Thursday, April 17, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

About a year ago, my darling grandfather died.  According to his wishes, his funeral was a simple affair- no fuss, no muss.  But there was a lovely military ceremony in the National Cemetery in San Antonio where my grandparents were living.  My mother, my brother and I made the trip to Texas and it was very nice to spend time with them talking about our memories of Grandpa.  After the funeral we sat outside at a cafe on the Riverwalk and shared a pitcher of margaritas- something I think my grandfather would have really

This past March my darling grandmother joined him in heaven.  It was easy to be happy that they were together again, after being together in this world for 66 years.  A devoted lifelong Catholic, my grandmother asked for a Funeral Mass to be celebrated in her hometown.  My mother and I made the trip together to Atchison, Kansas- a lovely little town on the banks of the Missouri River- the same town where Amelia Earhart was born.

About 15 years ago for Christmas, my grandmother gave me one of those 'Grandmother Remembers' books where she wrote down her memories about growing up and marrying my grandfather and raising a family.  It really is a treasure with family recipes written out in my grandmother's handwriting and old family pictures pasted to its pages.  I took it with me to Kansa and leafed through the pages while my mother filled in the details with her own memories of visiting both sets of her grandparents in Atchison and going to college at Mount Saint Scholastica, at the time a Catholic women's college in Atchison, now a beautiful retreat center.  
In the back of the book there were a couple of pages where my grandfather wrote down some thoughts.  One of the things he said was that he first noticed my grandmother in church and thought she was pretty.  
This church:

This is the church where my grandmother's parents were married on New Year's Eve 1919.  This is the church where my grandparents were both baptized.  The house where my grandfather grew up is across the street from this church.  This is the church where they were married in 1947.  

And this is the church where my grandmother's funeral was held.  
It was so beautiful.

Because my grandpa was a Navy man and then my father was a Navy man and then I was a Navy woman, our family has spread out a bit.  We moved a lot and usually lived places long enough to make memories but not really put down roots.  It was neat to spend time in a place that was full of the landmarks of my family's story.  I can't wait to go back.  There's no place like home.