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A Brief Social History of 20th Century America, As Told By Porches

February 27th, 2013 Sears Homes 1 comment

When you cut a tree down, you can learn a lot about local history by examining its exposed trunk. How many rings does it have? How old is the tree? During which years did the area experience a drought?

By studying America’s early architecture, you can learn a lot about life in that time period. For instance, in the early 1900s, why did the Victorian Manse fall from favor so fast? Why did the diminutive bungalow gain ground so fast?

What ignited The Bungalow Craze?

The germ theory.

In the late 1800s, about one in five children died before their 18th birthday. Parents were desperate to do anything to protect their children’s health. When it was discovered that “germs” were the culprit and that sanitation was the cure, people couldn’t get out of those big houses fast enough. It’s a fascinating topic, and to learn more about this one slice of American architectural history, click here.

Porches also tell a story about the social fabric in early 20th Century America.

In the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, we loved our front porches, and by design, they were intended to “woo and welcome the weary wanderer.”

Men, women and children passed many happy hours on the oversized front porch, and it was an open invitation for folks to drop by a “set a spell” (as we say in the south).

In pre-air conditioning days, the front porch also provided a welcome respite from the summer heat.

Last but not least, there were the salutary effects of fresh air. Primitive heating systems (usually fired by coal) had no filtration, and were probably partly to blame for the fact that so many children suffered from pulmonary diseases.

And there was a body of belief that fresh air was a cure for so many diseases. Being “cooped up” in an unevenly heated, often drafty old house was a recipe for disease, according to the prevailing thought of the day. In the early 1900s, a daily dose of fresh air was akin to today’s fascination with vitamins and herbal remedies.  (In the 1920s, “sleeping porches” became the rage for this very reason.)

And we were a society of walkers. Most communities were full of walkers, on their daily rounds. Without modern refrigeration, excursions to the butcher, the grocer, the baker and the general store were daily events.

And if you passed by The Thornton Home on Thornrose Avenue and saw Rose sitting in her wicker swing on the front porch, it was de rigueur to walk up to (but not on) the front steps and say hello. If Rosemary was in a fittin’ mood, she’d invite you to “set down for a bit and rest a spell.”

Front porches were a significant piece of our social construct in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

When houses got smaller, so did the front porch. By the 1910s, they were significantly downsized. And by 1920, a funny thing happened on the way to the wicker swing. The porch got moved to the side of the house. We still wanted to be part of the community, but we also wanted our privacy, and some alone time with our loved ones.

And in the 1950s, the porch moved again - to the back of the house. After making the commute back home from the foundry or the mill or the Skippy Peanut Butter Plant, we wanted to relax and put our feet up and enjoy our own little oasis in the back yard, away from the madding world. If someone wanted to drop by, they’d darn well better call first, and if they just showed up at the door, we could ignore them, and remain safely ensconced (and hidden) on the back of the house.

As I said, it’s a fascinating thumbnail sketch of American society.

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Aunties home

My great Aunt (Addie Hoyt) lived in this classic Victorian home, which was extensively remodeled (completely rebuilt) in 1895. Note the massive front porch, replete with three hammocks hanging from the porch posts. This photo as taken about 1899 or 1900.

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close up

Here's a close-up of those three hammocks. Very inviting!

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auntie poker

Front porches were very inviting - by design - and also became kind of an "outdoor den" and social center. Here is Addie (facing the camera) playing poker with an unidentified woman friend on the front porch of her home. She captioned this photo, "We have a real kitty for the kitty!"

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contemporary shows off porch

A contemporary view of Addie's home (2012). This photo really shows off those amazing porches. The second floor porches facing the street were sometimes known as "Parade Porches." This house has two second-floor porches. BTW, this house is now a famous Wisconsin landmark, and it's also a B&B. It's known as the Fargo Mansion Inn. Look below for a link to the site.

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1920sw

In 1957, my parents moved into this house at 515 Nansemond Street (Waterview) in Portsmouth, Virginia. It was built in 1924, and you can see the open porch is now on the side of the house. By the early 1920s, porches had migrated to the side, giving the homeowner a little privacy.

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side porch

My parents loved this house, and they captured a picture that really showcases the idea of the "private oasis" and the side porch. This house was in the suburbs (of the time), and not many people were likely to be walking down the street (compared to downtown districts), and yet we still wanted a bit of privacy from the world. Between the long awnings and the tall shrubs, it's hard to see much of anything on that porch, and that was probably by design.

