Sunday, October 16, 2005

October Glories and Memories

Pumpkins from Gerald’s garden sit on our patio interspersed with orange mums. We can enjoy them looking out the family room window. I have gotten out the “autumn box” stored away in our tornado shelter since last fall. Now our little raggedy fall doll is hanging on the front porch again saying, “Welcome.”

I wanted the farm to reflect the season because we have friends here from California for a high school reunion. Fall is my favorite season. (I say the same thing about spring. And in both seasons, I believe at the time I am telling the truth.) The changing of the seasons is one of the reasons I chose to live my adult life here in Southern Illinois in this beautiful land between the rivers. We thought that the trees would be at their most glorious when Lois and Tom came. They had planned a tour of the East by train to see the leaves of New England before arriving here.

Unfortunately, the leaves turning in the East were delayed this year. And now our coloration is just beginning instead of being at its peak.

Fortunately despite the late fall season, what we do have that the East did not are childhood memories. Growing up in Union County on a farm until her father’s much too early death brought her family into town, Lois cherishes every location, person, and event stored in her memory of her homeland. She has lived in California since 1951 and had a successful and pleasant life there. But she still reads the Anna Gazette-Democrat looking for news about those of us she left behind.

I am one of the lucky recipients of her Gazette reading. Every once in awhile I get a fat envelope full of goodies--news about Glasco or Martin family members that Lois knows I can use in family scrapbooks and family history research. I suspect I am one of the few housewives of our area who has her own personal clipping service.

Lois and I are in constant email contact--sometimes passing back and forth two or three emails a day. With her planning all the details of their elaborate autumn tour, her writing slowed down this summer. And with our daughter’s family temporarily living with us while they remodel their home, I have also slowed down on my computer time. But we still share our lives and our children’s lives with each other frequently. I thrill to her daughter’s and granddaughter’s theatrical successes, and pass them on to my theatrical grandchildren. Lois hears about their performances in Freeport and also our softball games. I knew when her daughter received her teaching certification, and she heard about my granddaughter’s start of a teaching career.

It was over 50 years ago that Lois, Lynn, and I stood in Jonesboro at the head of Cook Street and said goodbye knowing Lois was leaving the next day.. The leaves were aglow then too with beautiful colors, and I can see it all clearly in my head. Despite the lumps in our throats back then, we were young and eager for what life was going to bring us, so we did not know how sad it was. The three of us were not together again until 50 years later when we all had dinner in California one night. The leaves are starting to gleam with gold again, and when Lois and Tom leave this time, I will know how exactly how sad such farewells are.

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