Journeys Home

I visited Middletown, Ohio, specifically woodside Cemetery where my dad is buried. This has been part of the summer trip agenda, and I wasn’t sure on which end of the trip we would be able to do this. My dad was buried in 1975; I made a visit in 1986, and today was the first time since then. Thanks to the internet, I had the map of the cemetery, and directions to Middletown. We had stopped at the visitor’s welcom center as we entered Ohio this morning, and as I looked at the map, I decided to skip the Interstate and travel a few back roads on the diagonal to get to Middletown.

It was a lovely, cool, sunny morning, not too much humidity. The roads were full of fields, large and small houses, porch swings, wrap-around porches, quaint mailboxes, and lovely small towns. One town, Eaton, had what I remembered as the typical small-town downtown. The stores were till in business, and what a variety – dry goods (don’t hear that term much anymore), the ubiquitous liquor store or two, doctors’ offices – wonder if any of them make house calls?

The tree that we had planted when my dad died is now very large, but it hasn’t weathered well – lots of missing branches, and a shape that can only be classified as irregular. Perhaps it fits the family. There were artificial flowers on his grave – I will forever wonder about those. I need to have death years added for my Nana and mother when I can afford it, even though they are buried elsewhere. Somehow it just seems to be a piece of unfinished business.

I ended up crying a lot – extremely unusual for me. All I could think was that it had been so important not to cry some 35 years ago, and now it all came out. It’s a beautiful spot and I have a few pictures for when I need to see it again. I had forgotten the inscription on the headstone: We have fair skies, calm winds, and smooth seas. My dad had been in the Merchant Marines during World War Two, and he loved his time on the various boats he owned. I have to hope he enjoys those words.

I love you, Daddy. I’ve never gotten over missing you.

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