My Joy and I can’t quite remember if it was at the end of spring or the beginning of summer that I began to talk about longing for a trip to Pennsylvania. Her husband enjoyed trains of all kinds, so she was nostalgic for a train trip. We do know that on April 14, she put her nostalgia and my longing into action. She purchased on our behalf two round trip train tickets from South Bend to Harrisburg. From Harrisburg we intend to travel by a rented car and have overnight accommodations arranged by Rachel. We hope to be in the Lancaster Co. area on September 11 and 12, and in the Franklin Co. area on September 13 and 14.
When my brother John passed away on June 21 new purpose was given to the trip. John’s daughter, Ruth Ann, told us she had received his ashes from Florida and that he had asked that they be scattered on the “rocks of Pennsylvania or wherever you choose”
Ruth Ann will join us on the afternoon of September 13 to select a place for the scattering, probably somewhere on or nearby Blueberry Acres. That is the small farm developed by J. Irvin and Ruth Lehman and where John and I played and worked before leaving home. Our children have wonderful memories of it as the home of their grandparents.
On September 14, Ruth Ann and I will be joined by Emma and Nora, her daughters from the D.C. area, and by my daughter Rachel. John’s son Dennis and his widow Sally are unable to come from Florida for health reasons.. We will keep them informed of our activities. We are a small family.
Our family will dedicate that Sunday to memories. Some of us will attend the morning service at the Marion Mennonite Church. At noon our immediate family will gather at a local restaurant. At two in the afternoon we will gather at the Marion church cemetery. Ancestors of the Lehman and Martin clans are buried there.
Any of John’s cousins, or any one like Merle Cordell who remembers John as a Sunday School teacher, i.e. anyone who wishes to be with us for memories sake will be welcomed to that event.
Memorials are memory times, so we will wander among the gravestones and allow memories to flow as they will, and be grateful for those who have gone before us.
We have asked Mahlon Eshleman, once married to Mary Horst, a first cousin to be with us. Mahlon as a young man had worked for my brother. John’s children remember him as Uncle Mahlon. He was one of John’s few contacts from his Franklin County home and he chatted with him occasionally by phone. Any one reading this who wants to know more about my brother should click here and here.
We will sing a few songs and Mahlon will read a scripture, make a few comments, and pray. Then the immediate family will leave to spread his ashes at the place chosen by Ruth Ann.
On the next day My Joy and I will begin our journey to Indiana, All of the above is conditioned on a DV, (Deo Volente). You may enjoy a link to The Beauty of Funerals, written in The Mennonite by a person of different culture but relating experiences like my own.