My stubbornness and righteous indignation comes, probably, from my heritage: All of my ancestors, as far as we can tell, and as far back as Kaspar Bockerstette, born in 1674, are from Germany, or are decendants of Germans. The ancestors who came to the US did so in the 1840’s, when Germany wasn’t even a country but a group of loosely confederated principalities. I’m in the process of putting high resolution scans of important family images out on my photo site, located here. This is my paternal grandfather’s family, for instance; that’s Anton in the front left. His father (my great-grandfather) came to the US in 1848 at the age of 10. When they arrived in New Vienna, Iowa, in November, the ground was too hard to break, so they lived in a cave their first winter in Iowa. This story is now used every time the kids complain about having it hard.
I have two great kids and a terrific wife, all of whom tolerate me reasonably well despite my many flaws, increasing waist, receding hair line, and generally contrarian attitude. This is our most recent family picture, taken in December 2012. Those two kids who are suddenly taller or almost as tall as I am are Mark and Emily, and Marianne is my wife, on the left.