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Fansler Family Crest

Living for the past decade in Los Angeles, a city of transplants and transients from all over the world, when asked I tell people that I’m midwestern. Sure, like most people there we came from Europe, but we’ve been here since the Mayflower. Literally. My maternal grandmother was a prolific genealogist, tracing our lineage back to Elder William Brewster, leader of the Separatists and the fourth signer of the Mayflower Compact. In the centuries that followed, my ancestors matriculated through New England, the Carolinas, and west toward the American Heartland.

When I set out to create a coat of arms for the Fanslers, I started by researching European heraldry, and modernizing these conventions to tell a contemporary story. I began by looking at scores of German eagles and English lions, but since that heritage is long obsolete it didn't feel quite right. Bees were first used by the Egyptians to symbolize creativity, diligence and eloquence, and was co-opted by Europeans in the centuries that followed. The heraldic significance of the color scheme is an eagerness to serve (red); respect, virtue and generosity (yellow); and steadfast strength (blue).

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My mom was born in Wichita and my dad in Detroit in the 1950s, they met at college in Indiana and were married in 1974. They started out in my dad’s hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana where I came along a couple of years later. Dad’s work took us to Chicago then Kansas City and back. The Fanslers began the 1980s as a foursome and ended a fivesome.

My mom is a self-taught Interior Designer and business owner and dad worked downtown, art directing Raid bugs, Sunkist cans and Coors Light longnecks. They did their own remodeling and designing the living spaces of my coming of age, and as a family we would design props, sets, t-shirts, parade floats, reupholster furniture and (begrudgingly) plant gardens for functions at church, school and around town.

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Rather than laurels or weaponry, the tools of the Fansler trade make their appearance: an X-Acto #11 knife and a double-headed Berol Prismacolor marker which, if came from my brother's and my stash downstairs, was probably half dried out. The four red six-pointed stars come from the Chicago flag, symbolizing the shaping events and concepts of the city of that has marked the Fansler family. Handy & Dandy is a new saying, because everything we do is done in style. Beat to Fit, Paint to Match is its counterpoint, a phrase first uttered by a maternal uncle who, strangely enough is one of the best, most meticulous craftsmen I'll ever meet, and as such this phrase is used with self-depricating sarcasm typical to of the tribe.

For as long as I can remember, our kitchen and dining room were festooned with pineapples--candlesticks, hand towels, salt and pepper shakers, trivets, pot holders, table linens, maybe some macrame, even a chair rail or two. It wasn’t until I helped my dad carve them into the slats on our front porch when I learned of their significance as a symbol of hospitality dating back to Colonial America, and everything clicked. Given our family’s love for cooking, throwing parties and hosting get-togethers that I have inherited and practice whenever possible with my wife and our friends, the pineapple may well be the most enduring icon of the Fansler family. Also worth noting, pineapple is Aaron Draplin’s favorite.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think. Cheers!

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