Two Tales – The Story of Daniel – Special Episode

These are two stories that I wrote  some time ago. They were part of an article I wrote back in 2010. When thinking of ‘The Story of Daniel’ I wanted to tell the stories everyone would like and relate with well. However, I wanted to tell the whole story about Daniel. I wanted to share events and history that some people, most, would never have heard.

These are two of those stories. I heard both, from my mother. One when I was very young, and she retold it often (the one about the little Native American girl. The other one, the one about my father, I asked him about and he confirmed that what I had been told was true. He indicated that there was “more to the story…´ but he passed away before I ever heard his additions. I am considering a couple more, stories from the past.

If these stories are well received, and nobody is upset or bothered by my telling, I will consider sharing even more of these ‘histories’ of the Hanning Family. I hope that you enjoy reading them and if you find mistakes… Please leave me a comment. I went over these two stories, but I am very tired of late.

As always, Thank you for your kindness and support.

The First

A young Irish lad, who had just arrived in New York via Ellis Island, was working hard to learn  to speak American. HE was very happy with coming to America, and becoming an American. It was 1929 and opportunity abounded, in the city of New York, for young men willing to work hard. Irish immigration had seen it’s difficulties, but most of that prejudice was a part of a past he had not personally witnessed. Life was good for Oscar Hanning, and all that was lacking, in his new life, was a wife and a family of his own.

One spring day Oscar meets a vibrant and educated young woman from Germany. She was not like the lasses that he had meet so far. Her name was Betty Schulemberg, and Oscar planned on asking for her hand in marriage. This is when Oscar’s wonderful life in his new home took a turn. A turn that would change his life in unimaginable ways. You see Betty was from a Jewish family, from Germany, and Oscar had been raised, as Irish boys are, Catholic.

In the months that passed, prior to their marriage, Oscar found himself without work and shunned by his family and friends. Evicted by his landlord and frequently harassed and beaten by people he once knew as friends. Betty’s life had taken a similar route. Even though Oscar had agreed to, and begun, a conversion to Judaism Betty’s parents were steadfast against marriage to an ‘outsider’. They insisted that no Irish convert to Judaism could be a good husband for her, or Father for her children. Her Father forbade her from marrying Oscar Hanning, and her mother begged Betty to find a ‘nice Jewish boy’ from the neighborhood to marry and make her Father happy.

This was paradoxical, because Oscar (through his studies) was actually finding his new faith fit  him. As a boy certain aspects of his Catholic faith always confused him and created conflict. However, the Jewish people came from a long and tortured past, but managed to keep a loving and nurturing home and family. He had found great wisdom and strength in what he learned in his studies of Judaism. Oscar was moved by the story of Abraham and Isaac; the birth of the Jewish people and Hebrew nation, and asked Betty to tell it to him again and again.

Oscar took to wearing his Yarmulke to worship and back. This proved to be a worse idea than Oscar had ever imagined. It was to be dark night for Oscar. He was walking home, from Temple. As thoughts of worship shifted to thoughts of a more corporal nature, his head became lost in thoughts of getting home and sitting down to the dinner Betty was (most likely) making for him this very moment. Suddenly there was a sharp pain in the back of his head and he found himself on his knees grabbing the back of his, now sore, head. His vision was undoubling when he heard a familiar voice;

“Hey, Ooscor, whatcha doin wearing that sissy hat?”

Followed by another even more familiar voice, that of his cousin;

“Yeah, Ooscor, whatcha doin with that Kike hat on your head? Don’tcha know, lill brother, that’s a sure way of getting your ass kicked?”

Oscar went to stand up, and ‘explain’ things to his cousin. He never got the chance. That night two men that Oscar; had been born and raised around, crossed the Atlantic Ocean to chase a dream with, and had loved as much as any good Irish son should, beat Oscar Hanning to within an inch of his life and dumped him on his door step for his wife Betty. For her to find the next time she stepped outside to check on Oscar. Oscar never wore his Yarmulke, to or from worship again, but it didn’t matter. This may have been the first beating Oscar survived, at the hands of close friends and family, but it wasn’t the last.

