Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 19, 2009

Dear Sis~
Just as I sat down to scribe this note several guys on my floor, watching the evening news, started yelling that New Mexico just abolished the death penalty. I don't know if the reports are correct, but it's a good sign if it's true. Still, until a state in the deep south follows suit, it will just be an occasional national aberration. Texas, for example, is so enamored with capital punishment that they view it as an integral aspect of their very nature. It will take another generation, I think, for the south to begin to lose its grip on the hangman's noose. Still, as I said, this is a good sign to the extent it denotes a trend, a shift in citizens' consciousness. New Jersey abolished capital punishment last year, and 5 or 6 states are seriously considering the same. Kansas abolished it about 30 years ago, then reinstated it perhaps 10, 12 years ago, and now they are on the verge of throwing it out again...
The seasons have turned quickly and winter has fled the coop, at least here in northern Florida. Out in the rec yard, I stripped to my gym shorts and bare feet, enjoying the blazing, cloudless sky, at least until the concrete began sizzling, forcing me to re shod my burning feet...
A friend of mine in Italy sent me some interesting genealogical information about our family back in Germany. As you know, the famous sculptor Gabriel Grupello lived out his later years in our family castle, the Castle (Kasteel) Erenstein until his death in 1730. You also know that Grupello created a beautiful bronze statue which still stands on the castle grounds today. What I did not know, until I read these particular papers, is that Grupello's daughter, Aldegundo Jacobina Grupello, married one of our direct ancestors, Peter Caspar Poyck, in 1725. So, we have a little Italian blood in our veins. (Perhaps that accounts for my deep love for Italy when I visited it in 1971). Moreover, Grupello himself was the son of an Italian cavalry officer and an Irish mother, so we also have some Celtic blood! By the way, while the castle was built around 1363, it came into our family in 1707 when Hendrick Poyck, schout (sheriff) of Merkstein somehow came into possession of it (I'm guessing he purchased it). Didn't know we had a sheriff in the family! Hendrick totally rebuilt the castle expanding it greatly, adding two round turrets and a chapel, along with a higher ring-wall. I'll send you these papers so you can make yourself a copy and return the originals to me. Since 1980, the castle has been part of the group of Camille Oostwegel Chateau Hotels & Restaurants.
Love, Bill

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Castle Erenstein is actually located in The Netherlands (in Kerkrade)and not in Germany! Very close to Germany but still in Holland none the less (haha...sensitive point for us Dutch people).

Take care!