Progenitors: The High Gate

Posted by: Duane Hiatt in Commentaries Add comments

For those of you who just tuned in, this is the next installment of my memoirs currently in production. The previous installments are available on my web page duanehiatt.com I hope you find it interesting.

The book is titled Live Long*, Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot.

Hear ye! Hear ye! Every man to his post. Arm yourselves. Enemy forces draw nigh on yon hill. Warn thy neighbor.  Haste! Haste! For home and family. The enemy approacheth even now!”

The quiet village was instantly a beehive. Men poured into the streets and out the gate of the protecting wall. Each carried with him a well worn weapon which he had trained and practiced with every day. A motley crew they were, but the fire in their eyes, their grip on their assorted weapons, the determination in their stance, and their heritage as descendants of the fearsome Norsemen carried the message, “One step farther you die.”

The enemy was nowhere in sight yet it was obvious this was real. The voice that called them was a voice they trusted. They knew time was a weapon for themselves or for their enemy. The lord of the manor would know soon enough, but they could not wait or would not wait for him. The voice who knew sounded the alarm. They answered.

Not many moments hence, the enemy crested the hill before them. But there the marauders stopped. The advantage of surprise was not theirs, but the villagers. They paused. The leader surveyed the scene; sturdy yeomen armed with the tools of their trade, the ax, the scythe, the pitchfork, the versatile club. The bandit leader chose not to have his men be the weed the villagers hacked down, the tree they felled or the grain they harvested this day. He gave the order. They turned and retreated back over the hill and into the distance to look for easier pickings.

The home guard stood at the ready in case this was a feint. At length the same voice that had called them to defense came again from atop the gate.

“They have retreated to beyond my view. You are safe to return.”

The villagers, trusting the eyes and the judgment of the man above the gate, filed back into the enclosed village and resumed their normal lives. The “highgate” had saved them again from a bloody battle, and perhaps the loss of their homes and the violation of their families.

As they entered the gate, the Lord of the manor rushed up. Surveying the scene he called to the highgate, “Well done my trusty man. We are again indebted to your keen eyes and faithful watch. Thank you.”

Family names in Europe often came from occupations. The Smiths were blacksmiths. The gardeners were gardeners. In Germany the Eisenhowers were ironworkers. The Shepherds were, you guessed it. But what is a “Hiatt?” According to some accounts, he was a one man equivalent of the DEW (Distant Early Warning) line of radar stations along the Arctic Circle to alert Canada and the USA that Soviet bombers were approaching during the Cold War era.

The early warner of medieval England used a system even more sophisticated than radar—his eyes. To extend his range, he stood on top of the gate into the city. He became known as the “high gate.” Over the years the “gh g” part got dropped, and his descendents were the Hiatts, or Hiett, Hiette, Highett and various other spellings. The most well known branch is probably the Hyatts because of the Hyatt House hotel chain. We are related to them, but not close enough to do us any financial good. I tell people, “The Hyatt’s were blessed with riches and fame. Our side was blessed with the good looks, numerous children, and humility.”

This derivation of our name is speculative, and the documentation sparse. But the linguistic trail does lead to England, and back from there to invaders from northern Europe.

And the hero of the tale of yore described above? His name has been lost to history along with the date and details of this and other noble deeds. But they all live again meticulously and faithfully recorded in my imagination.

What do you think about this part of the book?

Everybody I know is busy, including me.  Where are those golden years I was planning on of sitting on the back porch picking my guitar? So I will send just one little part of the book at a time. You can give it a quick read and tell me what you think if you would like.

I’ve slimmed that process down to two questions, and four strokes on the key board (six if you count “Reply” and “Send.”)

The questions are these:

“A” How much did you enjoy this?

“B” How much do you think a person who doesn’t know Duane Hiatt would enjoy this?

The rating is:

1. Glanced at it, printed it out and lined the bottom of the bird cage with it.

2. Sped-read it and filed it with my tax return receipts

3. Thought it was about as interesting as a well written obituary

4. Could have put it down, but didn’t want to

5. Couldn’t put it down. Put it in a magnetic frame and stuck it onto the fridge door

So your response would perhaps be A-4, B-3, (Or maybe A-5, B-5, I’m expecting a minimum number of those.)

Also feel free to add comments if you like.

Also, also, feel free to forward this material to anyone you want to.

