Darla Spaetgens, daughter of the late Lawrence and Carol Spaetgens of Crowley, was hesitant at first to open the e-mail from Greg Spaetgens, because there is no Greg Spaetgens among her Spaetgens relatives. Initially, Darla assumed it was a phishing or spam e-mail and was on the verge of deleting it when her curiosity got the better of her and she opened the computer message.
When she realized the e-mail was intended for someone else, she decided to reply.
Before long, Darla and Greg Spaetgens were exchanging e-mails and getting to know each other.
Darla learned that Greg’s wife was named Donata, and due to one simple typo, Darla received an e-mail intended for Donata.
Darla now jokes that Donata is “the other D. Spaetgens.”
The exchange of e-mails developed into a great friendship, where two Spaetgens on opposite sides of the glove call each other on birthdays and other occasions. Greg and his wife offered condolences on the death of Darla’s parents.
In July, the friendship became a meeting after Greg was offered a weeping trip of the United States by his good friend, Andrew Hamilton.
As planned, the trip-of-a-lifetime was routed through the South––from California, through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky––into New Jersey then north via Chicago to California. The route was mapped out in order to attend as many Minor League baseball games as possible along the way.
Darla asked her friend if he would be willing to detour to Crowley.
As the surname saga was shared, the Louisiana Spaetgens learned that Greg is a descendant of a Spaetgens family which settled in Minnesota in the 1860s––20 years earlier than the ancestor of the Louisiana Spaetgens who settled in Roberts Cove.
Greg’s father moved to Canada, where he would be born and raised.
Greg’s future wife, Donata, had relocated to Canada from Australia, where she would meet Greg and marry him.
After visiting Donata’s home in Australia, Greg would eventually decide he wanted to move to that country permanently. He has since become an Australia citizen.
Joining Greg Spaetgens and Andrew Hamilton on the journey were Andrew’s father, Robert, and Andrew’s long-time friend, Justin Robertson, now living in the United States.
While the visiting tourists were in Louisiana, Darla Spaetgens hosted a July Fourth gathering so Greg could meet Spaetgens from this surrounding area.
The visitors and their hosts also dined at Fezzo’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant, took a tour of Henderson Swamp and visited Roberts Cove German Heritage Museum, St. Leo IV Catholic Church and Cemetery and, of course, took a trip to New Orleans.