since my mother has always been a "talker", and my Dad and I the listeners, there was nothing new in what was occurring. Difference now, after her heart attack there is an urgency in my mother's voice. She wants me to know about the family and wants me to remember because in remembering all the stories means she, her parents and all the others won't be forgotten.
My mother had ten living brothers and sisters.... My father's family is just a handful, two sisters and two brothers. So, there are many cousins, second cousins and third cousins and making the families on all sides quite large. This morning I wrote down the stories that were new and added some lines to some of the old stories. As most of you know, I'm very interested in genealogy. It started out because of my older son's Cub Scout project. On a page in the Cub Scout book was a family tree onto which my son was suppose to write down four generations..... He came to me and I went to my Mom.... As I was asking my mother for names and births, I realized that I was the last link between my generation and all the family, relatives and friends who had come to this country from Russia to the USA and if I didn't write down this kind of information and their stories my children and their children would never learn they were not Slavic but Germans who migrated from Germany to Russia, or why they knock on wood or why some of us have reddish blonde hair.... And, this project has turned into an adventure of not only the past but the present and the future. After all these years, and all my research, my generation is, just, now, jumping onto the genealogy wagon. The first thing most people, who are just starting this adventure, say to me is, "I should have talked to my grandparents before they died, or a parent....or aunt Sophie who was the only one interested in remembering the family...."
Anyway, I came away from my uncle Eddie's farm with a large envelope of photographs. Most of them were of his wife's family, Irish-Italians. I'll copy them. Place some of them on my web site on the pages I've created for Eddie and his family.
It's a real shame, I think, when a relative dies and the family goes through their personal things and discover photographs of people the deceased person knew and loved and, now, no one knows who they were / are because there are no names or stories in writing attached to the photographs. So, what does one do with photographs of someone elses life and all these photographs of the nameless many? Give them away to other members of the family or toss them all into the trash. I've gone into antic shops and see in an old frame a child and I can't help but be sadden. Whoever has given the photograph away, didn't know who the child was, or, heaven help them, they did and just didn't care. If the child's identity was unknown, he might well have been a cousin, an aunt or uncle, a father, a mother or grandparent.... but no one knew because it wasn't marked by those who knew. These photographs to me are orphans who have lost his or her family.
Yes, it is true, there are just so many things a person can save and not end up walking through paths of stacked boxes and books in a garage our house.
I remember my paternal grandmother saying to me, "Why do you care about all those dead people?" I had / have many different answers but none were the answers that changed her attitude. She's gone, now. One of her daughters have her photograph albums. My aunt treasures those old images of her mother. And, some of them will go into my next book about her family and genealogy. It will be filled with stories about her and how she lost her mother at an age when all young girls need their mother, and, how her mother migrated to the USA with her father and step-mother at the end of the 19th century to a place known as the Dakota Territory.... A hundred years earlier her ancestors left Germany and headed east to Russia where there was free land and the promise of no sons having to become a soldier.... while the French revolutionists were pulling a convertible guillotine from village to village to cut off the heads of rebellious villagers....
Since Lodi is a hot bed of a group called German-Russian-Americans, my genealogy isn't unique. It seems our people migrated in groups and a large group ended up in Lodi for a variety of reasons. Many, like my grandparents, got tired of the cold in the Dakotas and Montana. Also, many of our fathers couldn't find work and came out here because of the shipyards where a man could get work and the money earned feed and clothed his family. Most women didn't work in those "good old days".
Lodi, also, had two other large groups, who were the Italians and Japanese, and there was, also, a sprinkle of English and Scots....
Back in 1994, Christi Kennedy wrote a book "Lodi, A Vintage Valley Town". My mother saw it and bought me a copy. It is one of those books you want in your library but I've not looked at it since 1994 until today when I remembered I had it. I thumbed through it and it was like driving on highway 5 yesterday. A quick memory trip. Very quickly I leafed through Lodi's history and was reminded of the horse Lodi for whom Lodi was said to have been named. I remember that huge old photograph hanging in the old library. And, I remember when I was an adult and read about the Battle of Lodi in Italy and wondered if the racehorse Lodi was named by an Italian who knew about the battle in Italy. Actually our town's original name wasn't Lodi, it was Mokelumne City which was a mouth full, also most could not spell the Idaian name Mokelumne. So, in 1873 the town became known as Lodi. Horse and dog racing were very popular and the Lodi Trotting Association. Track was where we know Cherokee Land and Lodi Avenue to be, now.
There is a section on Iron Horses to motor cars which reminds me of a story about a Roemmich [Remmick] and three or five others who wanted to see California. Roemmich and the others lived in ND. These men owned motor cars. It was a new century and life needed adventure. So these men got together and decided they'd race these new fangled motor cars to California. But where in California? Someone mentioned Lodi. They agreed. So, off they raced. Since the story, I remember, doesn't have the Roemmich winning the race, I assume some other family has the bragging rights. However, this Roemmich and the other fellows returned to ND and told all of his family about Lodi, the weather and what kind of plants grew in the ground...
There is a photograph on page 54 with a group of "automobiles" in Lodi in 1900 in front of the Lodi Hotel. I wonder if these were the men who raced from ND, if not, I wonder if there is a photograph somewhere showing them. It certainly would have been news then....
These early "hot rod" fellows were not the first German-Russians to visit Lodi, nor the last, and the word spread how nice an area it was. And, the town became a popular placed to move to if one had to move. It gained the nickname of "Little Germany" when we were kids.
Lodi became known for it's grapes.
I always found it interesting that the Roemmich who were growers of grapes in Germany never grew grapes in Lodi. A distant relative P. J. Goehring did. Course, it's easy for me to say I'm a relative, because, I'm a relative to just about every German-Russian family who moved to Lodi, or, I should say, the ones who attended the old Lutheran and Reform Churches.
I just heard that the Lodi Festival has greatly changed and the parade which I had thoroughly enjoyed as a kid, no longer exists. Time changes things and this change is sad.
Instead of growing grapes, after the war my Dad went to work for Super Mold and later General Mills. We ended up moving next to General Mills in a small two bedroom house, one bath, tiny kitchen, service room and a medium size living room. All for less than $10,000 or about that which just sold for more than $200,000. Then, it had a huge cherry orchard across the street and an almond orchard then grapes beyond. We were so far from Needham School, we were sent to Woodbridge. Our route was along the railroad tracks and through the old graveyard when it wasn't raining.
As long as we didn't have to go to school at night, going through the old graveyard was no big deal since ghosts didn't haunt during the day.
Many times I wandered through that old graveyard near the old town of Woodbridge that nearly became the capital of California. Some dated back into the mid-1800s. Sometimes I'd make up stories in my head about these people long since forgotten.
On page 115 Christi's book tells me that the old Hill house is now a museum, the home of Lodi Historical Society. One of these days I'll have to visit the old house, again. But it'll seem strange to see it as a museum and not a home...
Since, you and I, are helping to preserve our memories for the class of 1960, perhaps, after all these years, we should learn more about each of you. Where did your family live before moving to Lodi? Do you know where they lived before migration to the USA. Or, if you have a ancestor who was American Indian, which tribe did they belong? What is the oldest family photograph you have of a member of your own family?
Let's make the next newsletter a trip farther back than the class of 1960 but back to our ancestors along with any stories you'd like to share. Also, think I'll have a new page for each newsletter called Historical Lodi and hope some of you send interesting information about our old home town.
Hoping to hear from you.
Judy A. Remmick-Hubert
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