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house house

Close-up of the side porch. In the late1950s, my mother stepped out to her beloved side porch one summer evening and saw a bat hanging upside down in the corner. The next week, a contractor was at the house, screening in Mother's porch. She dearly loved that screened-in porch and spent many happy hours there, looking out at the side yard.

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front porch shelter rain

By 1925, front porches were a place to stand for a moment, sheltered from the elements, while you dug out your house keys. Or in this case, pose for an Easter photo (1957). My brother Tommy stands on the left, with Rickey on the right.

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house house

By the 1950s, porches had migrated to the back of the house. After a hard day at the office, we wanted our privacy and we didn't want to share our quiet time with strollers meandering down the street. There were new social rules. Visitors were by invitation only, and if someone decided to drop by (without calling ahead), we could hide safely in the back of the house, and they'd never know we were home. This house (my house) was built in1962. The porch on the back is invisible from neighbors on either side. When built, this was a screened-in porch with a cement floor. In 1979, the windows were installed, and the 12x14' room became a sunporch. We purchased the home in 2012, and did a few more improvements to the room (some repairs and the installation wall-to-wall carpet). This is now the place where we spend 95% of our time.

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house house

Even before proper porches, people tended to congregate in the front of the "old home place." This is a soddie ("the first house") in Dighton, Kansas. It was made of sod - literally.

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To learn more about Addie, click here.

To stay at Addie’s home, click here.

To read more about Rose’s much-loved mid-century brick ranch, click here.

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Douthat State Park (Clifton Forge)

October 3rd, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Our family first visited Douthat State Park in 1960. In fact, thanks to my father’s meticulous note-taking, I know that our first visit was on June 13th, 1960, which was also my father’s 41st birthday.

Last week, my “new” family (Hubby and I) returned to Douthat and stayed at Cabin #1, the very cabin that the Fullers stayed at throughout their annual pilgrimage in the 1960s. Our last visit was 1969, when Hurricane Camille chased us out, a couple days ahead of our scheduled departure date.

Enjoy the photos - old and new.

To read about the amazing collection of Sears kit homes in Clifton Forge, click here.

Our family first visited Douthat State Park in 1960. Heres a picture of my youngest brother with our mother, Betty Mae Brown Fuller.

Our family first visited Douthat State Park in 1960. Here's a picture of my youngest brother with our mother, Betty Mae Brown Fuller. They're standing in front of the boat rental area by Lake Douthat. Mother was a big believer in life vests, anytime her children were within 200 yards of a body of water (June 1960).

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Apparently, Mother was a big believer in life vests when her children were digging for worms, too, lest he hit an undiscovered body of water hidden just below the forest floor.

Apparently, Mother was a big believer in life vests when her children were digging for worms, too, lest he hit an undiscovered body of water hidden just below the forest floor.

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My eldest brother Tommy fishing on Smith Creek (June 1960).

My eldest brother Tommy fishing on Smith Creek (June 1960).

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My father giving it a go on Smith Creek.

My father giving it a go on Smith Creek.

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Close-up of Tom Fuller (June 1960).

Close-up of Tom Fuller (June 1960).

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Mother and my youngest brother standing on a pretty ricket bridge over Wilson Creek.

Mother and my youngest brother standing on a pretty ricket bridge over Wilson Creek. He looks pretty worried. I would be too.

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Tommy Fuller - more than 52 years ago - at the boat docks by Douthat Lake.

Tommy Fuller - more than 52 years ago - at the boat docks by Lake Douthat.

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Last week (September 2012), my husband and I visited Douthat and we stayed at Cabin #1, the very cabin where our family spent some very happy times. It was quite surreal returning to the very same cabin. The last time I was inside that cabin was 1969, and our family vacated it in a hurry when a park ranger knocked on our door in the wee hours and told us that we had to evacuate immediately, due to torrential rains and flooding from Hurricane Camille.

Last week (September 2012), my husband and I visited Douthat and we stayed at Cabin #1, the very cabin where our family spent some very happy times. It was quite surreal returning to the very same cabin. The last time I was inside that cabin was 1969, and our family vacated it in a hurry when a park ranger knocked on our door in the wee hours and told us that we had to evacuate immediately, due to torrential rains and flooding from Hurricane Camille.

