BC: Jason Gunter
FC: Gunter Family Heritage
1: CONTENTS | Coat Of Arms Family Tree Migration Map Family Timeline Family Symbol Family CD Cover Family Photos Family Recipes Relative Interview Poems Meaning of America Future Prediction Library Visit Stories
2: COAT OF ARMS
3: The Gunter coat of arms consists of three golden fleurs-de-lis presented on a bright red shield. The Gunter name itself is a variation on the name Gunther (the specific reason for this variation is unknown), which became common after King Gunther of Burgundy rose to power in the 5th century, and died in a fierce battle with Roman Emperor Aetius and his Hun mercenaries. The story was adapted into many legends, henceforth making his name quite popular. The fleur-de-lis is a common symbol throughout early European history, having many meanings from spiritual, artistic, and political importance, but almost universally represents power and unity. The shield is standard among coats of arms, embodying the era from which they came, but the choice of red as color could pertain to power, blood, and strength.
5: FAMILY TREE | 1923- Present
11: I think my family can be represented by an old pocket watch. We’re all pretty small, but never silent. We live in modest wealth, similar to the gold casing of a pocket watch. And in order to run smoothly, a pocket watch requires many different gears to work in sync. This represents my family perfectly. We’re all quite different in personality, tastes, hobbies, opinions, and style, but we work together to keep each other going. I also believe that the clock’s uniformity in keeping time represents our life as a family. Despite the fact that we’ve moved around the country quite a bit, my family’s routine and schedule throughout the years has stayed relatively the same. We visit the same vacation spots, join the safe sports teams, do the same electives, go to the same restaurants, etcetera. Not that there’s anything wrong with this, for it actually offers quite a bit of comfort and relaxation in an otherwise hectic schedule outside. But, like the watch, we are not something adventurous, bold, or new, and we may be made of varying parts, but we continue on day after day, clicking along contently.
12: NEW CD!
13: Chicago: You’re my Inspiration- This is the wedding song of Mrs. And Mr. Gunter, now happily married for over 20 years. Let this song take you back to a time of love, romance, and an era when people actually enjoyed what we now politely dub “80’s music”. Public Domain: Hot Cross Buns- Experience the nostalgia of Jason’s first ever song he played on the clarinet. Despite the squeaks, wrong notes, tuning problems, and several restarts, this track is sure to make you appreciate that his practice doesn’t sound nearly as bad now. Édith Piaf: Non, je ne regrette rien- This French classic will take you back to the humble days of Annie (Mrs.) Gunter’s childhood. Despite the fact that Annie is indeed Canadian, and not French, she considers herself a Frenchie on the inside because of her birth in Quebec and her speaking of French as a first language. For these reasons, in addition to other deep psychological issues, she forces her children to study French in high school Led Zeppelin: Going To California- While the Gunters may disagree on a variety of issues, the fact that classic rock is pure awesome is something undeniable. That being said, this Zeppelin classic also serves as narrative to the journey to California the family took from South Carolina to their new home. The kids especially faced much heartache from leaving behind old friends forever, while the parents worked out how they would get along in their new setting. John Coltrane: My Favorite Things- This song above all shows the distinctly unique tastes of Jason compared to the other members of his family. While his father still revels in classic rock and a bit of folk, his mother in whatever Sheryl Crow is spewing out at the moment, his brother in the latest synth band you’ve never heard of, and his sister in whatever her friends are listening to, Jason searches out for his own music, picking off bits and pieces from classic rock, indie, folk, alternative, electronic, and notably jazz. This Coltrane classic has been chosen in particular for it’s odd key, differing form, and its’ uniqueness as being one of the few jazz classics to originate from a song from The Sound of Music. Note that the maker of this CD is not advocating any sort of listening to the original Sound of Music piece. That would be dangerous.
14: This photo really highlights the differences in personality between the members of my family. My siblings and I look indifferent to the whole matter, while my mother smiles and my father thinks the situation worthy of being photographed. Generally, we still don’t enjoy hikes, such as this one at Sequoia National Park, but we go along with it because we really don’t have a choice in the matter. | This photo was taken on one of my family’s annual cabin stays at Lake Tahoe. We go there nearly every winter to ski, and enjoy the cold weather for a week. We take the same cabin every year, and go through the same events: a snow fight out back, at least two days on the slopes, and a visit to the local pizzeria to finish the whole experience. It’s just a tradition in my family.
