Yesterday was the official Memorial Day holiday. I picked up a bunch of geraniums at Wal-Mart and picked up G.G. and headed out to Laurel Hill. I took a bucket, scrub brush, and a spade to trim around the stones. Geraniums are the flower my mother has, as long as I can remember, placed on the graves on Memorial Day.
We started off at her father's grave where I placed two geraniums. His name was Roy Clinton Thornton and he died in 1937 on his way from home to go to work at his first job in five years. On his way to the job he suffered a heart attack. He died on his way to Broadlawns General hospital. The story, as told to me by my mother, was that it was a very cold, icy January day. Family members down the street were watching for him to come by and when they didn't see him, they went in search of him and found him on the ground. The job Thornton was to have started was at the Wood Brothers Threshing Machine Co., near E. Fourteenth St. and Aurora Ave. During the time he had been out of work, the family has been supported by three sons. Billy had a Works Progress Administration (WPA) job, Roy, Jr., was in a Civilian Conservation Camp (CCC) camp at Centerville and Russell is in a CCC camp at Indianola. (Note: The CCC worked on improving millions of acres of federal and state lands, as well as parks. New roads were built, telephone lines strung, and trees planted. Lake Ahquabi is where I'm sure he was working, and the buildings and trails are still in existence and being used to this day. There were 23 picnic areas and other structures built at Lake Ahquabi and the park was dedicated in 1936. If Roy was in Centerville at the time of the published story about Roy Sr.'s death, he was most likely working on soil erosion project according to the Iowa Public Works Project Database).
Roy is buried next to his wife's See relations, who had lost a son or sons and had bought a plot of burial spots. They donated the plot for his burial.
Next we went to my Uncle Kenny's and Aunt Lois's plot to place more flowers. I have many fond memories of these two, including the annual 4th of July family gathering on their acreate in Altoona. Uncle Kenny died in 1988 at age 65 and Aunt Lois in 2007 at age 83. They are buried very close to some of my mother's Rouse relatives, and we ran into her cousin Marilyn. Visited with her for awhile and planted geraniums and cleaned up their stone.
We then moved on to my Grandmother's and Uncle Bill's spot and again cleaned up around it and planted our geraniums. Grandma passed away 1961 at age 66. I was 6 years old. She lived with my Uncle Bill, who never married, until he passed away of a heart attack on November 26, 1957 at age 44. We also stopped at my Uncle Russell and Aunt Betty's grave. Uncle Russel died in February 20, 1958 at age 39, 86 days after his brother Bill passed away.
Lastly we moved on to my Uncle Roy's grave. Mom had to stay in the car because it is a very steep climb to his resting place. He died in 1990 at age 75, which is a long life as far as the Thornton men go, and is buried on a plot next to his grandfather, my great-grandfather, William Adam Rouse, who died in 1926.
I really enjoy this Memorial Tradition of paying honor to family members who have passed on and enjoy sharing it with my mom.