Posts by Haven Caylor-Brown

Warsaw, Poland: June 26-June 30, 2019

 

Polish people never yearn for freedom. They fight for it! 

To understand the courage and resilience of Warsaw (and Poland) I want to take you all back to 1920. After 120 years of not existing as a country on the world globe, Poland had become a country again after World War I. It was strong, vibrant, and ready to blaze into the 20th Century as an independent nation. However, it had made two enemies, Russia and Germany, with rabid instincts to retake the lands they had held during those 120 years. Germany was too busy recuperating from the economic depression and high unemployment during the 1920s to pay much attention to Poland, but Russia with its newly instituted Red Army tried to take Poland in August of 1920. World History rarely teaches how Poland beat the crap out of the Red Army and they went running back to Russia leaving Poland alone to “enjoy” the Roaring Twenties.

Poland experienced two decades of peace and prosperity. It was the envy of Europe. Warsaw was bourgeoisie and lively. Back in Germany, Adolf Hitler had set Germany on a route to European as well as world domination. In a rare and short-lived alliance of political, polar opposites, fascist Germany allied itself with communist Russia to CRUSH Poland so they could regain “their” lands of the 19th century. Very few history books tell students that Poland almost recuperated from Germany’s September 1939 blitzkrieg. Germany had exhausted its ammunition, and Poland was ready to turn them back: Enter Russia on Poland’s Eastern front. Poland could not defend itself on both sides, and it fell.

 

One of the saddest parts of the Nazi occupation was the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto that housed 200,000 Jewish people. Jews from all over Europe had been shipped to Warsaw for their holding until they could be forwarded to extermination camps such as Auschwitz Birkenau or Treblinka. Two heroes (on opposite ends of the survival spectrum) emerged: Irena Sendler and Janusz Korczak. Irena Sendler was a nurse in Warsaw who with her resistance group helped save over 1000 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Although she risked her life, was beaten, and tortured (like whipped the soles of her feet then they broke her legs), and almost executed several times, she survived and lived until 2008. Janusz Korczak was a children’s author (“King Matt the First”) and a doctor. He took care of the orphaned, Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto. When the Nazis decided to ship the Jewish orphans to Treblinka for extermination, Dr. Korczak refused to leave their side even after Christians and the resistance begged him to stay in Warsaw and fight. Janusz died with his children in Treblinka.

Janusz Korczak: National Hero of Warsaw and Poland

Janusz Korczak was a doctor and and a children’s author who refused to be separated from the Jewish orphans from Warsaw. They were all exterminated in Treblinka.

 

Americans call the August 1944 uprising to take over its city the Warsaw Uprising but the English words in Warsaw say Warsaw Rising. The people of Warsaw knew the allies were headed to Berlin, and when they arrived in Warsaw to help deliver it, they wanted to show them that they were a free city who had liberated itself. They fought for 3 months: men, women, children (ran electricity lines and utilized the sewer city with great effect), clergymen, EVERYONE. Part of the city was even FREE. However, German forces were still embedded in the city, and their supply lines were still healthy. The Polish people hoped and prayed that either the allies or the Russians could send help, but help never came. If you travel to Warsaw, the Uprising Museum is a MUST SEE.

 

The Germans may have been losing ground in Western Europe, but they were going to severely punish Warsaw for its uprising. Because so many Germans were still rat-nested throughout the city and could not be evacuated (Russian forces were just a few miles away waiting to pounce on German troops to arrive… if they arrived!), Germany gave all civilians 48 hours to get out of the city, flee to wherever, because the bombing planes were going to OBLITERATE the city, and they did. In the Uprising Museum, there is a 5 minute 3D video of the post-obliteration of the city. It looks like a nuclear holocaust: The church to the right is St. Augustine’s church. It was spared, not because the Nazis respected this Catholic Church, but because it held Nazi ammunition, foods, and medical supplies.

 

So, Poland became communist in 1945. The Polish people suffered greatly under communism, but they persevered.

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The Soviets took over Poland for 45 years, but they DID NOT take over the Pole’s spirit of Freedom.

