Monday, January 28, 2013

We're in Ames, IA tonight

We had a really lovely gathering yesterday at First Church - I would estimate that at least 50 people, in addition to family members, came, and people came and went, but many  stayed a long time and visited with family and each other and talked about what Stewart meant to them. Given the sloppy, icy weather, I think that was a good turnout and a tribute to Stewart. Ellen largely coordinated the food - which came from Jewell Supermarket (lots of platters of fruit, veggies, cold cuts, etc), Pasta Mia (Buffalo wings and chicken tenders) , Pita Puff (falafel cakes), Danny's pizza, etc., plus a few things she made - there was way more food than we needed but we had no idea how many to prepare for so we erred on the "too much" side. But it all looked beautiful, and with flowers and nice table cloths and everything it was a very lovely event.  Susie had made a really great display of photos from Stewart's life and I had prepared an 85-photo slide show of Stewart on my computer, which played continuously. The DIRRT band (Damon, Tristan, Ryan and Dennie) played one of Stewart's favorites - Dave Brubeck's Take Five  - over and over. It was exhausting to be on one's feet for over three hours and talking most of the time, but it was well worth it and I think everyone felt good about it.

We left Maggie and Jerry's this morning late - close to noon - and drove to Anamosa, IA, where I went to high school in the 1950s, to visit Betty Remley. Betty is 95, and she was the choir director in my father's church when I was in high school!! She is amazing. Joining us was Bettie Miller, who is the daughter of Parke and Lucille Ogden - whose farm I worked on in the summers of 1947 and 1948. Then in 1949 I became a chauffeur for her grandfather, Dan Umbenhauer, who was himself probably 80 years old that year, but was still a top notch salesman for the Grinnell Glove Company. He had never learned to drive a car and for decades had covered his territory - Iowa, Missouri and Illinois - by bus and train! He got the company to hire me to drive him to all the little towns he had missed over the years because they weren't served by bus or train. I was paid $25 a week, had an expense account, and got to drive 10,000 miles the summer of my 16th year - with a brand new driver's license!  How's that for a job!! Bettie said she has lots of photos of her parents and grand dad - so next time we'll go by her place and look at them. Today we just had a good visit remembering former years.

We left Anamosa at about 5:00pm and drove along Route 30 to Ames. It was very foggy all the way and right now we can hear thunder outside our motel window, and it's raining hard. There was lightning earlier. 

Part of Susie's display of her dad's life

Detail of display
One of my favorite shots - taken on our land in Vermont, about ten years ago. 

Stewart's barbershop quartet Grandfather's Clock in performance
(Elgin, IL is the home of the Elgin Watch Co.)

No comments:

Post a Comment