Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bittersweet Day

 Yesterday, we were up and out and on the road early to travel out to Harrisburg to visit my youngest son. The four hour visit was bittersweet as my son looked and sounded well and appeared to be on the right track though at the time same time the enormity of the situation was huge and overwhelming. Children played all around us as they were visiting their fathers. Knowing my own son had not seen his own child in a very long time was a chronic and searing pain within my heart. We spoke a lot about her, the future and the hope that continues to remain despite it all.

One statement my son made did bother me and I sit here wondering if I should mind my own business or take it upon myself to say something. When I asked him if his Dad had been up he stated "What you mean after the first and only time he came"? It maybe my imagination, however, there was a little bit of hurt behind that statement.

After the visit, we ventured into the historic town of Lancaster stopped at an Irish pub had a late lunch/early dinner and explored the area. I have been to Lancaster numerous times however I never went into historic downtown and explored the neighborhood. It reminded me of Manayunk and I wondered what the industry was that employed this town since the early 18th century. It also occurred to me that a section of my Keller clan left Manayunk and moved to Lancaster in the early part of the 20th century and I recall an elderly family member who was a Lutheran Minister (Lancaster) came to my grandfather's funeral in 1980. My grandfather's mother was Mary Keller.

Of course, my first stop of exploration was Lancaster City Cemetery in the heart of the small town where Thaddeus Stevens was interred. Thaddeus Stevens was a powerful political figure in the area born April 4, 1792 and died August 11, 1868. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representative from the 8th District. He was a "Federalist  Anti-Masonic Whig Know-Nothing Republican who was born in Danville, Vermont and died in Washington D.C then interred in the Lancaster City Shreiner-Concord Cemetery. He was considered a "Radical Republican" and "a Fierce opponent of slavery". He thought President Lincoln moved too slow and wanted President Johnson impeached. The confederate generals were known to say "if we ever get a hold of Stevens, we will hang him and distribute his bones throughout the southern states".

The historic downtown area was not easy to navigate and before we return I will brush up on the history of the place. The Irish pub was called Annie Baileys where we ate Corn Beef and Cabbage Chowder and drank a Guinness. I personally love to eat in pubs or taverns because they have a cozy atmosphere. I rather have a meal in front of a warm fireplace in a cozy pub than in a stiff fancy restaurant. As I get older I crave simple living.

So I heard there are two cemeteries in Lancaster called "Keller Cemetery" and we passed a street also called "Keller". Of course my genealogy brain wondered if there was a family connection. Anyone who knows me also knows I will be researching all of this and returning to the area prepared.

We drove Rt 30 towards home and as we passed Dutch Wonderland and all the familiar shops and restaurants, the memories overwhelmed me and the flood gates opened. Dutch Wonderland symbolizes a simpler happier time when Shaun, Nikolas and Ava were all together with us traveling and exploring and experiencing. The feeling of lost which I am generally able to keep at bay suddenly consumed me on Saturday and the pain seared within.

  I adore being a grandmother, and I plan time with all of my grandchildren over the weekends in the month. Though my relationship with my oldest granddaughter Ava is now monetary and by mail, I try to sustain that as this is the only relationship I am permitted to have with her at this time. I see Aubree every other Sunday at her house and at the times when my middle son visits me. I make movie, dinner and travel dates with Shaun and Nikolas. My oldest grandson Shaun shares the same interests as myself. He loves history and exploration as much as I do. He has traveled with me the most. When we open the shore house next month, I hope the boys spend a lot of time in Cape May.

This morning, I am nursing a head cold. I spent most of last night feeling rather sick and unable to breath. It appears to be a spring-like day today though I doubt I will do much more than lay in this recliner with hot green tea and chicken noodle soup. Motrin helps keep the headache at bay while the tissues and decongestant tabs address the rest. I have a sore throat and at times lose my voice. Bill is off to Lancaster again today as he left his very expensive camera in the pub at Annie Baileys and will take this opportunity to do some photography.

I know I wrote about many different topics this morning however this is where my mind is traveling this morning.

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