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Inside, the cabin was just as I had remembered. The cabins were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The fireplace was made from native stone from the Blue Ridge mountains.

Inside, the cabin was just as I had remembered. The cabins were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The fireplace was made from native stone from the Blue Ridge mountains.

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The living room was smaller than I remember...

The living room was smaller than I remember...

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And my parents bedroom was teeny tiny!

And my "parent's bedroom" was much smaller! In fact, it was teeny tiny!

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The porch hasnt changed much in the last 50 years.

The porch hasn't changed much in the last 50 years.

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A placard by the front door commemorates the CCC.

A placard by the front door commemorates the CCC.

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In

The doors and hardware are - for the most part - original to the cabin.

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Sadly, the condition of the cabins has been deteriorating. We saw roof leaks and mildew on several ceilings inside the cabin. For all the money our government wastes on overseas spending, youd think they could throw a few thousand at this historic treasure and try and preserve it. As Norm says on This Old House, once a house loses its boots and hat, it wont last long.

Sadly, the condition of the cabins has been deteriorating. We saw roof leaks and mildew on several ceilings inside the cabin. For all the money our government wastes on overseas spending, you'd think they could throw a few thousand at this historic treasure and try and preserve it. As Norm says on "This Old House," once a house loses its boots and hat, it won't last long.

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During our visit, we didnt do any fishing, but we did go fishing for a good signal from the local Appleton Mountain repeater.

During our visit, we didn't do any lake fishing, but we did go "fishing" for a good signal from the local Appleton Mountain repeater (Ham Radio). Hubby toted this stick antenna around for a bit, helping me find the "sweet spot."

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Sweet

The sweet spot turned out to be about 30 feet in front of the cabin, hanging on a tree branch. There's a lot of high tech equipment in this picture. That's a stick antenna, on loan from RASON (Radio Amateur Society of Norfolk), hanging on a piece of clothesline rope, held in place by a log which served as a counter-weight. Incredibly, we got a very clear signal from the Appleton Repeater, about 60 miles away in Bedford, Virginia. I'd LOVE to know where that repeater is located! Is it atop the Peaks of Otter?

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I highly recommend a visit to Douthat State Park. About 15 minutes from the park (in Clifton Forge), you can visit the C&O Railway Museum, and see this beautiful steam locomotive up close and personal!

About 15 minutes from the park (in Clifton Forge), you can visit the C&O Railway Museum, and see this beautiful steam locomotive up close and personal! Byron from the C&O Railway Museum gave us a first-class tour and we relished every moment. It was a highlight of the trip. Both Hubby and I were very impressed with Byron. He was a wonderful tour guide and regaled us with countless *amazing* stories.

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And Hubby got to play engineer!

And Hubby got to play engineer!

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To read more about the C&O Train Museum in Clifton Forge, click here.

To learn about RASON, click here.

To read about those splendiferous kit homes in Clifton Forge, click here.

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My Dear Auntie Died Six Years Ago Today…

October 25th, 2011 Sears Homes 2 comments

In the late 1990s, my mother’s beloved older sister “Engie,” became unable to care for herself. The family hired a caregiver who proved wholly unsatisfactory. In October 2000, my mother and I flew out to Alameda to pick up Engie and bring her back to Illinois (where I was living at the time).

My mother was in her late 70s at the time, and the stress of worrying about her dear sister was taking a toll on her emotional and physical health. I couldn’t bear to see my mother suffer so. I volunteered to move Engie to Illinois and put her in a good-quality home and watch over her as if she were my own sister.

This comforted my mother.

I also made a promise to my mother that I would continue to take care of Engie until the day she took her last breath.

A promise is a promise, but a promise made to one’s dear mother is a solemn vow.

Little did I know that my own mother would die about 14 months later. Despite my deep grief, I pushed on and upheld my end of the bargain, and continued to visit Engie frequently and watch over her and pray for her and sing her to sleep at night and kiss her on the cheek - which always made her smile.

Below is an excerpt from an unpublished manuscript, detailing my care of Engie. This excerpt discusses Engie’s last day, October 25, 2005.