Your next installment is: 

For those of you who just tuned in, this is the next installment of my memoirs currently in production. The previous installments are available on my web page duanehiatt.com I hope you find it interesting.

The book is titled Live Long*, Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot.

Hear ye! Hear ye! Every man to his post. Arm yourselves. Enemy forces draw nigh on yon hill. Warn thy neighbor.  Haste! Haste! For home and family. The enemy approacheth even now!”

The quiet village was instantly a beehive. Men poured into the streets and out the gate of the protecting wall. Each carried with him a well worn weapon which he had trained and practiced with every day. A motley crew they were, but the fire in their eyes, their grip on their assorted weapons, the determination in their stance, and their heritage as descendants of the fearsome Norsemen carried the message, “One step farther you die.”

The enemy was nowhere in sight yet it was obvious this was real. The voice that called them was a voice they trusted. They knew time was a weapon for themselves or for their enemy. The lord of the manor would know soon enough, but they could not wait or would not wait for him. The voice who knew sounded the alarm. They answered.

Not many moments hence, the enemy crested the hill before them. But there the marauders stopped. The advantage of surprise was not theirs, but the villagers. They paused. The leader surveyed the scene; sturdy yeomen armed with the tools of their trade, the ax, the scythe, the pitchfork, the versatile club. The bandit leader chose not to have his men be the weed the villagers hacked down, the tree they felled or the grain they harvested this day. He gave the order. They turned and retreated back over the hill and into the distance to look for easier pickings.

The home guard stood at the ready in case this was a feint. At length the same voice that had called them to defense came again from atop the gate.

“They have retreated to beyond my view. You are safe to return.”

The villagers, trusting the eyes and the judgment of the man above the gate, filed back into the enclosed village and resumed their normal lives. The “highgate” had saved them again from a bloody battle, and perhaps the loss of their homes and the violation of their families.

As they entered the gate, the Lord of the manor rushed up. Surveying the scene he called to the highgate, “Well done my trusty man. We are again indebted to your keen eyes and faithful watch. Thank you.”

Family names in Europe often came from occupations. The Smiths were blacksmiths. The gardeners were gardeners. In Germany the Eisenhowers were ironworkers. The Shepherds were, you guessed it. But what is a “Hiatt?” According to some accounts, he was a one man equivalent of the DEW (Distant Early Warning) line of radar stations along the Arctic Circle to alert Canada and the USA that Soviet bombers were approaching during the Cold War era.

The early warner of medieval England used a system even more sophisticated than radar—his eyes. To extend his range, he stood on top of the gate into the city. He became known as the “high gate.” Over the years the “gh g” part got dropped, and his descendents were the Hiatts, or Hiett, Hiette, Highett and various other spellings. The most well known branch is probably the Hyatts because of the Hyatt House hotel chain. We are related to them, but not close enough to do us any financial good. I tell people, “The Hyatt’s were blessed with riches and fame. Our side was blessed with the good looks, numerous children, and humility.”

This derivation of our name is speculative, and the documentation sparse. But the linguistic trail does lead to England, and back from there to invaders from northern Europe.

And the hero of the tale of yore described above? His name has been lost to history along with the date and details of this and other noble deeds. But they all live again meticulously and faithfully recorded in my imagination.

What do you think about this part of the book?

Everybody I know is busy, including me.  Where are those golden years I was planning on of sitting on the back porch picking my guitar? So I will send just one little part of the book at a time. You can give it a quick read and tell me what you think if you would like.

I’ve slimmed that process down to two questions, and four strokes on the key board (six if you count “Reply” and “Send.”)

The questions are these:

“A” How much did you enjoy this?

“B” How much do you think a person who doesn’t know Duane Hiatt would enjoy this?

The rating is:

1. Glanced at it, printed it out and lined the bottom of the bird cage with it.

2. Sped-read it and filed it with my tax return receipts

3. Thought it was about as interesting as a well written obituary

4. Could have put it down, but didn’t want to

5. Couldn’t put it down. Put it in a magnetic frame and stuck it onto the fridge door

So your response would perhaps be A-4, B-3, (Or maybe A-5, B-5, I’m expecting a minimum number of those.)

Also feel free to add comments if you like.

Also, also, feel free to forward this material to anyone you want to.

Your next installment is: 

Comments are closed.