Monday, July 30, 2007

The Rest of the Story - Part 3

My mother was born quite a few years before any of her cousins. Since she had her children at such a young age, we ended up being peers of her later-born cousins. I can remember having a great time with 3 of them especially at her family reunions. The guys were enough older that we didn't know them so well.

One of the "boys" was the brother of one of the girl cousins that kept V and me in stitches. We would always spend at least one night at her house, just giggling uncontrollably. That's probably why we didn't know her brother so well, because he had to get out of the house to keep his sanity!

This cousin, Darrell, invited all 4 of us to stay at his house while we were in Monti. They live out in the country in a beautiful 101-year-old house that they have spent years restoring and improving. It was a very peaceful, lovely spot to land for several nights while we went on with our trip down memory lane.

I took advantage of the country road to walk two mornings. I haven't done much walking since I joined the gym, but it was cool enough and just a wonderful place to do my formerly favorite form of exercise. This was the view the first morning as I headed down the gravel driveway to the gravel road.
Darrell has a great sense of humor, as various signs along the driveway will attest. I expecially enjoyed this one: Through Street: STOP
I also was amused by these intersecting signs out in the middle of nowhere!
When I returned from my first morning's walk, I discovered dozens of barn swallows having a morning snack of mosquitoes on the eaves of the barn - I never knew before why they were called barn swallows.
I have not been a collector in my adulthood, except for dust, and that is always the first thing that comes to my mind when I see huge collections in people's houses - how do you stand to dust all these things? Both Darrell and Liz are unbelievable collectors, mostly of antiques. Liz told me it takes 12 hours to dust everything. Darrell's barn is full of toys, which we didn't get a chance to see. He also has farm implements and farm tools.
This phone actually rings, but, of course, you can't call out. I had the urge to pick it up, ring Sarah, and ask for Barney or Aunt Bee.
This blast from the past really cracked me up. I hope you can read it. I love that they framed it and hung it in their kitchen.
I wanted to pack this up and ship it home for Care Bear and Feisty. I can't imagine how much fun they could have with it! Their granddaughters, whose pictures are on the wall inside, have long ago outgrown it, but it is kept in pristine condition. Sorry about the fuzziness of the second picture.
On Saturday, we went to Mom's family reunion. There are only two aunts left, one 85 and the other 93. They were both there, and I haven't seen them in probably 40 years or more. I had a delightful conversation with both of them. They were much younger than I am now when I last saw them. That's quite a thought!
I didn't get a picture for some reason, but we had a very relaxing ride on Darrell's pontoon boat - the reunion was at their lake cottage. Another great day.

That evening V and I rushed over to visit more friends down the road about 30 miles. On the way back that evening, I shot a picture of the place Dad worked when he was going to college and keeping up a family of 3 kids and a wife! It hasn't changed much in all those years - amazing.

Sunday morning we attended church where my dad's family were charter members. It's not my grandma's church any more! But it was delightful to be there and catch up with one more couple - the only one still there that we knew (he's the brother of the ones we visited the night before). We've been friends since we were kids. They went to lunch with us and we did some more catching up.

That afternoon, V and I had to go to the park on the river, which is next to the house my Grandma S lived in after she had to leave the farm (which now houses a Super Wal-Mart and other stores), and before she had to go to the nursing home. The park has been upgraded, and we took pictures of the flowers that now live where she used to. She would have loved it.

Can you see the butterfly on this next one?
Here's a better shot of it, if you missed it.
My other grandparents also lived in this town. The Interstate went through their property and all that is recognizable now is the ancient cemetery, which was at the bottom of the hills that was their driveway, and where we used to like to go and try to imagine what happened to entire families that are buried there. I wanted to take a walk over there, but we ran out of time. I can't imagine how that happened!!!

I was sad at how much the old town has changed. It was like Mayberry to us. I know progress has to happen, but it is hard to take when it happens in such massive amounts to a place with such fond memories. I can only imagine what people think when they come here to my town and see what "progress" has done to it.

It was an amazing 4 days. I am so blessed to have been able to do this before it's too late.


Kristen said...

Sounds like it was a very busy, yet fulfilling four days. I'm glad you got to catch up with so many people you haven't seen in so long.

Great pictures, too!

Linda said...

What a wonderful trip Dawn. That house is absolutley gorgeous. Don't you just love older houses - so much character. Every picture is just terrific. I can only imagine how you felt seeing all the changes. We mentioned not too long ago going back to the little town where my husband and I grew up and were told it was better if we didn't. It has changed so much - for the worse unhappily.
I bet you wish you had another couple of weeks to spend there. I'm glad you got to go.
I meant to tell you to thank your brother for us. I sent that email off too quickly. What a great list he made for us. Please thank him for taking the time to do that. I'm going to take it with me.

Susie said...

What lovely pictures! I absolutely can't imagine spending 12 hours dusting collectibles! Most of mine are behind glass thankfully. They don't seem to get too dusty there.
Glad you got the chance to do this trip :)

Morning Glory said...

It'll come as no surprise that I love all those collections! I have the female pig cookie jar and salt/pepper set just like the one sitting near the green glass collection.

She also has the same china as I have. What fun to see these things.

PEA said...

I'd call that a perfect trip down memory lane!! I so enjoyed reading what you did and you said, though, it's truly a shame what "progress" is doing to all of these small towns. Look at those! I so love the green glass collection, that is truly amazing! What a cute little play the inside of it!! Wonderful post dear Dawn! xox

Pam said...

Hi Dawn, I linked over from Groovy's place. What a wonderful restored home and beautiful surroundings. It sounds as though you had a great time. The flowers and butterfly photos were awesome.

Diane J. said...

I admire those who collect and keep things clean, but I hate to dust and clean so I've never even begun a collection.

No matter how much things and circumstances change, we still have our memories and in some cases, photographs, to hold near and dear. Time marches on, like it or not.

Hope you've recovered from your "vacation". :-)

Love and hugs,


Barb said...

I almost feel like I was on this trip with you, Dawn. You took beautiful photos of it all. I'm so glad you got to do this.

It's been about 35 years since I've been back to where I was born, southeast Texas. I can't begin to imagine how much everything is bound to have changed in those years. In my mind, I still see my old house and everyone I knew, looking exactly the same as they did then. I'm sure it would be a shock.

I'd love to do it though. Lucky you.

Midlife Mom said...

What a wonderful trip catching up with so many friends and loved ones. You sure did a lot while you were there. Great pictures, I love the play house, the barn swallows and the flowers. I don't know why I don't have barn swallows in my barn, maybe it's the cats..... Thanks for posting part 3 for all of us!!!!

Nancy said...

What a great trip... aren't cousins the best! You are very fortunate to have great family and to be able to spend time with them. I am with you on all of the "dusting". Less is better for me!

Nancy said...

It's me again... my DIL actually got her masters at Asbury Theological Seminary in world missions and evangelism. She is currently an associate professor at the seminary waiting on Ben to finish his Masters of Divinity. I do think she may have to get a job in social work once Ben is appointed to a church. I often tease her and tell her she went to seminary to become a preacher's wife... which takes a lot of work I am sure. Thanks for asking... have a great day!

Tammy said...

I can tell you had such a wonderful trip, Dawn! I truly loved looking at all the photos!

I am the same way about "progress" much is being built up around here where once was all country. It makes me a little sad.

But isn't it nice when you do go back and find some of the things still the same, at least?

So glad you had such great reunions on this vacation!

Karen said...

Drool on those collections!