Everyday adventures

Toto, We're Not in Kansas, but...

June 15, 2010

I returned yesterday from a quick trip to meet my mom and aunt in Missouri.  This sign greeted me in the Kansas City airport:


My aunt has spent years researching her family's genealogy, and planned this trip with my mom so they could visit a number of small Missouri towns where key ancestors had been born/married/lived/died.  They invited me to join them and I jumped at the chance--road trip! Armed with Aunt Jary's two carefully compiled three-ring binders, we toured central Missouri, driving through tiny towns and tramping through cemeteries.

Surprisingly, I found the exploration of these old cemeteries rather fascinating. Except for the occasional bird, we were alone in an atmosphere of deep peace. We had nothing but rolling farmland around us, and sometimes a breeze lifted the tree leaves and stirred the little American flags someone had placed on some of the graves for Memorial Day.  I found myself wondering what these people had been like in life--how had they lived? What were the relationships between those buried on the family plots? Some gravestones marked the short lives of infants and young children. One of my own long-gone relatives had died in her 20s of consumption. 

The grave that held the most interest for me was this one:

A "great-great" who fought for the Union in the Civil War, P.M. was imprisoned in Andersonville, the notorious Confederate prison camp in Georgia, and lived to tell the tale.  I've been to Andersonville twice, but unfortunately I didn't yet know about my own personal inmate either time.

We visited several other places of interest while on the tombstone tour--and I'll share more with you later in the week.  Until then, watch out for flying monkeys!