 

In 2019, the Polish people are “loud and proud”. They refuse to allow foreign powers to tell them what to do with their people and their government. They are very nationalistic, and keep their wonderful culture flourishing. They love families. The Polish government even pays its families to have more children. The families spend time together, eat together, shop together, and go to church together. The Caylor-Browns experienced their awesome nationalism and hospitality, and we were so impressed. We definitely want to learn more Polish and return to Warsaw soon.

 

Budapest June 2019

 

Hovering over each photo gives a narrative of that photo!

 

 

The Caylor-Browns thoroughly enjoyed Budapest June 22-26. Sean and I had been trying to go since 2008. Hungarian is such a difficult language, but most of the Hungarians were willing to speak English and help us.

 

Yes, we ate goulash, but we also found a delicious, Hungarian pizza called, “langos”.

 

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lagos

 

 

This 21st Century is an awesome time for Hungarians. Buda was the ancient site of this spectacular Roman city 2000 years ago. Pest grew through the centuries but then Asian Mongols invaded the city in 1241. They finally leave and the Maygars (Hungarians) try to recuperate. The Ottoman Turks then invade Budapest in 1541 and stay through 1699! Central European wars and political grabs leave the Habsburgs to rule the Hungarians (which the Hungarians never embraced…. it seems they liked Empress Elizabeth, Sissy, but who really knows) with lots of 19th and 20th Century turmoils. Next, defeat in World War I then German invasion and the expulsion and extermination of millions of Hungarian Jews, then Communist rule…. now…. freedom and pride in being a Hungarian!!! Sean, Carter, Ammon, and all advise to travel to Budapest. Aesthetically, with the Danube, we much prefer Budapest to Paris with its Seine, and we would choose to return Budapest over Paris any day.

 

 

 

Berlin, Germany Summer 2019 (History Repeats itself: Uneasy feeling in Germany).

Sorry Germany lovers, the Caylor-Browns will not be returning to Germany.   If you would like to recall our first unpleasant experience with Germany or read for the first time what happened to us in Munich in 2012,  please read:

Don’t Eat at Woerner’s 

In 2012, I honestly thought it was the warm weather and hundreds of extra tourists that made the Germans edgy: There are other turbulent currents under the sea of migratory change in Germany.

The pleasant photos you will view were the onset of our arrival and the celebratory feeling of returning to Europe on Friday June 21. Three weeks later we returned to the Berlin travel hub to fly back to the United States after a wonderful and engaging Central European vacation. On Tuesday July 9 around 10 AM, Berlin Train Nazis entered the train we were on, violated us, and made us pay 120 Euros for not having inner-city train tickets. We asked the “train police” to escort us off the train and help us buy a ticket. They refused! They told us they would call the police and turn us in at the Train Station stop. Carter and Ammon were SCARED TO DEATH especially after studying then visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and seeing what Germans did to Europeans nearly 100 years ago. The train Nazis first told us that it was 60 Euros each (240) we did not have that much! We did not have a ticket because no one else bought a ticket all morning on neither the bus nor the train. We asked them to 1) Please escort us to an ATM, or 2) Escort us to the Ticket kiosk and explain what we needed to do. “No, it’s either 120 Euros for you two adults or we call the police!”  Earlier in the morning we had tried to read the kiosk, and it was very confusing. Three weeks earlier we had walked everywhere without the train/bus system. Thanks be to God, combined, Sean and I had EXACTLY 120 Euros!!  We will not travel to Germany again. The whole time in Berlin we felt oppressed and troubled spiritually… much like foreign travelers felt traveling in Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. The German authority figures are bullies using “terrorist tactics” (we are calling the police, they said) to manhandle their citizens and foreign travelers.

So, we finally “shook off” the scare of the Berlin police imprisoning Daddy H and Daddy S (what would have happened to Carter & Ammon!!), finished the day, and prepared to go home. The following day at the Berlin , Tegel, Airport was horrific. We were there 2 hours ahead of time, but there was AWFUL and EXTENDED bag check in and security check lines.