15: This photo shows my brother and sister and I silhouetted against the background of San Francisco. I think I like this photo because it shows us isolated from the thousands of thousands in the city, bustling with activity; alone and relaxed in the quiet of the park. We stand as the focus of the shot against the hugeness of the city. Also, I love San Francisco; the art, the architecture, the weather, the music; and this depicts one of the several visits I try to make to the city each year.
16: Meatball Soup 1.5 pounds lean ground beef .25 cup flour 2 eggs 47 ounces chicken broth 31.5 ounces condensed consommé 1 teaspoon oregano leaves 2 medium sized onions. chopped 1 large ancho, dried 6 carrots, sliced thinly .25 cups rice .5 cups chopped cilantro .75 pound spinach 2 limes in wedges Combine beef, flour, eggs, and .5 cups of broth. Bring remaining broth, consommé, oregano, onions, and ancho to boil; reduce heat to low. Quickly shape meat mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter, drop into stock. Simmer meatballs uncovered for 5 minutes, then spoon off fat from surface. Add carrots, rice, coriander. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until carrots and rice are tender to bite. Meanwhile, discard spinach stems, wash leaves well, cut crosswise into thin shreds, add to stock and cook uncovered for 5 minutes longer, serve. Squeeze lime juice into soup. Makes 6-8 servings. This is just a dish that has become a staple in my family. I don’t know exactly when we started making it, but I found it on old, brownish paper, the recipe itself appearing to have been written by a typewriter. It’s a perfect dish after a cold day. The warmth of the soup, with the heat from the flavor and spice, allow you to relax and rejuvenate from the chill outside. I’ve enjoyed this recipe after many, many winters’ days.
17: Black Bean Chili Ingredients: 1 medium onion chopped 1 medium green bell pepper diced about inch pieces 1-1/2 cups + 1 TBS vegetable broth 6 medium cloves garlic, chopped 2 cans black beans, drained 1 can (8oz) tomato sauce 1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes, (do not drain) 2 TBS ground cumin 2 TBS red chili powder 2 TBS dried oregano 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen cup fresh chopped cilantro salt & black pepper to taste Heat 1 TBS broth in a medium size soup pot. Sauté onion and bell pepper in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring frequently, until translucent. Add garlic, cumin, red chili powder and continue to sauté for another minute. Add 1 cups broth and rest of ingredients, except cilantro and corn. Simmer for another 20 minutes uncovered. Add corn and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and season with salt & pepper to taste. This recipe is a more recent addition to the family records; we started having it a few years ago. But it represents a distinct change in the dietary habits of my family. We were never raised to be healthy eaters, and during the early stages of childhood, vegetables and fruits were never a focus. As a result, by age 10 my diet, and that of my siblings, consisted mainly of carbs and meat. This changed when my father received unfavorable cholesterol results. We looked at our family history, notably the several instances of diabetes and heart issues up the line, and decided it was time to change our diets. It began with radical changes, such as ‘charting’ servings of fruit and vegetables, and it was hard at first, but eventually we got to the point where our daily meals were at least healthier than before. Currently, my father has lost a good deal of weight, and is now planning to run a marathon in December. I think of this recipe as one of the starts in our healthier lifestyles.
18: Cecil Poilier | I was surprised, to say the least, when I learned recently that my great grandmother was still alive, and in fact thriving. Now a woman of 94, she resides in a Canadian nursing home. She was born in 1915, during the WWI era, which didn’t have too drastic an effect on her home of St. Jerome, Canada. Living in a crowded apartment with her mother and three sisters, she spent her time playing with makeshift dolls or enjoying a game of tag. Despite life being difficult due to dirty surroundings and a lack of necessities, she made it easily through her early years of schooling.
