Going home.

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My stepdad is one of five boys.  They were raised in a then-small, now-smaller, rural town.  When they describe their years there, work and sports are recurring themes.  There were a lot of ranches to work at and a lot of sports to play. Baseball was a family favorite and everyone played their position well.  After high school, each boy drifted away from the town and onto the next stop in their lives.  Granddad – their father – passed away in the early 1980’s, and Grandma – their mother – joined him a few weeks ago.

Last weekend Kevin and I met up with that side of the family to honor that very special lady.  She had a tremendous impact many lives and her legacy lives on in her sons and their children and their children’s children.

After her ashes were laid to rest in the small, country cemetery, we all caravanned to the beautiful brick building that was formerly the school my stepdad and all of his siblings attended.  In around 1981 the numbers were too low to keep the school open, and now the building serves as Village Hall.  As the pack of us explored and listened to the yesteryear memories shared by Dale and his brothers {“This wall is new – the entire breezeway used to be open,” and “The baseball field was out past that barbed wire fence.”}, it was easy to imagine what once was.   The senior class photos still hang on the walls, the trophies stand proud in a glass case, and sports photos show pride in the hometown team.

The school thoroughly explored, we drove a few blocks west to the house that the boys were raised in, now deserted.  Such nostalgia – even for those of us who haven’t stepped foot across the threshold!

Seeing the school and home and listening to Dale and my uncles share their memories is a special moment in time that I’ll always treasure.  Aunts, uncles, and cousins on that side of the family are scattered across multiple states and we don’t often see one another.  It was wonderful to reconnect and remember the importance of going home – wherever home may be – to share the past with the present.

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Where’s your hometown? 

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14 thoughts on “Going home.

  1. What a great way to remember and honor someone! I’m sorry for your loss. It suuuucks losing someone who’s awesome.

    Is that a photo of all of your cousins? It’s great that many could be there!

  2. I’m so sorry for this loss to your family. I’m glad you got to go and be with the extended family that you don’t get to see often. And how neat that you got to hear all of the stories and see the places that your step-dad grew up. I’ll be praying for all of you guys as you grieve this loss.

  3. How nice it must be to be one of 5 boys! Are they close? I hope they are and could lean on each other for support.
    It sounds like a special weekend and a beautiful time spent with loved ones to honour a great person. You are wonderful at writing tributes, Amy!

  4. the way you describe your family reads like a romantic western novel – so lovely. my family (surprisingly enough) is from a rural minnesota town, but my dad moved away when he was young, and then the rest of the family quickly dispersed around the US. it’s funny to be back here now and have all my aunts/uncles/parents/grandparents know the local streets/cities. also- gorgeous picture of your family – everyone looks so kind :)

  5. What a beautiful post, Amy! I felt like I was right there with you, walking down memory lane and bonding with family! Your reason for reuniting was sad, but I’m so glad that you got to spend some precious time with family. I feel that way when I get to go down to Florida and see my Dad’s side of the family in Tampa. We went for my Aunt and Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary a few years back, and my Uncle actually had some REALLY old (silent) video footage converted to DVD, and he played it for us. It was surreal, because I got to see my college campus (my Uncle attended the same university as me) as it looked back in the 1960’s during a Homecoming parade, and I got to see footage of my father (who will turn 70 this year) when he was a kid, playing in the front yard and riding around on a scooter. It was really cool to get a glimpse into the past!

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss. Such a lovely post…I’m glad you were able to go home and spend some time with extended family and hear their stories and memories. Those pictures of your family are gorgeous!

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