I will begin with my great grandparents on my mother’s side. The Ritzke family. The name Ritzke is in itself quite unique. From Austria, Ritzke was not a name that many could pronounce around the United States, let alone Wyoming. John Ritzke was my great grandfather who married Josephine. Their courtship was not the longest in history. They knew each other for six weeks before they got married. They homesteaded in the windy plains of Wyoming decades ago. In fact, when they started to build the 2 room shanty (outhouse not included) Cheyenne was just a town of 10,000 (pop. now is 60,000) They settled around fifteen miles northwest of Cheyenne. Now, if you have ever been to Wyoming, you understand the adversities that they had to endure. Not only the wind that rivals any hurricane, but also the bitter cold winters that Wyoming is known for. The snow that does not come down nicely, but the snow that piles up because it blows in sideways. I presume it was not that bad considering the alternative. My great grandfather came from Austria on a ship with my great grandmother. And luckily they had missed the first one by ten minutes. ...
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... When a young girl at the age of 20 is unhappy, sometimes they can’t see the forest through the trees. She was unhappy and thought that the world had so much more to offer than a mechanic at a motorcycle shop. In 1985 they got a divorce. It took some time for Cindy to recover from the divorce. Both financially and emotionally. The divorce put a financial burden on her that she couldn’t recover from for years. The ability to raise me was burdened as well. She had to work at the local newspaper for twelve hours relying on my grandmother Maggie, my dad, and my grandparents on my father’s side to help in the raising me. I remember being at all of these other houses frequently, and not often seeing my mother. Or my father. It was mostly at my grandparents’ house that I remember spending a good deal of time. It wasn’t until I was five until my mom remarried.
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