19: However, her education was limited, and despite doing well in her standard classes, she spent the rest of her time helping out at home. She would come to the household almost instantly after school and help her mother clean up, get dinner ready, and later she'd work at the local grocer to support the family financially. She didn't have much time to date due to her busy lifestyle. That all changed when she became 18. Cecil met a young man of 21. He was a busy man who worked as the town pharmacist. They married within a year, quite possibly because she so desperately wanted to escape her pitiful situation. True love could've easily been a factor, however, considering their marriage would last until his death. Now a married woman, she settled down as a stay-at-home mother, caring for children (she would have three), taking care of her new home, and enjoying a pleasant life of plenty. As a result of her husband's success, Cecil did not have to seek work outside the home. While most jobs were available to both men and women at the time, some roles such as those of higher business or medicine were expected to be performed by men. To her recollection, race was never a huge issue because racial diversity wasn't common at that time in St. Jerome. Looking back, Cecil was always interested in her husband's work, but never learned much about it except from his snippets of his day. She thinks she'd like helping people like he did. Outside of the home, when she got the chance, Cecil enjoyed participating in local women's groups. When she became a grandmother, she developed a close bond with her new family members, and enjoyed watching shows like 'Jeopardy' and the 'The Brady Bunch', dubbed in French, with my mother. Today she enjoys watching hockey at her assisted living home and spending countless hours on the phone with her daughter, my grandmother. She considers her life a success, and still finds happiness today. Her advice to my generation is to settle down, make a family, and be happy.
20: War War rages across the ocean, so they say. Defending freedom, saving America, “Getting’ the bad guys!”, they say. And I feel it within my home Don’t leave the damn dishes in the sink. Well, what did YOU do with your day. They say, and yet we’re just ‘discussing’, in the same way that atrocious acts have virtuous reasons abroad. And like feuds far away, I know that petty argument won’t break this family apart. For really, can small matters break blood unity? Can bombs thousands of miles away rock this ground? And yet I cannot forget entirely, for the bombs do hit, and I know that they hurt.
21: Leaves So I was raking the other day, Just raking along in the same old way. Leaves of brown, leaves of green, In a trance most serene. And as I raked, I thought to think, “Why make these leaves to let them sink?” “Why build them up to let them fall?” “What is their purpose if at all?” These questions sank, like leaves off trees, And as they crunched against my knees I thanked the tree for in its way It had given me a cheerful day.
22: Being an American is something with aspects that I take pride in as well as question. I am no doubt thankful for what it allows me: a guaranteed education, a protection of my rights from anybody, even the government itself, safety from harm thanks to our worldwide status, freedoms to express myself in nearly any means, and the ability to create my own identity and opinion. That being said, I still find reason and necessity to question the actions of America, and reserve the right to not support our actions despite patriotism. If we choose to go to war, create a new restriction on a certain people, or fund a new project, I always ask who was behind it, why it happened, why it was approved, and who benefits and loses as result. Even if the action directly benefits me, I choose to question it if it means someone ended up far worse as result. I feel no shame in doing this, for America was created in rebellion, and founded on principles of freedom and thought. My family has benefited greatly from being American and appreciates it thoroughly. My mother came from a struggling French-Canadian family, and moved to America at age 11. Here she was able to teach herself English using television and friends, study hard and excel in school, and then benefit from scholarships and funds provided. She received a college education and became a dentist. Similarly, my father came from a rural family, but he was able to go all the way to medical school and become a doctor thanks to the army, which paid for most of his schooling. America has offered a lot to them and as result to me, by providing our family with plenty of income to live happily. Still, like me, my parents are very politically aware, and always vote with awareness of the issue. We generally support the Democratic side of things, since we feel that is benefits the people of the nation the most, despite the fact that it may raise our own taxes. As Americans, we care for each other, are thankful for the opportunities it brings us, and are yet aware and skeptical of the actions America performs. | Being An American