As soon as we stepped up to the passport counter Sean and I were targeted. The “gentleman” scowled at us. Hours before, all our liquids had been placed in zip-bags and the beverage bottles had been thrown away. All my pockets had been cleaned out and the items placed in my backpack, but at one point in the security line Sean had asked me about the taxi receipt we had just gotten from our ride from the Novotel Tiergarten to the airport. I took the wallet out of my backpack and read the time we had arrived at the airport.  In haste and out of habit, I placed my wallet back in my pants pocket. So, in the security line, I went last in our family of four. Sean had gone through the bag search with Carter, and I had helped Ammon who went into a panic when she thought she might have food in her backpack. The little, middle-aged, militant (short haircut and uniform) security lady said in English with her militant, German accent, “Any food?” “No, I hope not”, I said in an exasperated tone. “Anything in your pockets. Everything out of your pockets!” My verbal reaction was “No!” She looked at my pocket and saw my wallet that I had absentmindedly placed back in my front pocket. In an elevated voice she repeated, “Everything out of your pockets!”, I was more mad at myself than her. With a look of disgust, I took out my wallet and tossed it in the bin. THAT WAS IT for the little security Nazi. She immediately lifted her hand to a female protégée on the other side of the X-ray machine, and I knew I was “in for it” … As I walked through the metal detector (stripped of everything metal and had CLEANLY passed through ALL the airports from Atlanta to Berlin, to Budapest, to Krakow) I began walking to the protégée, and I did, indeed, beep. The male security man began man-handling me. I did not know that they had done the exact thing to Sean who had also “argued about some food”. Carter went to the woman and said, “I would like to complain that you all are searching my dads’ private parts, and that isn’t right.” Another Nazi lady said, “This is the security check. We can!” …. It was awful, folks.

I will repeat, we will not be returning to Germany. HOWEVER, I did want to share these photos from our pleasant days.

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Brandenburg Gate (Happy Beginnings June 21, 2019: The dark cloud of the day was a Palestinian parade near Alexanderplatz shouting about racist Jews )

 

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Ruins of the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie.

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The Berlin Cathedral.

 

 

Better Hurry to Dollywood! Its sensational 2018 season is ending: 3 Links to Dollywood & its attractions!

 

I would venture to say that Dollywood’s 2018 Season was a Caylor-Brown favorite. Nothing is ever perfect, but our experiences there were pretty close to perfect.

Enjoy Sean’s , Carter’s & Ammon’s (Ammon’s is a preview for the 2019 Season!) blogs for Dollywood.

 

My Experience at Miss Lillian’s Buffet at Dollywood (Caylor-Brown favorite place to Eat)

 

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Spring 2019!

Wildwood Grove in Dollywood 2019

 

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(Thanks for the drawings, Dollywood!)

 

2018 Smoky Mountain Christmas Memories

 

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Squanto (Español)

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Hay personas en la historia a quienes Dios ha bendecido y usado con alegría y de ellas surgieron eventos maravillosos y positivos. Disfruto inmensamente la historia de Squanto, el nativo americano que se hizo amigo de los peregrinos. Vivió desde 1590 hasta 1622.

Era un contemporáneo de John Smith, el famoso amigo inglés de Pocahontas, e incluso lo conoció en 1614. No fue el honorable John Smith quien engañó y secuestró a Squanto (Tisquantum) y lo llevó a Europa, sino un capitán de mar inglés llamado Thomas Hunt. Hunt se llevó a Squanto a Málaga, España, y lo vendió como esclavo, pero por la gracia de Dios, Squanto terminó con sacerdotes cristianos que lo liberaron y lo enviaron a Inglaterra. En 1619 regresaba a Nueva Inglaterra con la ayuda de otro marinero, Thomas Derer. Desafortunadamente, los habitantes (incluida la esposa de Squanto, sus hijos y sus padres) de la aldea de Squanto habían sido casi erradicados por enfermedades europeas.

Squanto se convirtió en un “prisionero” de otra tribu de nativos americanos, los Pokanoket, cuyo líder era Massasoit. Squanto fue bien tratado, y Massasoit vio la importancia de sus habilidades de interpretación en inglés. Squanto fue finalmente liberado. Fue Squanto junto con otro nativo americano, Samoset, quien el 22 de marzo de 1621 entró en Plymouth para ayudar a los peregrinos con su nueva tierra. Squanto enseñó a los peregrinos a cazar mejor y, lo que es más importante, cómo criar y cuidar el maíz, los frijoles y la calabaza. Squanto, junto con los otros nativos americanos Pokanoket y los peregrinos, celebraron el primer Día de Acción de Gracias en octubre de 1621. La mayoría de los estudiosos dicen que duró dos semanas.

