Tag Archives: faith

Just Saying Hello from Heaven (Updated!)

I heard the answering machine pick up a call in my office. Normally they are hangups or some robo-call, but I sensed this was different. I strained to hear what the woman was saying. It was clear it was something I needed to attend to, so I played back the message.

The caller was the owner of Suburban Studio in Sun Prairie, a portrait photography business that has been around for a long time. She had noticed my Mom’s obituary recently and realized she had a large, framed portrait of my late father from when he was mayor of Sun Prairie. The portrait hung in the studio for years as a sample of their work. She was calling to see if I would like it.

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This portrait of David D. Hanneman hung in Sun Prairie City Hall during his term as mayor.

I contacted her right away and made arrangements to pick up the portrait. She did not charge for the 16×20 inch print (although I did buy the frame it was in). When I stopped at the studio the next day to pick it up, I was really taken aback. Not just by the size of the  portrait, but the look of it. This was similar to the photo we used in Dad’s obituary in April 2007, but it was different. I stared at the image. Dad seemed so close and alive; almost as if he was about to speak. The studio owner agreed, saying the image had something about it. You almost sense the person is there in the room.

I kept racking my brain trying to think where I’d seen this photo before. Then it struck me. Dad used this photo in his literature when he ran for re-election in 2005. I vaguely recalled seeing his brochure back then and thinking this photo had a different quality.

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The Sun Prairie Star used the same photo in its editorial when Dad died in 2007.

I rarely believe in coincidences, so I chalk up this whole encounter to Divine Providence. It reminded me of the time I was sitting at my desk in my home office in Mount Pleasant in the early evening. I dozed off and was in and out in one of those semi-conscious sleep states. I was jolted awake though, by the sound of my father’s voice.

Hello? Are you there? Yes, it’s me. I’m still alive!

I sat upright and looked around the room. Where was his voice coming from? Dad kept talking and I recognized it as part of an oral history interview I did with him in November 2006. While we were recording in Dad’s room at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, he received a call on the cell phone from his brother, Donn (1926-2014). I have no idea how this recording started playing on my computer while I was half-asleep. My tears flowed freely though, as it seemed Dad was really speaking to me from Heaven. I will never forget that moment.

Listen to a portion of the oral history interview I did with Dad while he was being treated for lung cancer:

Now I have this beautiful portrait, a gift from Louise Floyd at Suburban Studio. I look at Dad’s expression and it, too, speaks to me. Funny, it seems to say just about the same thing as the recording from my computer. “I’m still here, son. I am alive!” 

UPDATE!! This will be a little hard to explain, but it brought more tears to my eyes. Yesterday I was at St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church shooting photographs. The main thing I photographed was the gold monstrance that holds the Blessed Sacrament for exposition and adoration. See my photo below. That holds the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus under the appearance of bread. When I was doing closeups, I kept noticing reflected colors in the glass of the monstrance. So I lined up my camera and shot a bunch of images. Later I sent one to Father Richard Heilman and told him to look at the reflection. I thought it looked like a veiled woman in blue.

When Fr. Heilman looked at that photo earlier today, not long before I published the first version of this article, he saw the reflection of a man in a suit and tie with glasses. When Father later read my post and saw Dad’s portrait, he said, “THAT’S THE MAN I SAW!” I saw the Blessed Virgin and he saw this very photo of my father. Let that sink in. What a blessed day this has been!

©2019 The Hanneman Archive
(This article has been updated to include an audio file with oral history)

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I shot this photo of the monstrance at St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church on May 3, 2019.
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I placed Dad’s portrait near what Fr. Richard Heilman calls my “God cave.”
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Suburban Studio took this picture of our family, circa 1972. Front row: Amy Hanneman Bozza and Marghi Hanneman. Middle: David C. Hanneman, Mary K. (Mulqueen) Hanneman, David D. Hanneman and Joe Hanneman. Back row: Laura Mulqueen Curzon.