23: WORLD PREDICTION | I can honestly say I do not have a concrete image of where I will be in the future. This is not because I don’t have any idea what I want to do with my life, rather, it’s because I’m fine with a multitude of paths. I’m definitely going to college, and most likely attending a UC, possibly better provided I get accepted. I will stay within California, to easily stay in contact with friends and family, and I will pursue some form of electrical or computer engineering. I want to do so because I’ve been interested in the dynamics of computers and digital mediums for years, and have taught myself basics in several programming languages already. After that, I’d utilize my education, get a job in the field, and settle down somewhere. Anywhere would be fine, but preferably a big city (San Francisco, New York), because I love the activity and chaos of them, and certainly not anywhere in the middle or southern US, because I know I wouldn’t get along with the climate nor the people. These are my basic plans for the future, and I have nothing more concrete. However, my goals depend on the progress of this nation, and I am uncertain about the positive future it has. Currently, the economy is stagnating or otherwise getting worse, other nations are passing us in terms of financial success and numbers of educated, we’re polluting our air and wasting the last of our fuels and resources, and refusing to move forward until it becomes an absolute necessity. That being said, I see the US slowly losing its foothold in the world as the only leading power, giving way to rising nations such as China and India. In the past we’ve relied on manufacturing to pull us out of hard times, or otherwise war (usually entailing a boon in manufacturing), but we’ve lost our standing as a producing nation, again giving way to China and India, and a modern global war would most certainly be nuclear, resulting in the end of civilization for many. Overall, this nation will most likely see a shift in its world standing due to its stubbornness to change. I think this stubborn attitude is prevalent worldwide too. No doubt we are advancing in terms of technology; we might even see new cars, computers, and houses akin to The Jetsons soon (alright, not really). But this advancement comes at the cost of our planet’s health environmentally. I think less and less land will become open for wildlife as the human population expands, and more species will die out and become extinct. We also face the issue of overpopulation beyond support; we could outgrow our food, land, clean water, and industry. These are serious issues that we fail to face now, so the chance that they become more severe in the future is likely. My view of human existence in the future worldwide is a bit pessimistic, but it reflects our current conditions and habits today.
24: Jason, the name Jason Wesley Gunter. A rather ordinary name, flows off the tongue easily, no question to its nationality or basic origins. However, the story behind it is indeed interesting, because it reflects a bit of the personalities of my parents. My father was generally level-headed and calm when it came to names. He preferred American standards: John, James, Steve, Roger, Kevin, Dylan, and etcetera. My mother, on the flip side, enjoyed names that she thought were more colorful and entertaining. Skyler, Wesley, Raquel, to name a few. Names that probably would’ve got me beaten up frequently through the course of elementary school. So, my parents battled it out, and eventually (and thankfully) my father won, dubbing me Jason. However, my mother got a small victory with my middle name. Still, I have been able to not acknowledge its existence for some time now. Regardless of the reasons behind my name, its true origins lie in Greek mythology. Jason was a legendary Greek who led the Argonauts in pursuit of the Golden Fleece, which would allow him to rightfully sit on the throne of Sicily. Thinking of this, I can find some reasons to like my name, and some reasons why it’s a misnomer. Like the fabled Jason, I work well as a leader and a quick thinker. I can handle difficult situations and guide others. However, I do not consider myself to be anything special or extraordinary. I am certainly not Godlike. Finally, traversing many perils and dangerous tasks for a Golden Fleece seems downright silly, regardless of its symbolic meaning. While I do like my name just for the sound of it, I don’t feel its roots apply to me personally. My name has served me well throughout the years, as well as a name can. It’s short, memorable, albeit a bit too common, and easy to write. I have no complaints. Overall, I’m just glad my mother wasn’t left in charge of the ordeal.
