Sep 262013

A map of Bremen, showing Vegesack. Bremen is in north central Germany near the North Sea.

My whole life people have been asking me about my last name. “Seek” is how most people first pronounce it. At one point I was counting the number of people who had pronounced it correctly the first time (you pronounce the final ‘e’). I stopped when I was thirty, and the tally was thirty seven.  The only reason I stopped was because it was tedious trying to remember. People have been mispronouncing my name my whole life.

After being corrected, most people then ask where my name is from. I’ve heard guesses ranging all over Europe. Some people thought Switzerland, some Scandinavia. Until last month, I could only say “Germany.” But my Dad has been researching our family, and he found out where we are from. My ancestor John Gerhardt Seeke was from Vegesack, a district of Bremen.

Once I found that out, I reached out to a German friend who helped me find the website of the Lutheran church in Vegesack. I sent them an email asking if they had records of any Seeke’s. They told me they did not, but that they are a new church. I chuckled when I read that they had been founded in 1938 because I’ve been part of eight churches and only one was older. They were kind enough to forward my email to a local genealogist. Not only was he willing to help, but he said the name Seeke is quite common in Vegesack.

That blew me away. All my life my name has been weird. People can’t pronounce it, they don’t know where it’s from, and I never felt like my name belonged here. It feels great to know that there is a place where my name is normal. Common, even.  Someday I hope to meet one of my German relatives, hopefully in Vegesack. I don’t know why it feels so good knowing that my name is normal, but it definitely does. It feels great.

Sep 162013

I’ve been talking up my big trip to Colorado for three years, and now that it’s over I figure it’s worth a few pictures even though it was a bust. If you are thinking of going to Colorado, I recommend you NOT go during the rainiest week in the state’s history.  Right now there are over 1,200 people missing, so while the trip was a bust I am very glad we got out early before the rain got really bad. It was bad while we were there, which is why we left early, but our area had some of the lighter rainfalls.  The Denver Post has an article about the hard hit areas, and it’s bad. Really bad.

Even though the trip was a bust, I did get to see some amazing scenery, and this is a brief visual tour of the three basins were were in. The first set are from the first basin we were in, between Arapahoe Ridge and Sheep Mountain in the North Park area.

This picture of Sheep Mountain was taken from our campsite. The mountain is two miles away.

This is Arapahoe Ridge, the high ridge at the end of our first basin.


This pond was on the ridge to the next basin. The mountain is the side of Arapahoe Ridge opposite Sheep Mountain.

When I turned my back to the pond, this is what I saw: the North Park basin and the mountains on the far side. The slope right in front of me was thirty degrees down.

This is our third basin, looking across the valley at a cave. I was sitting on a forty degree slope.

This is the top of our third and final basin. I took this picture at about two o’clock pm. About ten minutes after this, the hail started. The rain did not end until we left Denver the following morning.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Where are the elk???”  Well, you see as many elk in these pictures as I saw on the trip: zero . Like I said, the trip was a bust. And while there were a few minor injuries, I’m really glad none of us got badly busted up like so many people in Colorado. That place is a mess, and I ask you to join me in praying for the people there. I’ll recover from my disappointment, but their recovery will be much tougher.