Updated on Wednesday:
We had a family reunion this weekend! It was not a
large reunion, but a special one. It was a gathering of the descendants
of Gesephine Appleman and Josef Georg Rampp. The family had its
beginnings in Tettnang, Germany,
on the shores of Lake
Constance, which is shared by Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Five descendants from Germany were
here to share German history, customs, language and family history.
Matriarch of the family is Gisela Rampp. I “met”
her in 1987 after contacting all of the Rampps that could be located in
the United States. A
letter had been sent to her brother-in-law, and he sent it on to her and
the relationship began.
We corresponded a few occasions annually, each time
sharing a few more tidbits of our joint history from each side of the
Atlantic. Her son, Brian Rampp, who worked in the U.S. for
several years, contacted me and we arranged a small reunion last July at Canaan Valley.
Gisela was visiting them in January, so he brought
her to Canaan
for a two-day visit. We were immediate friends. Her son was born the
same week as my son, Bob, and her daughter, Diana, was born the same
month as my son, Jim. Her grand-daughter, Larissa, was born the same
month as my son Joe’s daughter, Drue.
A reunion was again organized for Canaan Valley
for July 2011. This was a favorite vacation spot for our Rampp and
The reunion got an early start with the arrival of
Jim and Karen Hart of Virginia and
Gerry Rampp of Medina, Ohio.
We shared a simple meal of hot dogs and homemade ice cream. We had hot
dog sauce, but when Diana asked for ketchup that was the first sign of
our joint heritage. Our grandpa ate ketchup on everything! Many
questions kept the excitement at a high level until almost midnight.
The next morning started everything up again with
the arrival of Jim, Lynn, Sally and Levi Morris of Grantsville, Tom
Brinkley of North Carolina, Joe and Aren Morris of Pennsylvania, Carleen
and Doug Webb of Virginia, Barbara and Jim Full and Stan Whitaker of
Parkersburg, and Brian and Christina Rampp of Germany and Virginia. Jim
took one group to the Sinks of Gandy, some went shopping with me, four
went canoeing/hiking, and a few relaxed in the cool mountain air at the
Everyone gathered again in the evening for Tom
Brinkley’s North Carolina barbecue,
leaving the wide array of Rampp chocolate and fruit desserts until after
the flying trip up the mountain to see the spectacular sunset.
Sunday morning, the group gathered for a leisurely
breakfast. Some attended an outside worship service overlooking Blackwater Canyon. The whirlwind of clean up and
departures ended this part of a memorable weekend.
But this was not the end. Our three ladies from Germany came
back to Grantsville to stay the night, and Larissa, 23, got to hold a
turtle and began to have thoughts of becoming a veterinarian. She had
seen turtles in the zoo, but never in nature. Her mom, Diana, liked the
four-wheeler ride along the ridge, and they experienced the smell and
feel of oil from a well and heard the sound of gas pressure.
Jim’s dog climbed into the car with Larissa, with
all intentions of cuddling, when she was leaving for the night. Monday
morning, the group left for
to visit the graves of Gesephine and Josef Rampp and also Marietta
History Society’s library. Gisela found proof of her husband’s Rampp
family living there, before the family left Ohio
for the oil and gas fields of
Oklahoma. She shared her research with the
library to give them more accurate information on the family.
The finale of the reunion was a visit to the Flag
Shop in Marietta. It was really
touching to see foreign visitors making selections to take back to their
families. Their car storage was loaded with red, white and blue items of
We all headed for I-77. They took the north bound
exit, with arms waving goodbye until they were out of sight. We felt
twinges of sadness to see our new loved ones departing, but, as we left
the south bound exit, we knew that we had good memories to sustain us
for another year.
This Week's Editorial:By Helen Morris:
Calhoun County Map