Yes, I’m two days late, but the other day was the 236th Birthday of my country. Not everybody likes the USA and in certain aspects I can understand. One thing is certain, however, over two hundred and thirty years ago the odds were against a group of colonies, people who had left their homeland and everything they’ve ever known to make a new life and with a fresh start. Imagine the overwhelming feeling of taking on the most powerful military in the world in the Revolutionary war. Then the daunting task of creating a government from scratch with the sparring and debating involved, while the founders carved out what we now know as the Constitution. Through Faith, Perseverance, Divine Providence and a deep conviction that we have inalienable rights which cannot be denied, they succeeded and won their freedom from the most powerful empire in the world.
Being a great grand-daughter of immigrants, I am grateful my ancestors were able to come to America to be part of the freedom that courageous people had won. I am grateful that when my ancestors decided to escape oppression there was somewhere for them to come and there was hope for a new life. When I celebrate the 4th it is not just for pride in my country but for hope in humanity. Hope that someday it will universally be realized that ALL are truly created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The following are pictures of my great-grandpa Paul Jacobs. He came from Slovakia to America when he was 14. Years later went back to bring his parents to America who didn’t want to leave the grandmother (Bábuška in front of the house in a dark dress). They later left Slovakia after the grandmother passed away, I think in the 1940s. Beatrix Mana, my mom and author of the blog http://babydogogos.wordpress.com, will correct me if I’m wrong.
Great-Grandpa Jacobs (left) in front of his restaurant in Cleveland.
Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma “Jake”
Great-Grandpa Jake with his two sons Leo (center) and Ray (my grandpa Jake) (left).
Along with countless other people like him, Paul Jacobs was given a chance to work hard and give his family a good life; a life that probably would have been completely different in his homeland. I am grateful that I am here today, an American with my own family to raise and make a good home for and celebrating the hope that American Independence means to me.
We walked through the downtown area of Bardstown took some pictures of some of my favorite homes. Still haven’t taken a picture of the building named for my husband’s ancestor (it is undergoing repairs).
We went to My Old Kentucky Home State park. That’s where I became disappointed. It is a pretty park, everything is well maintained, and as you walk along the brick paths you hear this constant ringing of bells playing every song that Stephen Foster composed. Maybe it was, in part, due the the headache I was developing but stubbornly ignoring in attempt to limit my intake of tylenol, asprin or my all time favorite excedrin. But the bells that were trolling from outdoor speakers around every corner were nauseating.
I love old buildings, I love to look at them and imagine what it must have been like to live when they were new and opulent. But I just can’t get passed that music. Cheesy bells playing Camptown Races, My Old Kentucky Home, Oh Susannah, over and over, bells bells bells. Ugh. I came really close to saying something to one of the park officials, but my growing head ache urged me to press on and get it over with.
Other than that I love Federal Hill itself. It’s beautiful with it’s old brick, masonry stars, and Judge John Rowan’s spring house turned law office down the hill. The boys enjoyed the walking and the boys enjoyed running around the rotunda.
We ended our day out with a stop at the library, then some fun at the park.
Oh yeah, one more thing adding to my frustration with my experience with My Old Kentucky Home. There was a lady that offered to take my picture with the kids. I was thrilled, but in the back of my mind I knew that the picture—like any other that someone takes of me with my family—would be out of focus or I would have a goofy looking face or my eyes would be closed or look like they are ready to pop right out of my head. I was right. I don’t blame her for it, it wasn’t her fault the picture was crumby. I can barely master my new camera myself let alone trying to explain it to a well intentioned stranger. So there you have it, my latest experience attempting to show you my town. The next involves bourbon, hopefully that will be a little more fun! 😉
This post is about my hometown. If you have ever had a sip (or two) of bourbon chances are you are tasting the very thing that makes this place famous. We live in Kentucky, known to most by the stereotype of everyone being “hillbillies” running around barefoot with guns all the time. We certainly have our share of rednecks, but we do have an abundance of culture and history as well. I’m hoping to have this photo tour done in three posts but there are so many great things that I love about this town and I’m discovering more all the time, so we’ll just have to see where we end up.
The Jailer’s Inn was the county jail and operated as a jail for almost 200 years!
Back of Jailer’s Inn.
A good friend let us in to see the courtyard.
“I wish for a big red bicycle.”
Great atmosphere as are most of the taverns, pubs and bars in this town.
“Main” street. North Third to be precise.
No dark scary alley here.
This home is called Shadow Lawn. It was the home of my husband’s great uncle. There are other buildings that are named after my husband’s ancestors… stay tuned.
Resting while mom takes more pictures.
Another resting spot for a weary boy. I believe these stones were laid as stairs for carriage entry.
Historic Spalding Hall was a college in the 19th century and briefly a hospital during the civil war. It is now the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History and Bardstown Historical Museum.
Waiting for the traffic light.
At the end of our little adventure I took some pictures of my travel companions. The littlest guy is in the wagon. He does not like his picture taken.
Stay tuned for more of my town.