Dreams – An Introspective

Dreams – An Introspective


Prussian born John Everett started out as a sailor at the age of 13.  He loved traveling by sea and had plans of visiting every major sea port in the world.  At the age of 28, he had almost accomplished this dream.  The United States West Coast contained the only major sea port he hadn’t yet visited.  This was now 1849, in the middle of the California Gold Rush days.  There was no hotter destination for any ship then was San Francisco.  But then John got distracted by a pretty face.  Helen Tanser was on the ship, traveling from Liverpool to New Orleans.  That was John Everett’s last voyage.

Johann Tillack was also Prussian born.  His family had worked the same small farm for many years.  32 year old Johann, along with his mother and three brothers, set their sights on the Australian Gold Rush, which was in full swing in 1855.  Johann had high hopes for this new dream.  And to some degree, he was successful.  He told of picking small gold nuggets right out of the stream with his pocket knife.  But Johann liked to spend his free time in the saloon.  The combination of drinking and gambling had soon left Johann as broke as a poor Prussian farmer.

Not long after emigrating from England to Eastern Canada, 16 year old Frank Rubbra and his brother set out looking for adventure.  Soon, they were both down in South Africa, fighting for Great Britain in the Boar War.  His adventure was cut short when he contracted Yellow Fever.  He lived about 8 years longer, but he never really recuperated from his illness.   

These three men, all of whom are my ancestors a few generations back, were then young and full of anticipation as they pursued their dreams of adventure and success.  As I have studied their lives along with my other ancestors, preparing to tell their life stories in a historical novel for my children, I have seen the pattern repeatedly.  The youth have ambitious dreams for the future.  Then they find interruptions and obstacles to those dreams, postponing their fulfillment.  Then subtly, compromises creep in, stealing away the original dreams and offering something else.  Eventually, realization dawns that life isn’t happening as was anticipated when young. 

The lives of these three men, all of whom are my grandfathers a few generations back, have become a symbol of my own failures and disappointment.  Like John Everett, the sailor, I had goals when I was young that probably won’t be realized.  There are other things, more important, that now require my limited time and money.  Johann Tillack, the gold miner who lost it all in the saloon reminds me of my own weaknesses and of the many mistakes I have made (and do make).  If I could do it all over, I would be so much closer to realized dreams.  And Frank Rubbra’s lingering sickness which eventually took his life makes me think of the obstacles in my life that I have no control over.  Circumstances in the past and present that seem to dictate the future.

Now I’m watching my own children maturing as they enter this same phase in their lives.  I hear of some of the dreams and plans that they are formulating.  I watch their successes and set backs.  I give advice when I can.  I want them to find their dreams more than I want my own.  When I hear of their successes it makes my day.  And when I learn of problems, I think it troubles me more than them.    

I think my father said it all, when he told me at my latest visit, “When it comes down to it, the only thing that really matters in this life is our relationships and family.”  I have pondered that statement a lot.  

When John gave up seeing San Francisco Bay to marry Helen, I think he thought it was a pretty good trade.  Then when their children came along, his “sea legs” grew roots even further down into terra firma. 

Amidst all his mistakes, Johann did one thing very right.  He found the love of his life, Mary Sophia.  Anything to do with drinking and gambling became a thing of the past, as they raised a large family. When Johann died in 1904 at the age of 81, he was surrounded by a large circle of family and friends who loved him.  That was worth far more to him than all the gold in Australia.  He died a very rich man in what really matters.    

            Even Frank Rubbra, returned to Canada, found the love of his life and started his own family before his untimely death.  He called his little girl, who was my grandma, his “Little Blue Bell.”  His sickness robbed him of much, but it didn’t rob him of what my dad says really matters in this life, family and friends… loved ones who will always remember and miss.

I have thought about my Beautiful Wife and my own children.  My Dad’s words ring true to me there as well.  I would trade any of my own goals and dreams in a heartbeat if it would help them realize theirs.  But the truth is my big wonderful family is the realization of my fondest dream.  It’s is no wonder to me, that some of my less important dreams of yesteryear have been put on the eternal back burner.  I guess from that perspective, in some ways, I might even be part of the fulfillment of John’s, Johann’s, and Frank’s best dreams.


19 thoughts on “Dreams – An Introspective”

  1. Kia ora,  how true, it really is family that matters.  The world is so busy these days, we can easily forget to value them. I have a small family but a very very big extended family.  My father is one of seven, his father is one of nine.  So I have lots and lots of cousins and we all pretty well know each other.  Thats the beauty of Maori families, much like the Irish I hear, there is a very long grounded tradition of keeping in touch.  Mostly around the Marae (community/family hall)  for weddings and tangi (funerals) when everyone gather.  It becomes so important that people take days off work to attend, and there are a lot of traditions and tikanga around the events.  Tangi usually run over three days to enable all to attend, we gather and talk about the deceased good and bad, lots of singing and lots and lots of food and catching up.  so all in all Im very lucky.Keep up the good work and value all your friends and family.ka kite ano Wendy

  2. Glad to see a post out of you.  I know you’re busy writing your book for your children, but I was hoping that maybe you might let your siblings have a glance at it too. It’s a good thing to learn from history.  That way you don’t necessarily have to repeat it.  Frances maybe didn’t take the best care of himself after he contracted Yellow Fever.  You’ve learned and are taking very good care of yourself, as we all should.

