Daily Archives: December 14, 2013


The roots of my family tree, both sides, the Philbricks and the Eatons, are deeply embedded in the colonial soil of what is now the United States. There was an Eaton who came over on the Mayflower, but as I remember it, my mom said it wasn’t one of our family, directly. I do know, though, that the Eaton we come from was settled in Watertown, Mass., by the mid 1630s.

The Philbricks were also there in Watertown, probably a couple of years earlier than the Eatons when Thomas Philbrick, known as “Thomas the Emigrant” came to New England’s shores around 1630.

I don’t know too much about the Eaton side, more’s the pity, but a lot of people put a lot of time into exploring the Philbrick lineage. There’s a group called “The Philbrick/Philbrook Family Association.” I discovered them while bored at work one day many years ago. I wrote to them and discovered that I’m a direct descendant of Thomas. The association sent me a very detailed genealogy tracing the family all the way back to the 11oos!

Naturally, with roots so deep, it was inevitable that quite a few famous people who were descendants of Thomas evolved. There’s the notable author, Nathaniel Philbrick who wrote: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War, and a host of others. Herbert Philbrick was a famous counterspy during the “Red Scare” of the 40s and 50s and had a T.V. series I Led Three Lives.

It seems that a lot of the descendants of Thomas have a way with words. Besides Nathaniel, there’s Rodman Philbrick who is an award-winning author of books for both adult and young-adult readers. He wrote Freak the Mighty, which was made into the movie The Mighty, starring Sharon Stone, Harry Dean Stanton, and Gillian Anderson.

Poet Laureate Robert Frost was the 7th great-grandson of Thomas the Emigrant, and, therefore directly related to me.

Another 7th great grandson of Thomas is Sir Winston Churchill! Besides his political career, Sir Winston was also a Nobel Prize winner for literature.

But of all my famous relatives, the one I hold in highest esteem is Frank Randolph Cady, an 8th great-grandchild of Thomas. That name might not ring any bells for you, but if you ever watched Petticoat Junction or Green Acres you’d certainly recognize the general store owner, Sam Drucker.





     We seem to linger in manhood to tell the dreams of our childhood, and they vanish out of memory ere we learn the language.





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I think this is the first time I’ve ever posted something someone else has written. This was done by Kris Cunningham, another expat to the area. I met Kris and her husband, Joel, a year or so ago when I had my motorcycle up for sale, and have spent some time talking to the two of them at some functions held by a Yahoo Group called “Gringos in David.”

Kris and Joel are having WAY too much fun down here. Recently they visited a remote hostel deep in the rainforest in Costa Rica, Rambala Jungle Lodge. I thought my readers would find her post interesting, so click on this to see how some people live down here.


There are a lot of people here in Panama that live in the same conditions that Javier does. It’s true that most people in the States wouldn’t choose to live like this, and most would look at Javier’s living conditions with a bit of horror. And while I wouldn’t choose to live like this, I also feel that he’s a lot better off than the homeless in the States. He has a place of his own.

It has a touch of Thoreau’s Walden Pond abode to it. It instantly reminded me of a quote by Sterling Hayden from his book, Wanderer:

“‘I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it.’  What these men can’t afford is not to go.  They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of ‘security.’  And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine–and before we know it our lives are gone.

“What does a man need–really need?  A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in–and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment.  That’s all–in the material sense. And we know it.  But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.

“The years thunder by.  The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience.  Before we know it the tomb is sealed.”


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