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Engie and I had come a long way together and now our walk together was coming to an end. Just six days earlier, I’d been sitting at the local restaurant, eating pumpkin pancakes with Pamela, with no idea of what awaited me at the nursing home. Now I was parked at Engie’s bedside, basking in the glow of this heavenly energy, and waiting for that shimmering tether that connected her soul and body to snap free.

And five days earlier, I’d been sitting in this same spot when my eyes fell on an old photo of Engie. It was a good clear photo, showing Engie, her husband Charlie and Engie’s brother, Harry. They were all dressed in their Sunday best, with Engie wearing a fashionable hat, white gloves and clutching a small purse. She sure looked cute in her classic 1950s dress with green polka dots. I picked up the picture to take a closer look and noticed that it was taken in 1959, the year of my birth. Isn’t that a coincidence, I thought to myself.

Then I looked at Engie’s 87-year-old body laying on the bed. And then it hit me. When that photo was taken, Engie was in her mid-40s, or about my age. When that photo was taken, she was where I am now, on the nine-decade timeline that is the average woman’s life. If Engie was my age in 1959, then did that mean that one day, I would be the age she is now?

Now we all may know - on an intellectual level - that our time on this earth is limited, but this little example gave me the proverbial smack between the eyes. While still reeling from this revelation, I noticed something else about this photo that I’d never seen before. In the background, there was an old wall clock with its hands positioned neatly at 10 and 2. An angel voice whispered to me, “This will be the time when Engie passes on. Remember, our times are in Thine hands. God knows the end from the beginning.”

Another angel message that was not aligned with my personal belief systems, but there it was. Did God really know such details of our mortal life? I decided I was probably thinking too much and gently set the photo back on the night stand and returned to singing “Rock of Ages” for the 49th time.

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I could hear the hospice nurse in the hallway, rustling about and asking what had happened to Engie’s standing order for morphine. Upon overhearing this, I felt a wave of irritation arising in me, gathering strength and momentum. For several days, we’d been talking about having morphine ready if needed and now, someone thought it was needed and no one could find it? I decided to let that little drama stay outside in the hallway. I didn’t want to leave Engie and I didn’t want to come down from this mountaintop of spiritual clarity. I don’t remember a time in my life when I felt so calm, serene and completely unafraid.

I continued to hold Engie’s hand and sing hymns. The words of these hymns came alive with meaning to me and I sang softly, slowly and with tears in my eyes. The time between her breaths was getting longer and longer and often it was more a series of little sighs than a breath. For a few moments, I tried breathing in concert with her but couldn’t hold my breath that long.

Then I heard the hospice nurse approaching our room. I bent over and whispered into Engie’s ear, “He’s well-intentioned, but he’s coming back in here with something neither you nor I think you need. You might want to get while the getting’s good.”

I said it in half-jest. She took me seriously.

Morphine in hand, he started to dribble the liquid into her open mouth and her breathing became quite odd, almost like tiny puffs. He said, “I think she’s going.”

I looked down at her and she had stopped breathing, but she’d already done that so many times. But then she let out a tiny little squeak and the last bit of pink color, on her chest and neck and parts of her face, disappeared in a flash.

“She’s gone,” he said.

I closed my eyes and prayed the most earnest, heart-felt prayers of my life, pleading that God’s angels would lead her and keep her safe. I prayed that the angelic ushers would lead her directly to the light of God’s love and that her transition would be blessed and joyous and simple. I thought of my favorite Bible verse and its applicability to this moment: “Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way and bring thee into the place I have prepared” (Exodus 23:20).

The hospice nurse spoke again and said, “She gone to heaven now. She’s with Jesus and safe forever.”

In my journal, I wrote,

“The nurse’s comments - and the love that motivated them - were a great comfort. When she was actually passing on - those few seconds when she was leaving the building - I felt a powerful surge of all kinds of emotions and spiritual energy. I felt hyper-attuned to the things of spirit and felt supremely close to God. Tears poured down my face. It was a blend of joy that she was reunited with her family and it was also a relief that I had finished the work God gave me to do - that of being her caretaker. I always loved her and always will love her, but seeing her in that state for five years was very, very hard. But even now, writing these words a few days later, I remember experiencing those tears of relief and their odd coupling with a profound joy that she was with her family again.”

After a few seconds passed, I asked the nurse if he was really sure that she was gone. After all, she’d stopped breathing before - for periods up to 45 seconds.

“That’s why we get another nurse to confirm.”

