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Sunday, June 20, 2010

#194: The Girl From Limestone, Part Four

This is the story the way I tell it. Much of it is factual. All of it is true. The parts that didn't happen that way, should have...pennsy
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

After Bill died, there were loose ends to take care of. The house on Broadway was too big and too expensive to take care of. And she and Bill had bought the house in Limestone after Margaret died. It was going to be where they retired when Bill was done working. Now it would be Beverly's home again.

The old house and its four acres had always been the place where the women in her family came. Gramma Edder had been living there for years when Margaret and the babies moved back during the war. Aunt Grace had raised her family in the house next door, and when she died, Beth and her family bought it. The purchase kept the property together and got her out of Pittsburgh where life on the streets was taking its toll. Bev and Bill had always brought the kids up to "Gramma's" for a chance to get some fresh air. While Bev visited with her parents, Bill would take the kids for long walks in the woods, teaching them the names of trees and plants. The place was situated atop a mountain, thick with old hardwood trees. There were long views of surrounding farmland and skies you could stare into for hours, both night and day. In the old days, there was no such thing as a starry night in Pittsburgh, but in Limestone, the night was thick with stars, like a planetarium. Bev knew that was where she belonged.

She had some work done on the house. Bought a new car. Tried to cram a lifetimes worth of  "stuff" into a house that was already full of four generations worth of antiques, heirlooms, and old junk. She started reacquainting herself with friends she hadn't really seen since high school. Joined her parent's church. Over the years of visiting and catching up, quilting and cooking dinners, she found herself doing surprisingly well. Losing Bill had been the hardest thing she'd ever had to go through, but it hadn't killed her. She had travelled a long way to get back home, but home she was.

She still travelled. She would jump in the car and drive to Pittsburgh to visit Bonnie, until , like her sister, she felt the pull of the old homestead and brought her family back to Clarion county. Old friends in Virginia would invite her down and she would make the trip, alone. It was the most natural thing in the world. Bill had done all the driving for so many years. Riding made him car sick. She felt like she was making up for lost miles. Bob and his wife lived in Kentucky, now. She could be through Ohio and on their doorstep in eight hours flat. Not the easiest drive, but one she was glad to make.

She became "Gramma" to Bonnie's kids, just "Gram" to Beth's. She was all the things a grandmother should be to them. Confessor, conscience, confident, and loan shark. She swore she would never treat her in laws the way Julie had treated her, and she never did. She might have bitten her tongue now and then, but she never clucked it.

She's seventy one years old now. She still drives to Kentucky whenever she damn well pleases. She quilts on Tuesdays. Her grandkids are growing up, the oldest two have graduated now. She still works as a church secretary, though the schedule is starting to wear her down. Her children love her, her friends stand by her, and she is the matriarch of a strange, but unbreakable clan.

She still wonders what comes next. Bob came down with cancer this year. She spent two months with him and Martha, helping to look after him, but that's a long time to be away from home. Yesterday, she made the drive back through a pounding rainstorm. Driving through Ohio in the rain. Now there's a dream come true for you. She'll check up on the house, see what the kids have left standing. Open some mail. Go to church. Get her hair done. Maybe just sit tight on the "farm" for a while. They'll call if they need her. She has a bag half packed and can be there in a day. Meanwhile, it's good to be home. It's where the women from Limestone have always found their strength.

Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four

2 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story, and you've told it so well! Thank you for sharing it.
    ~Alex~

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mom says I made most of it up. That's the best part about my memory, far as I'm conserned...

    ReplyDelete

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