Shock and Horrors! Crest Sullied!

No appreciation of his heritage, that is what it is!  It’s who he is and he doesn’t know it and worse, he makes fun of it.  I am in a state of shock to learn that the original pencil drawing, made by my father, of our family crest was stuffed somewhere in that crowded “hoarder’s” basement of Bob’s and allowed to become coffee stained and curled.  Why, I wonder, has it not been carefully preserved, framed and hung in a place of honor?  And, what is with these slurs at the family heritage through the libeling of the crest?  Indolent?  Family yarn?   I am mortified.  It is our/his heritage he scoffs at.  Webby (Jim), on the other hand, took the time and interest to learn some of the Webner history.  He would treat the crest with significiantly more reverence, I am sure.

Personally, I have always been proud of the crest and the fact that an ancestor was nobility, even if only for a short time.  In fact, I have been considering formally adding “von” back to my name.  “Mack von Webner” has a certain aristocratic sound to it, don’t you think?   Well, maybe not.

In my house I proudly display the oil painting of the family crest.  Dad painted it after he did the pencil drawing Bob has.   It is hung in the bar right next to the vodka so that I can admire it at least once or twice a day at eventide while mixing my martinis.   Dad was very proud of the family crest.  Thus the pencil drawing (which needs preserving and a great deal more respect for his work, if not for the value of the family history,) and the oil.   As Dad understood it, and told it to me (I believe he had no hard information on which to base his belief), our ancestor was a scribe for some Austrian royalty  (perhaps some obscure Austrian prince) and was given the title  “von” for his good work.  As none blood line titles were only good for a lifetime, like knighthood in Great Britain, the von was only good for the scribes lifetime and long gone before the Webners came to America. 

The “oven mitts” are merely Bob’s derisive imagination.  Those images appear as a result of the breastplate shield over hanging on the purple colored (nobility color, of course)  background on which the helmet and armor breastplate appear.  Indeed if one felt the need to describe them otherwise, a more sensitive person of and with familial pride would have identified them as gauntlets, the metal gloves worn with suits of armor which only noblemen were entitled to wear.  The ostrich plumes were, of course, fashionable accessories available only to the wealthy i.e. nobility and often a part of crests.  The “Stars of David”, are fancy fleur de lis, more signs of nobility, though if they were  Stars of David, that would only add to the family mystique.  Indeed, the Webner that came to America, from whom we all on this blog descend, was David Webner, a tailor.  David is often a Jewish given name and tailoring is often a trade populated by Jews.  Moreover, I have been told, on no particularly great authority, that the “ner” as in Webner is common among Austrian Jews.  A non-Jewish version of the name would be “Weber.”  I find it interesting to contemplate that we do have  Jewish lineage.  We are Americans, for sure, with Scotch, Irish, English, Austrian and who knows what other nationality mixes in our background.  Why not some Jewish ancestory as well? 

Unfortunately, the “von” title was not one of inheritance and we later Webners have had to work for our maintenance with no particular fancy recognition.  But, it is fun for we proletarians to think that we had that one shining moment of entitlement.  There is other family lore of nobility, as well.  My grandmother was a Ferguson who, lore has it, were direct descendents from King Fergus of Scotland, as, I suppose, are all Fergusons.  I have been too “indolent” to find out who King Fergus was, when he was or how important or not he was.  (Don’t all families have such tales?)

I do trust that now that it has been re-“discovered” and rescued from Bob’s basement, the family crest will be given proper respectbe framed and appear in a prominent place in Bob’s home. 


On The Gray, Windswept Shores Of Lake Erie, Vermilion, Ohio, February 25, 2012

It’s cold and blustery up here, with snow squalls rolling through.  Ohio’s Great Lake reflects the weather.  It’s been whipped into a lather of waves by a gusty wind that slaps and tears at all it touches — be it human faces, clothing, trees, or the swing set that creaks on the shoreline.  You can feel the spray 50 feet away.