Memorial Day-Two Families Remember

28 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Author, Poet and Artist

 

 

I knew my friend, Patricia had a wonderful family tradition. She grew up in a mountain valley where her great-grandfather had homesteaded. Some of the family has left the valley, some have stayed. Here is Patricia’s story:

 

 

 Memorial Day or Decoration Day as it was first called, was observed by most of the community who had loved ones buried in the cemeteries.  The tradition was started to commemorate those who had died in the wars.  People brought flowers and flags in the spring to place at their graves.  Spring, because the flowers were beginning to bloom, (there were no artificial flowers). Decoration Day officially began in 1868 and was on the last Monday of May.  Traditionally families and church members would celebrate it on that day.  Flowers only lasted a day or two, so we would go out on Sunday or Monday to decorate and visit with other family and friends, many of whom we saw only once a year, as they would come home to decorate the family graves.  It was a time to connect with old acquaintances who had moved away and came back to honor their loved ones and visit with old friends.

 My family still goes out to decorate and acquaint the youngsters with their ancestors.  Many good stories are shared and the children are very interested in learning about the people who are buried there and how they lived their lives back in their day.  They want to know how they are connected.  We have so many ancestors now that the children cannot remember them all.  Fortunately, we have family history documented by family members, to be passed down to the younger ones.  Hopefully, there will always be someone there to take care of the family and the old tradition. 

 We are excited about our visit beginning tomorrow with our children who will all be getting together for the once a year get together.  For three years it has coincided with our granddaughters’graduations.  So we are busily preparing, corresponding, coordinating, etc., which is very hectic, but also very fun and rewarding.  Nothing can be planned in advance, because everything changes, so I do not worry about the planning anymore.  It always works out.  Looking forward to seeing our kids tomorrow.

 

DiVoran

 

 

My grandparents settled in a town fifty-two miles away from where Patricia lived, but I got to live in her community from the time I was 7 until I was 12. It almost broke my heart to leave, but Dad and Mom had sold Min’s Café and Dad had a new job in Los Alamos.

All four of my grandparents and two of my great grandparents along with an aunt and two second cousins are buried in this larger town. Our Mother took us there when we were children to tell stories about her parents and grandparents. Her parents had graves next to each other near the beginning of the cemetery. They were also near their long-time friends and neighbors and each couple has a pine tree, now huge at the site of their grave. Mother’s dad died in 1939 when I was six months old. Dad and Mom came home from Nevada to take over the gas company his father-in-law had run before his death. Mom’s mother passed on when I was seven. I remember Mother crying and serving customers for days.

I was an adult with grown children when my Grandparents died. I didn’t get to attend Granddad’s funeral, but I did fly there for Grandmother’s.

 

Ten years ago I met with my brother, his wife, and her sister to bury our Mother and Dad’s ashes. The aunt who is gone now and two of her daughters came and brought their families. My brother lived in California and we lived in Florida. He kept their ashes until we could meet in the middle. Our son had a combined business trip and vacation so his wife and two children attended. Our daughter and her husband flew with us and our daughter got us a bed and breakfast to stay in that was the same two-storyfloor plan as Grandmother and Granddad’s house and just down the street.

Being together again went a long way in tempering our grief. We did the service ourselves and stayed in the park visiting on a sunny November day. My brother had just picked up a beautiful puppy at the Denver airport, and our grandchildren sat on the grass and took turns holding him while he rested after his strenuous journey. Afterward,our son drove the immediate family to the valley town where Patricia and I had lived as a children.

 

2 Responses to “Memorial Day-Two Families Remember”

  1. Onisha Ellis May 28, 2018 at 8:39 pm #

    It’s comforting to know that long held family traditions are still going on. Thank you Patricia and DiVoran for this lovely story.

    Like

  2. ludyja May 28, 2018 at 7:08 am #

    There’s nothing like family. And remembering those who came before us gives us stability in this life. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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