Posts Tagged ‘Grissom’

Over the last 2-3 days southern Iowa has benefitted from 5-7 inches of rain. Yesterday afternoon, Dave left work at 2:00 so we could make a Lineville cemetery stop prior to going to Allerton for a special dinner. Not only is everything very soggy after all of that rain, yesterday was a cold 40 degrees with a strong, blustery northwest wind.

Just travelling to southern Iowa can be a challenge after such a downpour. Whitebreast Creek and the Chariton River nearly always flood after heavy rains. Several roads are low grade and water usually goes over some roads… which just happen to be on our route to Lineville and Allerton.

Yes, we could have gone many miles out of our way on I-35 and Hwy 2 to reach our destinations, but that just isn’t our way. We knew Hwys 34 and 65 were closed at Lucas. So we decided to test whether we could go through Lacona and south of Chariton on Hwy 14. I kept checking my iPhone; Hwy 14 seemed to be open. Dave even asked at the courthouse in Chariton; Hwy 14 seemed to be open. So we headed south. We didn’t find any road blocks where we expected, so we kept going. We came to the vulnerable section. We saw local officials monitoring the situation, water lapped along the road and across part of the road. We were allowed to cross and drove through an inch or two of water; no problems. Whew!

We drove on toward the cemetery at Lineville. It always amazes us. The gravestone topper that we left on Dave’s grandparents’ stone nearly two years ago was still there! Dave removed the old flowers and wired a new silk flower arrangement to the saddle. Ordinarily, we spend some time walking around the cemetery, but not today. The waterlogged grass and the bitter wind just were not conducive to a leisure stroll. We’ll be back on a better day.

We stayed on hard-surface roads as we drove around Lineville, Allerton, and Corydon and arrived at the Old Time Soda Fountain just ahead of the 6:30 dinner time.

These dinners are held at interesting venues. The event is the South Central Regional Partnership annual dinner and is sponsored by a local Presbyterian church. This evening was sponsored by the Allerton United Presbyterian Church. Dave started going when he was on Session at our church; now we both attend. The sponsors create opportunities for participants to learn about their community. Last year we toured the Sprint Car Museum in Knoxville. Another year we visited the John L. Lewis Museum in Lucas.

The Old Time Soda Fountain in Allerton is amazing. The building probably dates from the late 1800s, though I forgot to ask. Restoration efforts are progressing. The soda fountain itself is restored original equipment (estimate was $9,000, actual cost just to restore that piece of equipment was $17,000). At one time during the restoration process a large exterior wall collapsed and the owner group struggled to find someone who would tackle that rebuilding project. The original shelving is currently being stripped of several coats of paint and the original wood is emerging. Currently, the group is raising money to remove the false ceiling and reveal the original tin ceiling. The group’s efforts are commendable! For a town that could appear dying, community projects keep the sense of community alive and add quality of life value. The Soda Fountain is open on Saturday nights from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Former Allerton Presbyterian Church member, now a resident of Centerville, Nancy Bennett gave the program on Walldogs International. Her group started in Allerton in 1993 when a group of international artists worked to improve the town’s appearance with painting murals on some of the buildings. Since 1993 the group has worked each year in a variety of communities in several countries, though many are in central United States. Interesting how this international group is rooted in Allerton’s efforts to keep their community alive.

From Allerton our dinner group moved to the Prairie Trails Museum in Corydon. Dave’s mother loved this museum in her hometown; Dave and I have visited it previously. On this visit we were impressed with the building additions and the expanded exhibits from our previous visits, but Dave and I were tired. We accepted “rain-check” tickets to come back on a different day.

It has been nearly two years since we’ve made this trek, so if the day had been beautiful, we wanted to visit other family sites, as well. Maybe next year, when we are both retired, we can make it a day trip.

In the meantime, as we continue our sorting projects, we saw potential homes for some items we have. We have some glass milk and cream bottles, as well as some old glass pop bottles that the Old Time Soda Fountain expressed interest in. The museum in Corydon is looking for items from the 20th century and we have several items from Dave’s parents that could be donated to that museum.


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Siblings sorting

Yesterday, my husband and his sister started sorting boxes of stuff that we kept at our house after their mother (Willa Jean, or simply Willa) passed away five years ago. Dave had looked at some of these boxes last weekend during our marathon sorting session and decided that his sister should share the fun. They spent nearly 5 hours laughing and reminiscing, but hard at work.

When they found greeting cards, they kept the cards from family members that had notes or letters attached. As appropriate, these will be given to the descendants of the senders. Willa Jean had assembled a lot of pictures and letters into family groups and had already given some of the pictures to appropriate people. She had also assembled letters that she had received from her siblings, punched holes and placed them into 3-ring binders. We took a notebook that Willa had assembled containing letters from her sister last summer to the sister’s daughter. The daughter was thrilled! Her mother had not kept a diary, so this is as close to a diary as she will ever have for her mother—in her mother’s own words.

Throughout her life, Willa had kept many files of bridal and baby shower games and files of jokes. Also she was an avid collector of newspaper articles on well-known personalities, whether local or national, ranging from the Kennedy family to Shawn Johnson, from Gordon Gammack to Ding Darling. And she kept newspaper articles about the weather. Sorry, Mom, these went to the recycle bin as they can be found on the world wide web today.

Willa had written her life’s history and since no one can imagine that either Dave or his sister will ever do any additional writing on their parents’ lives, they elected to discard all of the old financial papers. But, keep in mind that their mother had saved everything—bills, cancelled checks, and tax papers. For Dave and his sister it was overwhelming.

In the end, they started with about 8 boxes and managed to whittle them down to one box, plus some miscellaneous things.

What lessons can we all learn? Limit what you keep to a few things that show significant purchases and cost-of-living, for example. It is easy for children to become overwhelmed and throw away everything.

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