25: Birthday: My birthday was something of an oddity regarding the circumstances around it. My parents had spent the day at a Brookland street fair, when my mother simply said that ‘it was time’. Unfortunately, they had with them my older brother Zac, not yet even two years of age, and no where to put him. When they arrived at the hospital, I started to arrive a lot more rapidly than expected. So my parents couldn’t leave, meaning they were stuck with a young child completely unknowing of the process of birth, despite being not far from it. So, he was placed with the nurses, whom he entertained for a few hours, while I was born. These events seem significant within the context of a small story, but throughout the nation there were much bigger things happening that overshadowed the glorious day of my birth. Politically, an interesting legal bout was in the midst. Officers in California had previously used excessive force in the arrest of Rodney King, an African American man who was speeding on the highway. A security camera caught the arrest on tape, and the video showed four officers brutally assaulting King. Although they escaped early charges, leading to massive rioting, the federal trial was in its final stages as I was being born, and a day later, two of the officers, Koon and Powell, were found guilty and sentenced to 30 months in prison. The sentence was not for the beating itself, but the civil rights violations involved (Time). This trial occurred as I was being born, but I can honestly say it has no similarity to my life in any other way. To compliment this court room drama, a high octane movie about a man on the run for a crime he didn’t commit entered the final critical screenings on the day of my birth. The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford, portrayed the plight of Dr. Kimble, sentenced to death for the murder of his wife, who was actually killed by a man with “a mechanical arm”. However, an escape attempt by the other criminals leads his transport bus to a grisly crash, and allows him to escape. Kimble is forced to run from the law under the iron fist of Samuel Gerard, played by Tommy Lee Jones. Like any Harrison Ford movie, the focus is on action and suspense more than plot or character development (metacritic). I guess this reflects me in that I often attempt to focus on a task requiring mental tediousness, but am distracted easily by flashy things like television, music, and the internet. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed the film, though I certainly would not have around the time of my birth. Interesting events of technological matters were also prevalent. During my birth, Ian Murdock was preparing for the release of the open source Debian operating system. The OS utilized the Linux kernel, and served as a great tool and system for software developers and experimentalists young and old. It was finally released, a bit late, six days after my birth (Debian). This event actually carries some connection to me, as I look towards software development as a future career. It’s interesting to know that during my birth advances were being made in the subject. Still, this event is just one of thousands that occurred as I was being born, having really as much influence on me as anything else.
26: Hamster Lost In 3rd grade, as sort of a motivation for students to not cause a ruckus and to keep their grades up, my teacher purchased a cute little hamster. Like all youngsters to things cute and fluffy, we were instantly entranced by the creature. We even voted on the name, which despite overwhelming support was turned down. ‘Wet Willy’ didn’t seem so appealing to Mrs. Wong once she discovered its meaning. So Fluffy, or Billy, or whatever generic title she slapped onto the thing, was proudly displayed on the bookshelf next to the entrance of the classroom. And we all made it our sole effort to gain it as our prize. The premise was simple: whoever performed the best on the ‘mad minute’ of the week, a furious pop quiz involving simple times-table arithmetic, would be able to take the hamster home for the weekend. I lost myself in the numbers, doing nothing but dividing and multiplying and dividing again. When that quiz came, I was ready, and damnit, I wanted that hamster! However, my sentiment was not unique, and I was beat out by another kid. I went home that weekend empty handed. Interestingly enough, the hamster was not there when Monday came around. I noticed the previous winner talking to the teacher, looking down at his shoes the entire time, staring blankly. My thoughts on the matter ended with the bell for recess, like usual, regardless of the subject. My heart settled Tuesday when the hamster was returned proudly to its pedestal. Strangely, it appeared slightly different. Spots seemed misplaced or new altogether. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time; I just wanted to win it. And so once again the ‘mad minute’ came around, but this time success was mine. That Friday I raced to the minivan, eager to show my parents my new friend. Now, with the hamster literally within my grasp, I once again thought to the subtle differences in appearance to the hamster I thought to had known before. But what could be the cause? Age, growth, dirt even? As I contemplated this, the hamster gave me a swift bite to the finger. The sight of blood, no matter how miniscule, sent me into a frenzy, and I rushed out, haphazardly closing the cage door. I returned with a Rugrats ‘Reptar’ bandage wrapped around the fallen digit, eager to play with my young pet despite the previous clash.
