said, “See how brown I am.” Then after a sufficient enough time for me to appreciate the
different tones of our respective flesh colors and perhaps some indication from me that I
was in agreement . She would pronounce, “ I am part Indian you know “. This was not said
to say, she had Indian blood and I had Indian blood, but rather that she was different
from me. I think you will agree an odd thing for a mother to tell her child but in my
childhood mind it resided comfortably as fact . A fact like Santa Claus maneuvering his
way down chimneys and tooth fairies leaving dimes beneath my pillow. In fact it remained a
fact for a pretty long time in childhood years, until at about age six when the Age of Reason
supplanted the World of Wonder and Fact became Fiction. And there it would stay, as fiction, for again a long time nearly - fifty adult years when; a dimly recalled memory of a fantasy game between mother and child resurfaced in my mind. Upon returning home after enough years past to make what was once familiar fresh and strange, I picked up a book about the history of Mendham.
I know all of you here know my mother’s name is Mary and a few of you may even know all
her legal names: Mary Louise Willits Vogel Marsh. But I would guess nearly all you
actually called her Minsi and, this is where it get’s interesting:
Names, we are taught, are proper nouns used to denote a particular person, place, or
I’m not sure where Mom first picked up the name Minsi. I heard it was in Florida at the
start of World War 2, after the tragic death of her first husband, Prentice, a year after they were married. She was bunking with a best friend from Milwaukee - also named Mary. Maybe is was so
the boys quite a few and mostly pilots it seemed could distinguish between these two pretty blondes, or, perhaps, so she could be born again and leave some of the pain of lost love behind. In any case out of pain or expediency my mom as “Minsi”, came into being at about 1942.
L e n n i L e n a p e was the name of the "Original People" that inhabited New Jersey
before the first Dutch settlers. Within the greater tribe of the Lenni Lenape three smaller
tribes dominated South, Middle and North Jersey. They were respectively known as the
Unalatka, The Unami and the Munsee. The Munsee were also known as the Minisink
and more commonly the Minsi.
The Minsi were the most warlike tribe of the peaceful people of the Lenni Lenape. The
Minisink are perhaps best remember now for the the Minisink Trail. This well beaten
path, said to be from two to three feet wide, meandered through the dense forest and,
undergrowth from the coast of New Jersey, over the Raritan River, to Springfield, NJ.
They say we die twice: once when we take our last breath, and again when our name is
uttered for the last time.
Names are words spoken in Space
Vibrations set loose in the ether of Existence
Trails are footprints of passing people.
People pass, We Pass
All that is left are the vibrations of words spoken
and the names we were known by:
Thanks to all who attended the service. Your presence was much appreciated.