Sometimes, we are afforded the opportunity to just be & enjoy a few moments with our family & perhaps even share a part of our history with our kids – part of what makes us who we are. Not nearly often enough for our liking, but sometimes, it comes in the form of a trip “home” – “home” because it’s never quite the same, at least not for us. But it is still part of who we are and how we came to be that person.
Last weekend offered such a time, and we grabbed on with both hands and no matter how hard the kids tried, we wouldn’t let go…at least not for a while. And when all was said and done, they conceded, it was a good time. “It” being the hour plus we spent driving around the greater Pearl City area, where Chris grew up and still has treasured memories of his younger years. Since his parents moved to Iowa nearly 8 years ago, we don’t make it back very often, but his aunt and uncle were celebrating 50 years of marriage, so we made the trek. 50 years. That’s a lot to wrap my mind around. So much has happened in the 16 we’ve been married, I can’t hardly imagine 50. And they still live, laugh & love, just the way they “always” have, at least as long as I’ve known them. I especially love the way they laugh. Aunt Faline in her quiet snicker, with a smile from ear to ear, usually shaking her head at Uncle Gene, who still giggles like a little boy. I know this because he sounds an awful lot like our Tom. Funny, they bear a striking resemblance to one another as well.
We had plans to head to a cousin’s after the celebration for a wonderfully relaxing escape from reality. Truly, less than 24 hours, but such a restoration of the soul comes when there is belly laughter and the enjoyment of watching kids play and play and play and did I mention laugh? Oh those boys, they had us in stitches.
On the way to the cousins, though, we diverted from the path & headed out for an adventure touring Pearl City and all its wonders. Don’t laugh, there’s a lot of history wrapped up in that little area. Why, we saw some incredibly huge chicken farms, quite expansive dairy operations, and even happened upon the Blackhawk Monument, which for a history buff like our oldest, is pretty cool stuff. But the stop that got them all, even the littlest two, was that of Babb’s Grove Cemetary. You read that right: the cemetary.
I spent all the years of my youth with a cemetary bordering our farm, so it was a treat to run & play hide & seek with my brother among the headstones. We were always very respectful, as much as kids could be anyway. We always stayed close to the stones & never ran carelessly in “the open spaces”. It didn’t happen often, but it was a treat when we were allowed to go & look around. At that point in our lives, who knew people actually lived in the 1800s? Funny the things I remember. So, it never strikes me as odd that the kids would enjoy a walk through a cemetary, especially if they knew they had family there, but apparently, this is an oddity. Imagine, our family “odd” in any way…
So we happened upon Babb’s Grove while Chris was telling of how he spent many years hunting in the area when he all but stopped in the middle of the road. (It’s a one-lane country road, not a big deal.) I sensed he was putting two and two together, so to speak, and waited patiently. We turned into this small, unmarked cemetary as he said, “I think I have ancestors in here.”
He’s been doing some family tree research in his “free time” and remembered reading about Babb’s Grove cemetary. He just wanted to see if he could find any Baumgartners and assured us, “I won’t be long.” After about 10 minutes, I texted him, “Do you mind if the boys join you?” and the adventure took on new meaning. The boys had a mission; and they were successful! Tom found the Baumgartner line & Rob, whose eyesight is apparently much more keen than any of ours, found their great, great, great, great grandfather’s gravesite, one John Baumgartner. There were two others, whose connection we haven’t quite determined yet, but we will, in time. Perhaps that’s another adventure for another day.