The Ottumwa Courier


May 22, 2013



It was his first road trip, and of course, he mostly slept through it. But, my daughter was prepared, we had everything he could need.

Tears fell in the cemetery where we showed Max the resting places of his great-grandparents. Next time, we will go further away and show him the lovely rural cemetery where his great-great-grandparents are resting.

I left flowers for Aunt Winnie and Uncle Floyd and brothers Jim and Jack and my niece, Shelly.

I walked past stones, remembering well the Mt. Union folks, the Kriegers, the Joneses, the Riepes, the Flayhartys, the Gabelines, the Nicholsons. I paused at Bob Nicholson’s grave. He was in my high school class and left us way too soon. I looked south to the spot where a farm house once stood, a house where Jim and Jack were raised.

In town, my favorite house is forlorn and looks forgotten. I had 10 happy years in that house, in those huge yards where we played hide and seek and baseball and where I had a treehouse. The next 10 years were in the little yellow house, which has fared much better, but Dad’s barn is gone, as are all the trees and bushes he planted. Where mom lived her last 20 years is not the house I enjoyed; it, too, looks a little neglected. It is the same in most places, some houses are lost, some deserted, but others have been brought back to life.

My little town has a bank, a post office and an elevator.

The school house is still standing, and a lovely city park shows it is being tended to faithfully.Some day, I will take little Max for a walk around that little town and tell him about his grandma’s childhood, just like I did his mother. I don’t go there often, and I don’t visit those cemeteries every year. But this year, we did, and we left part of my sister Colleen there. I think it would have made her happy.

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