Joan Dorsey
Contributing columnist
Wow, if I only knew then what I know now . . . .
Memorial Day is right around the corner for us. Then summer will be in full swing, and it will be glorious.
I mention my family often, so if you don’t mind here goes.
My Mom grew flowers for two reasons. She grew them for graduation and mainly she grew them for Memorial Day.
Growing up Memorial Day was a big deal. No we didn’t BBQ or camp. We didn’t travel across the country to visit a theme park or relatives.
We made our pilgrimage to the local cemetery to visit loved ones and to pay respect to them. Almost all of my uncles had fought in a war. It was just what young men did. Luckily they had all come back home to their families to live out the rest of their lives.
Trips for us included the Gardner Cemetery, Wellsville Cemetery and Prairie Center Cemetery.
Mother would gather as many mayonnaise jars or coffee cans as she had saved. We would wrap them with aluminum foil and then fill them with flowers from the yard.
We always had iris (flags to my mom)- the original blue ones that smelled heavenly. We also had pink roses that she called ‘seven sisters roses’ and peonies ( pea-ohh-knees).
After the make shift vases were filled, they were loaded into the car, in a box, and we headed out.
I mention this whole process because this is how we were taught about our family. Once there, we would find the proper graves and place the flowers on them. Mom would say this is your Uncle (so and so). Or this is your Grandpa you met once when you were three. We visited them all and remembered something about the people who were buried there.
It was quiet and peaceful and very respectful.
When my kids were little I took them to the cemeteries. The problem is they didn’t know any of those people, hadn’t seen photo’s of them and basically just didn’t relate to this whole process.
Families are smaller now and spread out a lot farther apart.
Now people post photos of family and young men dressed sharply in uniform on their Facebook pages. We leave little stories and funny things we remember about them for their kids to read.
Times have changed.
My Dad asked me never to forget his Mother, even though we had never met. I promised him that I wouldn’t forget her. I made my son promise recently, not to forget his Great Grandma Dorsey when I was gone. We drove to Wellsville and found her headstone. It is out of place and needs to be reset.
He knows where it is located.
This year I will try to take flowers to the cemeteries. I may need my sister to go with me to Prairie Center. It is a little harder to find than the others.
I will take flowers from my yard or artificial ones and make my pilgrimage. I will remember stories and funny things I heard growing up. I will tell my son about his extended family.
It seems most of us want to know about our “people” once we get older.
I wish I had asked more questions.
I wish I had listened to the stories more carefully.
At least once a year, those remembrances come back, at least to me, on Memorial Day.