How long ago, it seemed, when their lives were without conflict, but also without love. After six months of Oscar and Betty trying hard to make their relationship work, with their families and friends, they decided things must change. Six months of Betty fighting with her Father and holding her Mother’s hand as she cried at the thought of loosing her only daughter to a ‘Bad Marriage’.Six months of sparse work for Oscar and regular beatings for his betrayal of his Catholic faith. Oscar and Betty moved to Columbus, Ohio. To start life over, and raise their family. They had one son, Kenneth Urban Hanning. Father of Kenneth R. Hanning, Darrell K. Hanning and Daniel L. Hanning.

For the next thirteen years Oscar worked hard to fit into the world his love had guided him to, but even after moving to Columbus his pain and suffering did not stop. Being Irish but of Jewish faith, he seemed to never completely fit in to either world. Yes the Rabbi and the congregation accepted him as one of their own, but he never found his way to acceptance among the Temple’s Elders. His love had brought him to a faith that separated him from his family, his identity, and his past. The only place that he felt truly at home? Was when he was with Betty and his new son Ken.

The only place he could find work was making moonshine in tubs in the basement of his home to sell. This new line of work did not mix well with his alcoholism. And soon his marriage, and his relationship with his young son, were lost in the battle. A battle that started with loving a woman of a different faith and ended in a shattered family and dashed dreams.

The Second

The year is 1904. The location is little know place just outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. Known as the Mescalero Apache Reservation. The still, of the turn-of-the-century night, is broken by screams. These are not screams of fright or fear. They are the screams that come with the birth of new life… and the ending of another. On this night a female child is born. Her name is Margaret Nora Gary. Her mother is an Apache Native American (born to the tribe’s newest Chief). Her father is a Dutch immigrant brick layer. But all is not as it should be, this night. Shortly after giving birth to a beautiful and glowing baby girl. Her mother, and the daughter of the Apache nation, dies. Leaving Margaret without her mother, and her father without his wife and love. For the rest of his life he can not look upon Margaret without seeing his now dead bride. This taints their relationship for life.

Margie (as she has become known) finds herself a child of two different, and warring, worlds. Being raised by her paternal Grandmother, Margaret is not allowed to visit the reservation (just outside of town) where she was born.  She longs to know of her mother, and her mother’s people. To know them, she understands, is to better know herself. Her father is away with work, much of the time, and she is left in the care of her elderly grandmother. Margie is raised as a ‘White’ girl. She is told not to speak of her real mother, or where she was born. She is made to wear frilly patterned dresses, but she longs to wear clothes like the girls she sees from the reservation. She listens to the jazz and big bands on the radio, but longs to hear the drums and songs of her people.

She, also, quickly learns of the ‘White Peoples’  hatred and distrust of the Apache. Margie sees how the Apache people are treated by shopkeepers. How they are not allowed in many stores, and watched and monitored in those they are allowed to shop. Humiliated and spat on in the streets and thought of, by most white Americans, as ‘drunken redskins’ or ‘horse stealing Indians’. At a very young age Margie understands how important it is for her to keep her little secret. People in her town think of her as a white woman, and Margie knows it is best to keep it that way. Still, she deeply longs to know of her mother, her other family.

Then Margie learns, in school (white man’s school), of the massacre of her people. The loss of their native lands. As she reads of each victory for the White man, she recoils in pain and confusion. There is no one in her life, but her elderly grandmother, to ask about what she is learning in school. Her grandmother tells her that;

“Them Injuns deserved to die, they were all savages. Didn’t believe in God and the Lord Jesus Christ! Best you give it no never-mind.”

This does not satisfy Margie’s curiosity about herself, or her people’s past. She knows where she might be able to get the other side of the story though, the reservation!

