Sunday, March 12, 2006
Fritz Tribute
An Austrian noblewoman eloped to America with a servant. These are my ancestors.

A Roman Catholic German and his wife escaped the terrors of the Austro-Prussian war in 1866 and emigrated to Canada. These are my ancestors.

A ship sailed from England, carrying 102 passengers. During the first winter in the New World, most of the passengers died. Some lived. One of my ancestors was among them.

A Scotsman came to America. He owned the Beloit Iron Works. His name was Noble Ross (click previous link for picture). He was my mother's great-grandfather. He is my ancestor.

My grandmother (nee Ross) worked as prima assistant to wife of Carson, Pirie, Scott's owner in Chicago, Illinois. She is a marvel--almost 89 years old, spry as ever. She is a testament of the wealthy 'old money' American. She recounts the Depression briefly...."What Depression?"

Her husband, Charles E. Doring. A man of ethics and learning, Charles was born to a poor German father and Irish mother. Shortly after his birth, his mother died. Charles taught himself everything--how to read, how to drive, how to sell. He put himself through college. He married Miss Ross, a woman of class and stature. He worked for Libby's in Chicago. My granparents were very much in love up until his death.

In Canada (meanwhile) the Fritz family had eighteen children. Simon was second eldest. He drank. He was harsh, just like the barren landscape. Simon married an Elizabeth Anne (another stout German). Simon and Elizabeth Anne moved to North Dakota, just over the border. He farmed and drank. The farm went fallow. Elizabeth Anne abused the children. Jerome Fritz (my grandfather) had four sisters. One died at age five from infection. Other children were born and died, thanks to sickness and cold. Jerome survived, speaking German in the home and English at school. Jerome was a handsome man with a cold glint in his eye.

Hazel Elaine lived in the town near Jerome. Her father was a foreman at the granary. Jerome went to work there and fell in love with Elaine's deep eyes and simple, sweet smile. Jerome and Elaine were married. Elaine had three children. One died (the first son). My father was the second son. He was reminded of this fact often by his father. He grew up the street across from the University of North Dakota. He attended this school and then escaped to Chicago for higher education.

Richard Jerome was the first in the Fritz family to receive a college education. He was also the first to hold two master's degrees. My father is a brilliant man. We have not always understood each other emotionally, but we know each other intellectually.

Anne Gordon [family name] Doring grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Her mother stayed home and baked cookies while her father carpooled with other men in the neighborhood. My mother was terrible at academics. She thrived (and thrives) on art, alone. She is a butterfly--erratic, wonderful, energetic, frenetic. She is an artist and the right to my father's left.

Richard Jerome went to Chicago to receive his master's education. He held a post as Assistant Dean at Roosevelt University. This is the school my mother attended for the third and final time. She was required to take a 'returning student' class. The class was a mixture of Vietnam Vets, old ladies who knitted in the back of the classroom, and college drop-outs and returns. Richard Jerome taught this class on writing. Anne Gordon Doring sat in the front row of the class. After the class was completed, Richard asked Anne out for a date. She said 'no'. She had to say 'no' a few more times before she said 'Yes! And then leave me alone!'.

And three months later, Richard and Anne were engaged.
And six years after that, they had their first and only child.

And here I am--a classic American, a mixture of rich and poor, noble and common, harshness and light. I hope I have done justice to those who came before me.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

Location: Detroit Rock City!
Where the weak are killed and eaten

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    What I Live By:
    We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always— A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one. -T.S. Eliot "Little Gidding"

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