Bopping around the country over yonder gives me a weird sense of deja vu. I grew up only a few miles from there, and I've wandered over all that area in my youth. Some areas have changed dramatically; some look like they did thirty years ago (if one disregards the cell phone towers).
I went to Smithville yesterday, where my mother grew up. I looked through a couple of cemeteries, seeking my Grandpa Shirley's grave. This afternoon, I looked up the cemetery at the County Library, then drove down to it. It sits a ways off the road.
When I got there, the experience almost knocked me over. I had not been there for forty-two years. I don't suppose it was memories of Grandpa, of which I have only a few (and not terribly warm ones). More a sense in which my boyhood self and I overlapped and met each other. For a rootless person like myself, the sense of return was staggering.
The little cemetery has only a few graves. Still, it looks better cared for than it did in my boyhood. It was rank with weeds the day we buried Grandpa Shirley, barely cut back to allow us to get in there. Probably the township trustee looks after it now.
The big stone to the right is that of my mother's parents. Her mother, with whom she was very, very close, died a year before I was born. On the left, the smaller, pale stone is barely legible. It is the grave of my uncle Bennie, who died in childhood. Six other children lived to adulthood. I have often heard both my mother and my Aunt Clarice quote from the famous poem, "Nay, Master, we are seven!"
I'm not much on visiting graves, but I have inherited from both my parents an interest in family history, a lively sense of belonging to a particular group of people. To find a place you have long been away from, or to stand over a memorial to someone connected to you, is important in its way.
Anyway, I said a prayer for my grandparents and all their children, of whom only my Aunt Clarice remains. Peace be upon them all.
Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Smithville, Indiana.