  3. Hello,
    I was really pleased to see a new post.  This was excellent.  I have had many dreams and several are sitting on back burners as I am realizing the truest dream of raising four more children when our older three are already grown!  God knew my heart’s desire and has answered it in ways I couldn’t have begun to imagine ten years ago.  Seeing my children reach for their dreams and accomplishing things warms my heart beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.  I still have dreams and God willing they will come off the back burners in time.
    You really captured a lot of my own feelings in this post.  🙂
    May your dreams come true in God’s own time…

  4. What a wonderful way to put life into perspective!  I’m sure most of us have the same dreams and realizations throughout our lives. The stories of your ancestors sound similar to some of mine.  I appreciate the sacrifices they made for me, even though they didn’t know it at the time.  Thanks for the visit and kind words.  I still have a few bushels of apples if you want to come get some. 🙂 Kent

  5. Life has a funny way of "rearranging" our original dreams of youth and many times sacrifices must be made for the sake of loved ones.  As you have said we find ourselves confronted with obstacles that detour us.  One must leave themselves open for opportunities that may arise along any detours.  I had always been a runner up until my surgery but never competed in organized runs (and I am not really competing now it is a "get it done type thing for me"). After the detour of my back surgery I realized this may be my last chance at 46 to be able to accomplish this type of activity.  I hope to be able to continue, but like most things in life, we can’t decide what will be involved in the next detour.  If unable to run, I will find another something along that detour to take it’s place.  I will be blogging again about running and hopefully about techniques and such.  I am not an expert but I have learned many things so far.  Thank you for coming by and commenting.  You are welcome to stop by anytime!!   So nice to meet you Ron and wonderful post!Sheila from Hurricane Lane

  6. I grew up on a farm and I still haven’t figured out how to back up a trailer!  Thank goodness Dave knows how.  Never ceases to amaze me how you guys can do that.  haha

  7. Hello.  I am visiting you by way of Cheryl’s space.  I looked at your family photos.  You have a great family.  I loved reading this blog; you are truly happy and it shows in your post.  May God bless your wonderful family.

  8. Hi Ron,
    I know that dreams and ambitions are important even though I have always been one who kind of just lets life happen and I have been mostly happy with what has happened. It reminds me of an old saying or proverb (I’m not sure where I heard it) "Men make plans and God laughs!
    Actually you may think time is going by faster than it really is… because we have 2 business that I do the books for I have 2 "year ends" to deal with!! The painting business is May 31st and the paint store is Oct 31st. Then throw in the personal income tax deadline and you see that I am stressed all year long,haha.

  9. Everyone dreams  that he /she could own a good family and sucessful career.
    When career broke,we come to our family while family broke,nowhere to go.
    “When it comes down to it, the only thing that really matters in this life is our relationships and family."  I found it true  in life. Whatever happened,good or bad,we will always turn to MaMa ,PaPa or friends for help and advice.

  10. Hi Ron, It was great to hear from you.  You are the best kind of Dad there is. This was a beautiful post.  Your family is so blessed.

  11. Kia ora Ron,  thanks for the visit.  I hope you have a good day today.  Keep that family of yours close.  Maybe Ill get over one day to see you and valarie and we can go to an art exhibition together.  Ill start on the ground floor and you can start on the top floor …we can stop when we meet up for a coffee in the middle and then pass each other by and see the rest of the exhibits AND to top the day off… whoever wants to leave can when they want to and DONT have to wait for the other….ohh bliss…. the best way to see an art exhibition TOGETHER.  HA hahahahahaha.  by the way your not slow, appreciating art at your own speed is the only way to go.
    ka kite ano. Wendy

  12. What a great blog !!!! Thank you for a wonderful read. Your Father is a wise man, i too agree that
    relationships with family and friends are worth far more then their weight in gold!!!
    I am much more content seeing my children succeed  and live lifes adventures then to have that for myself.
    Actually, it is an adventure just watching them grow, mature and work towards their own goals.
    Thanks again…….That was great!

    Hi Ron!!
    Thanks for stopping by. I knew that you haven’t a protest song. About blues, (I hope I didn’t understand wrong) I am listening opera instead of it, lol.
    It is always nice to read your experiments in life. Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers, Zeynep xx

  14. hahahahaha
    Dave enjoyed your comment, too.  🙂  Barnyard sunshine??  haha
    Hope all is well.   Prayers for your dad…

  15. Hi – since you mention Aunt Gladys in your story, I’m going to take a huge leap and guess that you’re my 2nd cousin – and since I’ve spoken before with Keith and his wife, I’m guessing you’re related to either Faye or Wynone?   I like your story of my gr-grandfather – I hope you don’t mind if I borrow some of it for my genealogy.  Also, if you would like any family pictures, I would be happy to email you them – I sent some originals to Keith some time ago, but I have everything scanned.You have a great blog site – thanks for posting :-)~Cynthia

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