Monday, July 18, 2011

A trip to the Guss cemetary (Part 3 of our road trip)

After we checked out the Methodist Church, I asked Cliff to turn down a gravel road near there.  I wanted to see if there was anything left of Ted Davies' place.  I used to see his farm across the fields from our yard at the switchboard house.  Daddy sometimes helped him on his farm for pay, and we lived in a rental house belonging to him for a short while.  When I spent a week in the hospital at the age of seven, it was Ted who paid the bill.  He was a gray-bearded fellow who sometimes rode by on a horse, and I always felt there was something mystical and cowboy-like about him.  My dad heard rumors that Ted had killed a man in Texas and moved to Iowa to escape the consequences of the deed.  His wife Lucille was a full-blooded Indian, much younger than he.  Mother would go to their house just to visit, or to wallpaper a room or two, and I always went along and played with their children.  They were rather strange kids; the youngest, Louis, threw tantrums if things didn't go his way and would beat his forehead on the sidewalk until it was raw and bleeding.  Nobody intervened, as far as I know.  It scared me when he did that!

I was surprised to see that the old house was still standing at the end of that long, long driveway.  There are barns that weren't there when I was a kid, and the old wooden barns are gone.  I would love to have gone up the drive to get a closer look at the house, but there was a "no trespassing" sign warning us from doing that.  There used to be a working windmill right in the front yard supplying a livestock tank, and chickens pecking and scratching everywhere.
A recent search on the Internet told me that Ted was buried at the Guss cemetery, so that was our next stop.  
Indeed, we found that grave.  But first we passed the headstone on the graves of my sister's mother- and father-in-law.  

These people lived just on the other side of Hampel's store, so there wasn't much to keep my sister from meeting the love of her life right down the road.  Ada had a box of empty thread spools and other odds and ends that she kept on her entry porch for kids to play with, and I had as much fun with those as with anybody's store-bought toys.   And then, a real surprise...

The blacksmith and his wife, and with a picture, too!  

Now, when I knew them they were a young couple with three kids; after we moved to Missouri, they had three more children.  I imagine this picture might have been taken for a later anniversary.  My parents used to play cards with the Mitchells, and Daddy would spend idle time at the blacksmith shop smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and talking to Alvin and other local men gathered there.  I can't forget the time I talked the Mitchell boys into setting their bed on fire.  
Now that I think of it, my parents played cards with everyone around Guss except for Ted Davies and his wife, who never made an appearance at any of the Canasta parties or Stanley parties or get-togethers.  Maybe they just didn't play cards.    
I saw lots of tombstones with names that seemed familiar to me, even though I couldn't connect a face to the names.  
I had a good time in Guss and had seen all I wanted to see, so we got back on the road for our camping adventure.  More about that in the next entry.


DianeLynn said...

What a nice story to read. I found myself wanting to read on...can't wait :)

Paula said...

Love this entry for sure.

Hollie said...

Great entry! I'm still with ya on your adventure!


What a great trip. It's nice to be sentimental and take that journey down memory lane to the past. I went back to my old neighborhood eight years ago and did a similar thing.

Vicki said...

Great post, I feel like I'm on the trip with you. The details that you remember amaze me. You leave me wanting more. Vicki