Resource Retirees

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This photo was taken on the ship in transit from Germany to Ellis Island. My grandmother is in the center with my father next to her on the right. Continuing right are my two aunts. (I do not know who the young lad is, sitting, head turned, and looking at my grandmother.)

My father and his family immigrated to the United States from the Baden-Württemberg area of Germany. The entire family took their very first footsteps in the United States at Ellis Island. Afterward, they made their new home with numerous other Germans in central Ohio.

Little English was spoken in my grandparents’ Columbus, Ohio, household, but the German culture was showcased front and center. Abundant gardens, both edible and ornamental, were part of their daily routine, as was cooking in the very German tradition.

Sunday card games while drinking locally produced lager was a “can't-wait” weekly event. My grandmother would use her milk can to get the lager. (I have that milk can to this very day.) She would wipe butter along the inside rim of the milk can. With the can in hand, she would send my two aunts off to the corner tavern to have it filled with draught beer for the upcoming Sunday card games.

"Why would you wipe the milk can with butter, Grandma?" I remember asking her when she shared that story.

"Die Butter gibt mir wenigen Schaum un mehr Bier...less foam...and more beer," she replied with a smile.

I miss the opportunity to hear more stories like this one. By the time I was serious about hearing family stories and learning more about my genealogy, many family members were gone.

In that spirit, I want to create every opportunity for others to hear treasured stories like this one. Those stories can only come from the folks who lived them or heard first-hand accounts. In MBAA, more often than not, those folks are the association’s retirees.

Our retirees are a valuable but underutilized resource for helping provide answers to the growing number of heritage inquiries that we receive from scholars, writers, researchers, and genealogists. I am working with MBAA Headquarters to establish “Resource Retirees.” Our Resource Retirees will consist of a retiree email list of those who are willing to receive occasional communications containing inquiries on heritage. If a Resource Retiree happens to know something about an inquiry—if they can help shed a bit of light or perhaps provide a lead—we will have been successful.

This month, I will be sending an email to all listed MBAA retirees, asking them for permission to be included as an MBAA Resource Retiree. My hope is that through their willingness to participate, we can further offer researchers the benefit of our 127 years of excellence in the brewing industry. Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, joyous, and prosperous New Year!

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