The abiding mystery to me is how she wrote so microscopically. How two and a half years, from 1927 – early 1929 can be recorded in daily paragraphs of this, of that in a tiny leather-bound diary. How any of it is only decipherable with a magnifier. Mostly she records the grind of graduate school, boarding house rules, visitations with friends, the agonizing conflict over Chuck and Johnny, and who might make the most suitable choice for the long stretch of unknown life ahead. Chuck won out in the end. Just as I remember wondering as a girl, if I’d even exist if my mother had married her high school boyfriend instead of my Dad, same goes for whether Louise had gone with the swarthy, worldly Johnny instead of her steady guy back home. She went with dependability. She settled, happily it seems, for being a Jr. High School English teacher instead of a Botany Professor.
We’ll be back in her kitchen this Thanksgiving. The same kitchen that was her mother’s and her grandmother’s. We’ll eat with their forks on plates collected for over a hundred years. As the fifth in a line of generations of mothers at our Preble County Farm Table, I’ll ponder the larger questions of our legacy; gratitude for family, the fidelity to the land that shapes us, and the long stretch of unknown life in front of us. I search for a magnifying glass illuminative enough to help me see our unfolding story, the breaking or continuing lines of our lineage, and enough grounding required for going on with grace.
BLR for the Poplar Grove Muse