27: It was then that I noticed the cage door open, and the cage empty. My mind rushed into a stream of panicked thoughts that can only be translated into “Oh shit” in modern English. I furiously swept the room, looked in every nook and cranny, and yet to no avail. I had to tell my parents. So I approached them, as they stood in the kitchen, drinking coffee and discussing ‘their days at work’. I discussed the matter looking down at my feet, staring blankly. My parents handled it a bit more calmly than I had, but still worried, however for different reasons. What if the thing dies and stinks up the house? Well, at least we’ll know where it is. They finally caught on to my state of mind and gave more comforting words. Hours passed, and still we searched. The house was small, so each room was searched again, and again, and then again, for good measure. As it approached my bedtime, hope dwindled and then faded. I approached my room sullen and down. It was at that precise moment that I heard a squeak, echoed from across the room. Sure enough, the hamster was sitting under my bed. With the hamster back in hand (and its mouth positioned safely away from my fingers), I paraded around the house, given many congrats before being sent back. It was late, after all. Monday came around, and I was actually relieved to get the guy out of my responsibility. Still, a 3rd grade ethic compelled me to reveal the events that took place that night. “Oh, well at least I don’t need to get another”, she said as she looked at a particular student. And yet it still took me years to know what she meant.
28: Sandwiches Several years back, during the summer, the time rolled around where, my parents both being free from work and us from school, camp, or otherwise, an obligatory nature vacation had to be taken. It didn’t matter whether any of us felt like it, or if the location was even of genuine interest, we just went. So we packed out bags and went out to Point Reyes for a weekend of camping, walks on the beach, and good old-fashioned family fun. The car ride up went smoothly as usual; I absorbed myself in the latest Pokemon game while doing my best to avoid car sickness, my sister was neck-deep in whatever Harry Potter was out at the time, and my brother was listening to his new favorite band, which he would systematically throw out later as not even worth the title of music in favor of his new new favorite band. My parents sat quietly. We started unloading our gear. My brother put on a backpack filled with our lunches for the day, then trotted off to sit on the gate to the trail. He must’ve been sitting precariously in some fashion, for a few moments later... Clang! Thump. %@#$ All of us startled, we put down or on our bags to investigate the situation. Zac was lying down on his back, in the process of dramatically getting up. However, quite unbeknownst to him, he was laying right on top of the backpack. “The sandwiches!”, my mother let out. And she was off. Bombarding him with demands to be more careful, questions on the status of the meal she spent so much time making, throwing in a few insults accidentally. My brother, never to be at fault, quickly turned the ordeal around, countering what kind of mother was she to be worried about lunch over her own son? How could she be so careless towards him? The rest of us stood watching, rather awkwardly. Tensions cooled and we got on the trail. The hike was somehow even more silent than the car ride up. We got to the beach eventually, set up camp, and enjoyed the sun, the water, and the sand. Soon enough one of us splashed some water around, we got the notion to build a sand castle, and then we were happy again, the feud just hours earlier already completely forgotten. I guess we really did need the vacation. The sandwiches were fine.
29: During my visit to the Fair Oaks public library, I discovered the benefits of having a quiet place to learn, as well as many interesting facts about my family history. When I first walked in I noticed the card catalog computers, so I began my search there by simply typing in the last name ‘Gunter’ in the author search. I was able to find a novel written in the 1970’s titled Texas Land Ethics. Despite the chance of any direct relation between him and I being minimal at best, I found the book and gave it a quick scan. It described a noble attempt to preserve the beauty and fertility of Texan land by abiding to several rules of a ‘land ethic’. In order to find a more broad family history, I searched their archives for the origins of the Gunter name. It is a variation on Gunther, a name derived from a 5th century King of Burgundy who died defending Worms and the Burgundian kingdom from the Huns, forever putting his name into legend. I found all of this in the book The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians. Finally, with time to spare before my father picked me up, I sat down with Snow Falling on Cedars and got my homework finished. So, in addition to learning a little about my roots, I enjoyed the peaceful study atmosphere of the public library. | LIBRARY VISIT
31: Thanks to: | My parents for surviving countless strands of questioning. My great grandmother for the interview. Various relatives for information received during Thanksgiving. The public library for providing a peaceful workplace. Jacqueline Grossbard for letting me steal this site. Various friends for reminding me of due dates. And you for reading this behemoth and giving me a good grade ( I mean letting me 'earn' one((setting myself up for disappointment))!