My family past and future
As 2014 comes to a close, I can't help but think on how fortunate I am.
I come from a line of humble, hard workers. Since the early 1700s, every ancestor from each and every line, prior to coming to the United States, lived in the Netherlands. None that I know of ever really made it big.
In fact, as far as I know, I've been the wealthiest Beekman ever in my line of ancestry. When I graduated from college and started my first job in the computer industry at a whopping $12,000 per year salary in 1973, I was already making more than my father.
In spite of lack of money, my family was well-founded, both in love and in deep-rooted faith in God. It's my heritage. Those two elements have allowed me, along with my siblings and their families, to be relatively free from so many of the disabling mental and social difficulties that engulf so many in today's world. Lengthy, divorce-free marriages with strong family ties are what I came to expect as the norm.
As I said, I am fortunate. I am blessed beyond measure in those terms.
During the 1990s I spent a lot of time searching my ancestral roots. I already knew that every line, all my grandparents ancestors, had come at some point from the Netherlands. Seven of the eight lines had lived in the northeastern province of Groningen. The Beekman family had come from the central part of the Netherlands in Gelderland.
Elbert and his wife Aartje left Ermelo in the Netherlands during August 1871 with two very young children. They came to America and settled in a small town called Grand Haven, on the western coast of the state of Michigan. It was a very common place for Dutch immigrants. In fact, the town of Holland, Michigan is just 15 minutes south.
Less than two years after arriving, my great-grandfather Albert was born. Nine more children followed, something quite common back then, however, the last three did not live longer than a few months.
A few years ago I was fortunate to find someone who had a picture of my great-great-grandfather, Elbert Beekman, and his family. The picture is circa 1902. One child was not in the picture.
Elbert is in the middle of the bottom row with his wife to the left and my great-grandfather Albert on the far left of the first row. Albert actually lived long enough for me to get to see him when I was a young boy.
Family Carrying My Future
We had gone to live in southern California a few years back so we could be close to our grandchildren. Then my son was offered a job in Houston that was too good to pass up. So, away they went. We were left in a place we really didn't want to be.
But the opportunity came again and now we spend every day with family.
My future family, my grandchildren, are one reason I started this business. I want them to see that life does not have to be 40+ years of working 8 to 5 jobs. If life as we know it continues, I want them to realize that there are other, better opportunities.
I have three grandsons (the third having a middle name Reijer after Elbert's father Reijer, by the way) and one little granddaughter. They are precious.
I am so fortunate. I am blessed. And now I have a wonderful extended family with WA. Thanks to each of you who has helped me, supported me, and encouraged me.
Keep reaching for your goals. Happy New Year!