I need your help.
Well, I need your help if you’re a member of the South Dakota-based Bartmann or Knox families. Or a friend. Or anybody, really, who knew either of my Grandfathers, Clinton “Sam” Knox or Joe Bartmann. I have this new writing project idea. I’ve been thinking lately about somehow gathering all the memories and history of my family tree, and wasn’t quite sure how to organize it in a way that would be meaningful. Then, on Easter Sunday at the Bartmann gathering, Mary Johnson (my Grandpa’s first cousin) and Grandma were sharing some family history with me and others around the table in Mom and Dad’s garage. Mary has a couple of books from Esentho, Germany–the village where the Bartmann’s came from and where Great Grandpa Anton grew up–and some pictures and a very cool Bartmann family tree dating back to the late 1400’s (holy shit!).
So, back to the writing project. Instead of writing a generic family history, like “the Bartmann Book” or something, I’d like to write our family stories in a little different way. I’ll put them together in a collection of short stories and poems, all around the context of “Grandpa Said…” Now, these stories shouldn’t just be about my grandfathers. I want all the fun, serious, wierd and scary stories that our families have told. I want the life lessons we’ve passed on and on–not just spoken stories, but values and ideals and principles that have been taught by action (or non-action), word or tradition.
So this is why I need your help. Send me your memories. Please. You can post them in the comments, or email them to me. I won’t promise to complete this project by any certain date, but I will work on it. You can send me pictures too! The best way would be to scan them and email them to me. Thanks for your help…