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DayCreek Journal

December 21 , 2006

The Time Machine

Photograph of my mother - age 8.

Earlier this year when we put our dad's house up for sale, we ran across a treasure trove of old photographs from my mother's side of the family. I decided that I would "some day" go through these photos and scan them into the computer. Well, that "some day" became most of last week.(Thank you Mom for writing names on the photographs!!!)

Little did I know that I would soon be transported back in time to an era that I can only imagine. Back to the time when my mother was growing up as a little girl in Cascade, Iowa. It's hard to imagine nowadays how someone could even exist back then. There were no Play Stations®, no cell phones, no I-Pods®, no computers, no Blackberries® (except ones that grow on bushes), no Palm Pilots®, no CD players, and not even a TV! Life must have been horrible! How could someone exist?! Well, evidently they did. We are all living proof they survived.

Times were tough back then. My mother used to tell me stories of the great flood in Cascade, Iowa that nearly wiped the town off the map. And then of course there was the Great Depression. I think it was during that time that my grandfather moved the family to Chicago.

Although it's fun to look at old photographs of my brother's with crew cuts and flood pants, my favorite photos of all are of my Great Aunt Jo who lived in Cascade, Iowa her entire life. It's hard to pinpoint why this is...maybe she was the grandmother I never had or maybe it was her kindness or love of life. Whatever the reason, looking back at her life brings back a flood of memories.

My Great Aunt Jo tending to her garden.

My Great Aunt Jo (Josephine Amelia Gollibitz Walsh) was born on St. Patrick's day (March 17) in 1881. Aunt Jo was raised by her grandmother (Wilhelmina Beck Weber) and Aunt Molly and Lou Weber. She had a variety of jobs during her life. One of the most noteworthy being the first telephone operator in Cascade. (Ironically, she herself never owned a telephone. All correspondence was done by mail.)

Unfortunately, I only knew Aunt Jo during my younger years. By the time I grew up and came to my senses she already had passed on. How I would have loved to have spent a summer with her helping with the garden and learning her gardening secrets. She had the most beautiful flower and vegetable garden west of Dubuque. I really do believe that it was her garden that kept her young throughout her life. She was always active it seemed: either planning her next garden or tending to it during the growing season.

Aunt Jo lived to be 102 years young. It's now been over 20 years since she passed away, but I still remember her vividly. She was such a special person. I can only hope that someday I can have a garden as vibrant and productive as hers.

Here's a poem that Aunt Jo wrote that I'd like to share:


Beauties of nature everywhere surround us.
No matter where we are or where we go
We are surrounded by nature's beauties.
The babbling brook which flows through the land,
The trees that bud and blossom in the spring and in summer
Bear their edible fruit and stand bare,.
In winter become covered with ice and snow
Which sparkle like diamonds.
Providence has provided them
And they are therefore no mans property
And the poor as well as the rich may enjoy them.
The diverse aspect of nature
Like the manifold meaning of art
Are so may voices which penetrate the heart
And speak to the intelligence.
We should therefore thank God for all of these beauties.

—Josephine Walsh



Baby New Year wishes you and your family the Happiest of Holiday Seasons and a Healthy New Year!