Nadie es perfecto, pero gracias a Squanto y su visión de la paz y la hermandad de diferentes razas y culturas, tenemos el maravilloso ejemplo de cómo las personas que son diferentes pueden entrelazar sus vidas en una existencia pacífica.

“Give me the Roses”

Give me the Roses

 

 

One of my heroic parent figures, Claudelle Kubin, had her leg amputated the second week of August 2018. Her eldest daughter, my childhood friend, and now Facebook friend, Michelle Kubin Robins, is my dear friend. Mrs. Kubin’s husband died while Michelle and I were in the 8thgrade. It was a shock and a tragedy. Mrs. Kubin single-handedly raised Michelle and Michelle’s 3 siblings. All four turned out to be responsible, awesome adults.

As most of you all know, I live in Chattanooga, but I work in Dalton. After the amputation surgery, Mrs. Kubin was undergoing rehabilitation in Dalton . Michelle lives in Houston, Texas. I let Michelle know that if her Dalton siblings needed me to do something in Dalton for Mrs. Kubin to please let me know. Michelle said, “Thanks, Haven”

For several days, I kept telling myself, “After school, I’ve GOT to go see Mrs. Kubin.” … get up in the AM, drive to school, go home…. Exercise with my family, grade papers, get ready for bed, get to bed, get up and do it all again….. no visiting Mrs. Kubin. She passed on August 22, 2018, and I had not visited that sweet, precious lady. I was very upset with myself. I probably rarely came into Mrs. Kubin’s mind, but she was in MY MIND. I loved her and appreciated her, but I didn’t tell her. She wasn’t blood -family, but she was my sister in Christ and a wonderful parent figure to me.

I prayed and prayed for my heart -hurt to be healed, and God and the Spirit opened my heart to one of my favorite, gospel Blue-grass songs that I know: Give me the Roses while I live

 

Give Me The Roses While I Live

Wonderful things of folks are said
When they have passed away
Roses adorn the narrow bed
Over the sleeping clay

   Give me the roses while I live
   Trying to cheer me on
   Useless are flowers that you give
   After the soul is gone

Kind words are useless when folks lie
Cold in a narrow bed
Don’t wait till death to speak kind words
Now should the words be said

Let us not wait to do good deeds
Till they have passed away
Now is the time to sow good seeds
While here on earth we stay

I knew I could not give Mrs. Kubin her flowers while she lived, but  1) I could send Michelle a memory garden in her mother’s honor and 2) I could find and share with my other childhood parent figures how I felt about them. I had Michelle and her family a memory garden delivered to their home in Houston, and Michelle sent me a beautiful thank you message via Facebook. Now….

I’m sharing what I did not to “toot my own horn” but to encourage you all to “give them [whomever you love & appreciate] their roses” . 

I knew I had to send flowers to Mike and Sandra Lyle and Ellen Durham. These people helped raise me. Mike and Sandra’s daughter are the parents of my dear friend, Kim Lyle Schelegel, and Ellen is the mother of my faithful and awesome friend, Scot Durham. These parents allowed me into their homes, fed me, took me to places where we had fun, chaperoned,  excursions, and most of all they loved me and gave me untimely advice. When I was 16, my father died. I KNEW that if I needed them, they would have dropped everything to come to side. Praise the Lord, I never needed to call on them, but I knew they loved me and supported me.

I got on the phone to order flowers from my favorite, Dalton Florists, Ruth & Doyles. However, that is where Ellen Durham works! LOL I had no idea how I was going to pull it off. Guess what??!! God had it handled. Ellen was off that day! Woot Woot! I ordered the flowers, and I had them delivered. They delivered them that very day.

By the next week, I had received two very kind yet unnecessary Thank you cards. Yes, they were from, Mike and Sandra and Ellen. My heart soared! I am so blessed to still have them, and I still know they would help me in a heart beat if I needed them.

Y’all the flowers/roses DO NOT have to be literal flowers/roses. They can be kind words, kind deeds , or other gifts to the people you appreciate. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you let them know!  Happy Saturday everyone. –Haven

Train Whistles & Granddaddy Alexander

Train Whistles & Granddaddy Alexander

(Like Wikipedia, I welcome people to add names & pics… I will add things as I find them).

