Thursday, October 19, 2006

To Iowa

I'm headed out to Iowa to see my Grandmother Margaret put to rest. The ceremony will be in a small church in the small town she spent most of her life in. A lot of her friends from the old days will be there and I hope to hear lots of stories about my Swiss German grandparents who made America their home.

After the ceremony, we'll drive into the vast Iowan countryside, down many deserted dirt roads, to bury Margaret at the grave that has been waiting for her for years now. She'll be put into the ground next to my grandfather and many of their family and friends will be their neighbors underground.

It is too bad that they can't be buried together in the perfectly manicured graveyard in the little Swiss town where more of their families are buried but I suppose America became a big part of their lives in the end, so this is as fitting a resting place as any.

You can see where the little one room school house used to be from the vantage point of the hillside graveyard. It is surrounded by unpopulated, open countryside for miles and miles. It's a simple, small country cemetery, no more than 100 gravestones, home to a generation which is almost all gone.

A while ago, when granny was more mobile, my father and I drove her out to the cemetery to visit her husband's grave. It was hard to get her out of the car and over the uneven ground to stand next to his marker. Her name had already been carved on the gravestone and her death date was left blank.

For some people this sight would be chilling to look at but Margaret, with her usual carefree pinache, just chuckled to herself and didn't say much. It must be strange looking at the site of your grave but granny was never one for sentiment. Glad I can go out and see her one last time and hopefully catch some glimpse of the Margaret that once was prancing to school with a heart full of hope and excitement for what lay ahead.