Being the willful and clever girl she is, Margaret eventually finds her way free to explore the reservation. When she is twelve years old is when she first ventures on the the reservation where she was born. It was a day that she remembered as clear as if it had happened yesterday, when she told me of it when I was eight. Her Dad was away on one of his many masonry projects, in North Texas. Grandma had a little too much to drink, after lunch. That would be the time that Margie could make good her escape. She had been waiting for this opportunity for as long as she could remember. She had been given a bike, for last year’s birthday. She got on it and pointed in the direction of the reservation. She had put on one of her best dresses, combed her hair neatly and even used her fathers shoe buff to clean her Sunday shoes. Margie wanted to look her best when she meet her Mother’s people. for the first time.

It took Margie more than two hours to ride out to the reservation. She passed long stretches of road with nothing on the horizon for miles, just cactus and sand. It was an hour or so before dusk, when Margie reached the edge of the reservation. She was confused, there was just a sign (and a rusty half standing wire fence) that tells you that you are leaving the United States of America and are entering the Apache Nation Reservation. Why were there no guard posts or soldiers posted here? From what she had read, and been told, these were very dangerous heathen people. As she processed this thought, she found herself inside the reservation.

Shock, that is what Margie felt when she rode into the reservation. Her mouth feel open, and her peddling slowed to a stop. Never before, in her life, had she imagined what she saw before her. Yes, there were  people in colorful native clothing, but they were of poor quality and not well maintained. As well, there were shanty houses instead of the beautiful wigwams she had imagined. There was sewage running down the side of the streets and the smell was making her sick to her stomach. Just as her stomach began to toss and turn. She noticed several of the ‘less savory’ people on the street were approaching her. It was Native Americans wearing dirty and worn ‘white peoples’ clothes.

She starts to back up, on her bike, when she hears mumbling in Apache. Suddenly her regress is halted; someone has come up behind her and stopped her bike. She looks over her shoulder to see a very tall, very thin, very old Indian with brilliant eyes and beautifully adored hair. She was making note of his clothing, native and with many symbols and markings on it, when two things happened. First, she felt the warm and firm embrace of the large hands of the Indian behind her. The second was the dirt clod that smashed into her freshly cleaned and ironed dress.

“Half-Breed! We know what you are, Margaret!”

This yell had come from one of the Indians blocking her way forward. There is more shouting, from those in front of her. Most of it in Apache, and she does not understand what is being said, but she is certain that it is not nice. More clods of mud and dirt strike her, as the crowd in front of her grows closer. Fear and confusion are flowing over her in waves, she falters on her bike, begins to cry when she hears a deep and fluid voice speak behind her.

It is the man that holds her, and she cannot understand his words but she can tell his is reproachful to the Indians in front of her. There are more screams of “half-breed” and yelling in native tongue, when suddenly she feels she is being lifted up,bike and all.

“It is time for you to go, my Little Sparrow. My heart is filled with joy at seeing you, and sadness for what you see and hear today.”

It is the voice of the large Indian behind her, he has lifted her around and back down the road facing out of town. He is very strong, but very gentle. He smells of leather, fresh air, and campfires. Nothing like the Indians she has passed in town, there is something haunting her in this smell. The large Indian has set her safely on the road, as dirt clods and garbage strike his back. Carefully he leans over to her ear, still shielding her for the angry Indians, and he whispers in her ear:

“It is time for you to go, my Little Sparrow.” He says again.

“Do not judge your people by the actions of these few haters, Little Sparrow. There is love for you among your people, just not here… and not now.”

The people that had been in front of her are now right behind the old Indian, and fear begins to grip her again. She feels the Indian gently push her bike down the road, and hears the Indian say;

“Now fly Little Sparrow, fly! Peddle your bike quickly, and go home.”

Margie peddled her bike as quick as her legs could, faster than she had ever peddled before flying down the dirt road. Behind her she hears yelling and arguing, and above it all the deep voice of the Indian that just saved her from a fate she dare not imagine.


End Tale Two

That brings us to the end of today’s ‘Special Episode’. I am recording the video, of me reading this episode, as you are reading. I will get it through post and published just as quickly as my upload and download speeds permit. I hope that I will have the video up and ready by the end of the day. 

Thank you for your kindness and support.

About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

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