Category Archives: Getting older

Memorial Day 2020

My sister Karen made the trip on Saturday to decorate the graves of our forebears.

Top: my mother and father, in Lee’s Summit.

Bottom: forty miles south, in Crescent Hill Cemetery outside of Adrian, my grandmother Ruth and grandfather Edwin, and my beloved Aunt Esther, her sister, with Uncle John.

And sixty miles south of where I live, my paternal grandparents in De Soto:

Vincent and Flora, my grandparents.


Nineteen years ago this month.

I was part of a Group Study Exchange of four young (under-40) professionals, going to Brazil from central Indiana, all under the auspices and sponsorship of Rotary International.

This trip changed my life.

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I have a few possessions that make me happy, and that remind me of someone or someplace.

This glass clown is from Switzerland.  I was the ring-bearer at age 4 or 5 in a wedding at Calvary Baptist Church in Columbia.  The bride and groom honeymooned in Europe and brought this back to me as a gift.

From Aunt Esther.  This hand-painted pitcher now sits on top of her china cabinet, now in my dining room.

I have several cloisonné pieces I picked up outside of Beijing.

An incense burner I bought in London at the Portabello Road market one weekend.

And this Seth Thomas clock has been my family for generations.

J. C. Penney

The news that Penneys has finally filed for bankruptcy took me back to my childhood, again.

A regular destination on a weekend evening — Blue Ridge Mall. That mall itself is now gone too.

The mall was anchored by Penneys on one end, Montgomery Ward in the middle, and Stix Baer & Fuller at the other.

And Penneys is where we bought clothes and shoes. This was a firmly middle-class store for a firmly middle-class family.

J.C. Penney was a Missourian, born in Hamilton. He died in 1971, the year we moved to Lee’s Summit. His grave is in same cemetery as Louis Comfort Tiffany and Leonard Bernstein.