With that, he dashed out of the room and reappeared in less than 20 seconds with a staff nurse from the home. She felt for Engie’s pulse, looked me in the eye and said softly, “Yes, she has passed.”

I replied, “Are you really sure?” Suddenly, I had an image of putting Engie  into a body bag while she was still alive. And she’d hung on for so long, how could we be sure she wouldn’t come back? In retrospect, I probably wasn’t doing my best human reasoning at this moment. But looking at her still form left little doubt. In less than two minutes, her color was now dramatically different, as was the appearance of her face and body.

The hospice nurse said, “I’m calling it. Time of death, 10:10 a.m.” And that’s when a chill ran through me. That was the same time in the picture by her bed, on the wall clock I’d never noticed until five days ago. All our time is in God’s hand. Really and truly and literally and figuratively. God knows the end from the beginning. Before Engie ever came to earth, God knew what time she’d returned to heaven.

The nurses left me alone with Engie and then a diminutive, young aide appeared in the room, carrying two towels, a sponge, a small plastic tub and a washcloth.

“Would you rather have a moment with her before I clean her up?” she asked.

“Yes, I would.”

I could no longer sit at the edge of Engie’s bed, but stood at its foot. I took a moment to pray and enjoy the presence of that angelic army that had silently shared this space and time with us. I closed my eyes and looked for them but found myself saying out loud, “Everyone’s gone!” The room was flat and cold and empty. They’d all left without saying good-bye and they’d left in a hurry! The life energy that I’d felt coursing through that room was simply gone. It  was akin to being a guest at a big, happy party, turning your back for a moment and then looking back to see that everyone had rushed off.

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Years earlier, I’d read Catherine Marshall’s book, “A Man Called Peter,” a biography of Peter Marshall, chaplain to the Senate in 1947 - 1949 and well-known minister of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. The most memorable part of this well-written book was Catherine’s telling of Peter’s death. After he passed on, Catherine remained in the hospital room, seated beside Peter’s body. She said she became aware of a shining, loving and powerful presence in the room and it was made clear to her that Peter and someone else were there to help her through this difficult time. She said she didn’t want to leave the room because she knew she was in the presence of the very essence of divine love. After a time, this presence faded and she knew it was time to leave. This experience, she related, helped her deal with the grief of losing her husband so suddenly.

I suppose I was expecting to have a similar experience. In Peter’s case, he was 46 years old and his death was very sudden. Engie and I had had years to prepare for this. Perhaps that was the difference.

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In my journal, I described the life-force that I’d felt in Engie’s room as “pure energy and pure love, if you can imagine the two conjoined, powerful and strong and awesome and amazing.”

But now everyone was gone and I was alone and I looked over at Engie’s still form and all I could think was, “What in the world am I doing in here with a dead body?” That single glimpse of the body brought on another wave of nausea, so I quickly rose and left the room. (Later, in my journal I wrote, “I feel like God was telling me that Engie had spent enough time in the nursing homes. When it was over, she didn’t want to linger. She was ready to get out of there.”)

Unsure of what to do next, I went to the nurse’s station and asked simply, “What do I do now?”

They asked for the name of the funeral home I wanted to use and they made the call for me. I called my brother Tom, but couldn’t get through. I went outside to look at the pretty blue sky and breathe in some of the beautiful fall morning. I walked to my car and sat inside of it for a time. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or be disturbed. I just wanted to compose myself and gather my thoughts and ponder the enormity of this experience. After a few minutes, I walked back toward the front door of the nursing home and met the hospice nurse, loading his things into a crummy-looking, rusted-out Ford pick-up truck.

“I wish that someone doing such holy, sacred work,” I thought to myself, “could have the simple joy of a better-looking and more reliable set of wheels.”

I thanked him for his good work and told him how grateful I was that he’d been there when Engie passed. He seemed relieved and expressed concern that he had intruded on such a private moment.

“Oh no,” I told him. “I think she was waiting for you to return so I wouldn’t be alone in the room when she passed on.”

When I returned to Engie’s room, I found that someone had come in to clean her up a bit. Her hands were overlapped, resting on her chest and her eyes were closed and her hair had been combed. To think that some minimum-wage, overworked nurse’s aide had taken the time and effort to tidy up Engie’s body was deeply touching. I sat down on the empty bed in the semi-private room and waited for someone from the funeral home to show up. And then Engie’s body started making some really strange gurgling sounds and I had to leave the room. I told her good-bye, which was ridiculous, because I knew that Engie was long gone.

