|abandoned church at one of the cemeteries that we visit|
|Not a direct ancestor, but if he's an Allison and in this cemetery, then I'm related to him!|
|We bought crayons and sketch pads to do headstone rubbings, but Syd also liked to copy them.|
|This is my great-grandfather, who died when Pappa was between the ages of my two kiddos. When he died, Pappa had to leave school and go to work full-time to support his mother and siblings.|
I should mention that the kids, though they were troopers, were bored to tears during this trip. They come by it honestly, at least, because I remember these trips as among the most boring events of my childhood, battling for the honor with visits to my great-great aunt (six-hour drive to St. Louis, sitting for the rest of eternity in her apartment flipping through a Norman Rockwell coffee table book, six-hour drive back home, with ZERO sightseeing during the entire duration of the trip. Seriously, people. We were in St. Louis! Take me to the freaking zoo, why don't you?!? Or maybe, I don't know... the ARCH?!?).
I, however, now that I'm grown, really enjoy revisiting each cemetery and special spot in this small town:
|The list of graduates of the Class of 1944 from the Ravenden Springs school, which taught all grades in a single building. My grandmother's name is at the bottom of the list.|
|Part of the old school building is now used as a town hall.|
|Another part of the building is used as the town library.|
|One guy brought a bunch of his family's old photos.|
|I love looking at all the details in old photos. Check out that kid's dress! And their dolls! And that guy's fedora! And that little girl's giant hair ribbons!|
Yes, all these graves do belong to very young children. They're your Pappa's brothers and sisters.
Yes, many of these headstones are homemade. Store-bought headstones are very expensive, so many people made the headstones for their loved ones themselves. See the carving marks?
No, there wasn't always a store here. This used to be a field where your Pappa worked every day when he was your age. No, he didn't go to school. Remember all those brothers and sisters? He had to earn money to take care of them.
Look, here's your Nana's grave. You didn't know her, but she made the best peanut butter cookies, and she always put cherry icing on top.
Yes, I know you're bored. Get out of the car anyway and come look at more old graves with us.
Yes, you are getting on my nerves, actually. Go have your cousin take you to poke around inside that abandoned church for a while.
Yes, as a matter of fact, I probably will be buried here on top of this mountain, too, a million miles from everywhere, just to make you come back every now and then and keep remembering for me.