Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Littlest One Wants Cheerios This Morning!

There are times in life that we might call an "Era". Times that are long in years, in sorrows, in difficulties. Times that turn into an "Era".

This week, our family has ended an Era and begun a new one.

You see, there were six of us kids. Four boys. Two girls. I grew up in the middle of four boys, in the middle of Iowa farm land, in the middle of my father's life. He was 46 when I was born. Mom, thankfully, was much younger!

My dad worked hard for us. He wasn't a genius in the ways of "today" and he would never have held down a white collar job. No, my dad was a man of the earth. Born in a log cabin (yep, he was and I am, that old!) on a homestead in Midland County, Michigan. His twin sister died within a month. Dad was the scrawny twin but he lived.

On a homestead you worked the earth. And survived. Dad told us stories of fishing when the fish were plentiful and of his grandfather (my great-grandfather, fresh here from Germany) following honey bees to troves of honey. He worked. He worked hard. When they moved to Nebraska it meant more work. By the sweat of the brow.

My parents had two sons born in Nebraska. Then they moved in the midst of winter to a new place in Iowa. There were four more moves when farm ventures proved not enough to take care of his family. But he stilled worked. And still by the sweat of the brow. And even though we were poor (we kids didn't realize that!) he kept a roof over our heads and food on a sometimes skimpy table.

But what I began to write about this morning is what happened later.

My oldest brother graduated from high school and attended a business school in Minnesota so that he could get a job and begin his own adult life. My brother met his wife there. And they married. And they moved to Michigan where their children were born. Their family grew to seven children. And then life fell apart. My brother spent a year fighting lymphoma before dying as a relatively young man. His widow was heart-broken. His children as well.

I won't go into the "how" of it but we lost contact with my nieces and nephews. They, in turn, were too young to know how to contact us in Iowa. They lost us. And we lost them.

Over the years we wondered where they were. And since we could not find them, we hoped one of them would find us. The story is too long.

Suffice it to say that this week my oldest brother's oldest son walked the farm ground where his father grew up. His children are seeing where their grandfather was raised. They're seeing old photographs and hearing old family stories and meeting their grandmother (great-grandmother), aunt, uncles, cousins.

That era of being lost from each other is over. We're in contact with five of the seven. This week my mother is seeing her grandson and her great-grandchildren for the first time. It is a tearful and a joyful week for all of us.

And now I need to get up out of this chair for we are going to drive to Nebraska to view the farms where my mother and my father each grew up. We will look out over the hills where they spent their childhoods. It will be a good day.

In the kitchen I hear the littlest one. He's saying, "I want Cheerios!". Gotta go!



Kelly said...

Such a wonderful event!

I hope everyone involved is having a great time.

Glenda said...

Oh My! What a touch-you-way-down-deep post! What a reunion all of you must be having! I can't begin to imagine the emotions that must be felt by all of you! Absolutely wonderful that the story is having a happy ending!

Your description of your dad as a man of the earth brought back memories of my daddy. We, too, were poor but didn't know it. And, I, too, lost a brother to lymphoma. One more commonality: I'm the middle child also!

Debby said...

Coulda knocked me over with a feather. Your dad was born in Midland County? I lived there, out in the Bullock Creek area, on Badour Rd, for many years.

S. Etole said...

what a time of blessing for all of you ...

Dandy said...

Oh my goodness! That just got me completely choked up. I am just sooo happy for you. So happy.

Caroline said...

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Tina said...

What a wonderful story. Enjoy your time with each other!

daniel said...

I love this blog. And yes this event was one of the most memorable! Laughter and tears, every second was cherishable! David never thought he would ever live these days. To walk the grounds his "pa" walked. To touch the walls of the room his dad slept.... precious memories... The "Oh" of it all, especialy the view on top of that hill overlooking the river!!!My husband's life is now complete!

WhiteStone said...

It was special for us, too.