 

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(Thanks, TVA for the pic.. this is a restored, 1904 engine that ran on Southern Railway!) 

William Oliver Alexander : May 15, 1875 – June 29, 1935. Southern Railroad Locomotive Engineer.

Friday evening September 28, 2018 location = Collegedale, Tennessee, Collegedale Greenway 

I was jogging beside the railroad track headed toward’s Collegdale’s Southern University, and I heard a train coming: Sometimes it’s a BNSF train, and sometimes it’s a Norfolk Southern train. Traveling at about 35-40 MPH a Norfolk Southern diesel locomotive comes barreling into the clear. I smiled, kept jogging, and I waved. Of course, trains blow their whistles at the crossings, and the engineer had just passed the College Station Crossing. I had no idea if my waves would illicit a friendly blow, but THEY DID …. “Toot, Toot…. toot ,  toooooot”: I smiled from ear to ear and continued jogging. Granddaddy Alexander whom I never met (he died 31 years before I was born) immediately came to mind…. However….

Join me  the summer of 1988.

My dear friend of  mine, Loraine Morgan Hammontree (February 2, 1913- May 13, 1989) , and I had been cultivating our awesome, Varnell friendship, and she had said, “Uh, Haven, would you like to visit my sister (Ralph Morgan, I’m tracking you down for her name! LOL) in Dalton. She can tell us some stuff about Varnell from our childhood.”  Loraine’s sister was several years older than Loraine and she couldn’t drive, and neither could Loraine who had heart failure. I rearranged some of my busy, summer schedule (I was in town for the weekend from Lipscomb University Summer Semester where I was just about to finish my last year) , and we drove to Dalton. Loraine’s, sister was so hospitable and so sweet, and charming. I fell in love with her lovely demeanor immediately.

 

Loraine: Haven, I was just a kid and I don’t remember, but my sister remembers living in the Alexander’s house in Varnell. (Turning to her sister) Tell Haven about living there and Mr. Alexander.  Mr. Alexander was Haven’s great-grandfather.

Loraine’s sister: (With a huge smile). I didn’t know that! Let me tell you.  You know , Mr. Alexander had a fixed schedule, and we always kind of knew he was coming. He would begin tooting the whistle as he entered Varnell, and we would run down to the track. The train went right in front of the Alexander house, and he was going slow. Depending on what he had, he would toss it out to us kids. Sometimes, it was candy wrapped in sacks and sometimes it was bags of coal we needed for our coal-burning stove. It was like having Santa Claus!

Loraine: (Turning to me with a huge smile.) Yeah, just like Santa Claus, that’s just what I was thinking.

The visit was perfect, and I had spoken with someone who knew Granddaddy Alexander personally. I took Loraine home with a full heart and lots of joy.

Before I finish this Santa Claus tale of  Granddaddy Alexander, I ‘ve got to share one more thing (I could be dead tomorrow, and I want Carter & Ammon to know) LOL ….

Trains (Steam engines in the 1900s – 1930s) were steam engines and so different from the powerful diesels of today. The trains stopped at every “pig trail” in those days. Granddaddy Alexander’s route took him from Atlanta to Chattanooga. When stopping at the “pig trails”, boys from the local area would bring stuff (nuts, berries, live animals such as baby squirrels or baby opossums) to sell to him. He would buy whatever for a few pennies. On up the line, while stopping for water, coal, or passengers, he would let the animals go free. He sometimes would even take a baby squirrel or a baby opossum back to his house in Atlanta for Nanny, Madeline, and Florence to play with!  In a few weeks he would put them back in his pocket, take them to Inman Yard where his engine was then carry them back up towards Chattanooga where he would set them free.

Back to September 28, 2018-

As I turned around to face my jogging destination, I was overcome with emotion, and tears came unexpectedly into my eyes as I started sobbing  with happiness about Granddaddy Alexander as I trotted onward.

No one is ever perfect, but William Oliver Alexander was a good, caring human with a wonderful heart.  His girls (Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor, Gloria Madeline Alexander Kirk, and Florence L. Alexander Sheeley) adored him. Nanny always shared how he loved life, loved to joke, and loved nature.

With my memories and the wonderful avenue of the Internet and/or writing journals, I can keep Granddaddy Alexander and his story “alive”.

-Happy Saturday to all- Haven