Grandma Nora, Great Grandma Sarah, Great Grandpa Donaldson, Uncle Hawley
I have a clear memory of being about fifth grade, and being in a school program at the Sugar Creek Town Hall. My class was part of a Memorial Day program that included singing songs (from the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli), and reciting poetry (in Flanders fields the poppies grow...). We all received little flags and marched about a block across county highway A to Mount Pleasant cemetery, where local veterans of Korea or World War II made speeches, shot off guns, and a good time was had by all. This particular year Jake. R. was supposed to recite In Flanders Field, but he conveniently missed the program and I recited it instead. He knew I was a show-off.
Mount Pleasant is indeed pleasant. Situated on high hill that looks over flat farm field surrounding it, the cemetery has stones going back to 1853. My mother was big on putting together flowers for all of her and Dad's relatives, and she let me help assembling flower boxes to put on the graves. I clearly remember driving up the steep hill to the oldest part of the graveyard, though in those days none of the names on the stones had any meaning for me. The idea of the people under the sod was abstract, unlike now when many of the names on the stones have faces attached in my mind.
I stopped by yesterday to make another attempt to find my great grandparents headstones. Both Cornelius (Con) Donaldson and his wife Sarah are buried there, according to my records. His parents came from Norway, hers from Ireland. The only things I know about them are what I find in old photographs, and notes my mom got from Grandpa Pierce. It didn't help that Mother never referred to either of them as Grandma or Grandpa, simply calling them Con and Sarah. It took years before I understood they were my Grandma Pierce's parents. Anyway, I didn't mind walking the rows on a sunny, windy day looking for their names. Unfortunately, I didn't succeed in finding their headstones this trip either. But I did copy down a telephone number for information from a signpost, so perhaps I can find a person with a map of where people are buried. Then I can continue Mother's tradition of decorating all the family graves sites.
Late update: A telephone call to a man named Lee G. who has all the cemetery records was interesting. One of the first things he asked me was "Are you at the cemetery?" Must be that people looking for lost relatives call on their cell phones. When I said I was at home he was obliging in describing where I could find the graves I wanted. Turned out they were near the place I remembered, but much further in the row. I gave up too soon the other day. Mystery solved.