The funeral director arrived and I met with him in the nursing home’s atrium. We sat down and talked about the arrangements. I was surprised by how concerned I was about Engie’s body. I told him that it was part of our religious tradition that her naked body not be exposed at any time during this cremation process and that I needed to know that her body would be treated with respect and care. In voicing these things, I realized that my job as advocate wasn’t over yet.

I then asked him at least two dozen questions to which he gave thoughtful, carefully worded replies. I apologized for the interrogation but told him, “These things matter to me. I’ve taken care of her for five years. I need to make sure her body is taken care of properly.”

His reply surprised me.

“I don’t mind your questions. In fact, I’m glad to answer them. You have no idea how often the family calls us with a credit card and tells us where to pick up the body. We never meet them and we never hear from them again. You’re asking questions because you care. That’s a good thing.”

Next, he went to his vehicle (a white windowless minivan) and pulled out a gurney with a folded sheet laid neatly on top. I met him at her room and asked if he needed help moving her onto the gurney, to which he said no. I asked again that he take care to keep her body discreetly covered. He did so as I looked on, and he treated her body with great care. He then wrapped her up in the sheet, explaining that she would not be uncovered again and that the sheet would be destroyed in the cremation process.

I walked with him as he pushed the gurney down the nursing hall corridors. Realizing it was the last stroll I’d take with my dear Auntie, my still-damp eyes started to tear up again. Nurses in the hallway stopped moving, turned toward us and offered a solemn nod as our little procession went by. One young aide stopped and touched my arm and said, “I’m so sorry about your Aunt. I hear you stayed with her to the end. You’re a good niece.”

Her comments touched me deeply.

We walked out the back door and he loaded the gurney into the back door of the custom-designed minivan. We shook hands and I thanked him for his care and thoughtfulness. He said he’d be in touch and to call if I had any more questions. After locking down the gurney and shutting the back door, he got in the van and drove away.

I remember standing there at the curb, gazing up toward the deep blue sky and saying, “I did it, Mom. I stayed with her until she drew her last breath. Hardest thing I ever did, but I did it.”

A dear friend, whom I leaned on heavily during this time said, “You honored your mother by keeping that promise. She’d be proud of you.”

I took great comfort in that.

Walking down the sidewalk to my car, I remember thinking, “So this is how life feels when there’s no fear, no regrets, no guilt, no negative emotions of any kind? This feels real good.”

I felt more alive that day than I’d ever felt before. And I felt proud of myself for doing something hard, not quitting in the middle and seeing it through to the end. It was all good.

For the next few days, that feeling of being hyper-attuned to the things of spirit and the things of God remained with me. It manifested itself in several ways. I felt a deep-down-to-the-bones serenity. I couldn’t bear to hear people gossip or talk ugly about each other. I couldn’t watch television, for any violence was too disturbing. Before the phone rang, I knew - not only that it was going to ring, but who was calling. It was an amazing experience. And I’m sorry to say that that spiritual high eventually faded, but it was memorable, life-changing and transformative.

And there was another interesting piece of this experience that I still retain, even two years later. When I thought of Engie, I never thought of her as dead. I had a persistent feeling that I’d packed her off for an adventure in a new place. I felt like a mom who’d bundled up her child and sent her off to summer camp for a season of fun.

The movie “What The Bleep Do We Know?” refers to the human body as a four-layer bio suit. When I thought of Engie, it wasn’t even a feeling that, here’s the body and here’s the soul and they’ve separated now. Her bio-suit didn’t define her or even represent her. It was just the outfit she wore for these last eight decades. And now, she’d left the suit behind so she could move on to the next adventure. It was as though she’d left behind her snowsuit because she’d gone off to live in the sunny tropics.

Engie’s body was cremated and because she was a WWII veteran, I made arrangements to have her ashes interred at a Veteran’s cemetery in St. Louis (Jefferson Barracks).

Today marks the sixth anniversary of that life-changing day.

I hope her soul is at peace.

Auntie in the army

Auntie in the army

Aunt Engie with her father, Edward Brown.

Aunt Engie with her father, Edward Brown (and Huey).

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