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Personal News

Hiking and backpacking in Utah

This summer we headed out west again, and managed to do some hiking and backpacking in Utah (Capitol Reef and Escalante Grand Staircase parks), plus visit some of Doug's family in Nevada and New Mexico, plus drive across the Navajo and Hopi reservations and up to the north rim of the Grand Canyon where we stayed for 3 days.  We hiked partway down into the canyon one day and that was fantastic.  I'll get some of the photos scanned and onto the web sometime soon, I hope.

Slovak Lessons

Dobry den. I studied Slovak for 2 years with Sylvia Galova-Lorinc, the co-author of two excellent guides to learning Slovak:

Swan, Oscar E. and Sylvia Galova-Lorinc. Beginning Slovak: A course for the individual or classroom learner. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica Publishers, 1990.

Lorinc, Sylvia Galova and Stephen R. Hoferka, Jr. Slovak phrase book. Pittsburgh: Lorhof, 1991.

Sylvia's a good teacher and a friend and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to study with her. The lessons have been suspended for now because I just haven't had the time to keep them up. So i's still the case that I know just enough Slovak to get myself into trouble, making it really pretty imperative that I learn more at some point. I'm hoping to visit Slovakia again, and because I want to revisit my grandfather's home village [where apparently no-one speaks English], I really need to get better at speaking and understanding Slovak. So I hope to pursue this further sometime before I forget it all.

Vegetarian Diet - Highly Recommended!

Both Doug and I have been enjoying a largely vegetarian diet since November 1997 (hard to believe it's been that long!). We're still eating some fish, but more and more we're leaving it out and getting our nutrients from plants: grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds. It's great, we both feel very healthy and it's nice not to be eating all those dead animals. If you're interested, an excellent reference work on this subject is Becoming vegetarian: The complete guide to adopting a healthy vegetarian diet, by Vesanto Melina, Brenda Davis, and Victoria Harrison (Summertown, Tennessee: Book Publishing Company, 1995).


Since the mid-1980s I've been doing sporadic work on both sides of my family: the paternal Slovak side and the maternal Dutch/Irish/German side. I've gotten much further on the former, and my cousin Cathy Donald and my Aunt Maureen have taken up working on the latter. Just before Christmas 1998, I printed out "2nd edition" booklets on a lot of the information I've collected on the Slovak side so far, and I mailed copies to about 2 dozen of my relatives. This revised edition (in 2 slim volumes, one for text and one for photos) incorporated a lot of additional information received from those who read the first edition, and it also included printouts of about 40 pages of scanned photos, many from the 1940s and 1950s. As before, I've heard back from several folks who have subsequently sent additional information to include in the file, and at some point I'll send out another revised and updated version of the file. It's good to know that this information is now in a lot of homes of family members and not only tucked away in county courthouses and attics!

History of Freeland, Pa.

Charlie Stumpf, a longtime local historian of the Freeland area, has given me his files so that I can work on a follow-up to his history of Freeland, which he published as a booklet a few years ago and which is still available locally (at The Corner Market, at the corner of Ridge and Main streets) for around $10, a bargain considering the wealth of information it contains. It's been a privilege to learn from Charlie on this project, and I look forward to a long and productive working relationship with him.

I've also been having some conversations with Charlie and Margaret Reczkowski, longtime Freeland businesspeople with correspondingly long memories of people, places and activities. Some information from those conversations will eventually show up on these webpages, too. Charlie Reczkowski is active in Freeland's civic life and has been a tireless and enthusiastic supporter of this and other local history projects.

I've put up some Freeland history webpages on this site at, and will add more information from time to time. These pages have been found by numerous folks who live in Freeland, who used to live in Freeland, or whose parents or grandparents or other family members live or lived in Freeland. I've received quite a bit of e-mail from people who have found these pages and who are either looking for more information or who have sent me some information to add to the files.  The website is growing, and so is my research project.

Guitar and Banjo

Progress on these musical fronts has been temporarily suspended, but I hope to get back to them before long! Life is sometimes a little too full.


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