Erinnerung An Den Tag Der Confirmation

“Memory of the Day of Confirmation.” Those German words are written in ornate lettering across a beautiful certificate commemorating the confirmation of Karl (we know him as Carl) Hanneman on June 11, 1916. The roughly 11×17 inch document, found among the papers and photographs of David D. Hanneman, is remarkably well preserved and speaks to a time before Carl’s conversion to Catholicism. The certificate is written entirely in German and reads:

“Karl Hanneman received instruction in the Word of God on 11 June 1916 in the First Moravian Church, Grand Rapids, Wis.” At the bottom of the certificate it reads: Gottes Furcht is aller Weisheit Anfang, which roughly means “All Wisdom Begins with Fear of God.” The document was signed by the Rev C.A. Meilicke.

The confirmation certificate for Carl F. Hanneman from the First Moravian Church.
The confirmation certificate for Carl F. Hanneman from the First Moravian Church.

We know Carl’s father, Charles Hanneman, was raised as a Lutheran, as were most of the Hannemans. The marriage certificate for Charles and Rosine Hanneman (nee: Ostermann) only says their wedding was a “Divine Service” and does not indicate a church. In 1907, Charles and Rosine and their four sons joined the First Moravian Church of Wisconsin Rapids, a congregation of some 450 people in a brick church on First Avenue South.

The Moravian Church is one of the oldest Protestant denominations and traces its roots to the 1450s in Bohemia and Moravia. The area is now part of the modern day Czech Republic. It is possible the family’s connection to the Moravian Church came from Rosine (Ostermann) Hanneman, whose father emigrated from Saxony in what is now eastern Germany.

Carl and Ruby Hanneman were both converts to Catholicism, but we’ll save those stories for another entry.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Three Rifle Shots, Taps and a Final Salute

CRACK! The sound of the first rifle shot left an echo that trailed onto the horizon. We flinched just a bit when the first volley was fired, then heard the barely audible jingle of the ejected brass shell dancing across the pavement. Then silence, followed by orders to fire again. CRACK! A third report rumbled across the landscape. Men and women alike clutched tissues and dabbed tears at the sights, sounds and emotion of the military honor guard that paid tribute Tuesday to my father-in-law, Ronald C. LaCanne.

Ronald C. LaCanne served in the U.S. Army from 1958-1961.
Ronald C. LaCanne served in the U.S. Army from 1958-1961.

Darkness had already fallen outside of the Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home in Racine, Wisconsin, adding to the drama. Everyone stood motionless as two uniformed veterans folded the American flag and presented it to my mother-in-law, Eileen. The slow, steady salute they gave before the flag was a sign of deep respect. It was followed by the playing of Taps. Everyone was choked up to witness such a moving ceremony.

Ron served in the United States Army in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the height of the Cold War era. He was an intelligence officer stationed somewhere in the hinterlands of Alaska, within listening distance of the Soviet Union. He never talked about the work he did there, not wanting in any way to betray national secrets, even 50 years later. He took his commitment that seriously. That is a man of honor.

If you know a veteran, take time today to thank them for serving the United States of America. It’s important that they know our nation is grateful for their sacrifices.

Ron LaCanne was entombed Wednesday at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in  Union Grove. Grandchildren Ruby Hanneman and Joshua LaCanne pause at the columbarium wall.
Ron LaCanne was entombed Wednesday at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove. Grandchildren Ruby Hanneman and Joshua LaCanne pause at the columbarium wall.

At the close of Ron’s visitation and the impressive military honors, my thoughts turned to things eternal. Considering his moving journey of faith while dying from cancer, I thought of two passages from the Gospels.

John Chapter 16 offers encouragement to those who have watched a loved one struggle with terminal illness. Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage. I have overcome the world.” Matthew Chapter 25 seemed so fitting as we turned to leave the memorial service. I could almost hear the words echo from Heaven: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. …Come, share your master’s joy.”

Requiescat in pace, Gramps.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive