Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Chapter in Life

I wanted to explain the reason for my absence so long and apologize for any inconvenience. My mother-in-law approached her 80th year with the hopes of 'enjoying retirement!' But life isn't always so kind, and the best laid plans....well you know how it goes. Making a long story short, she became ill and required 24 hour care. My husband and I did our best to bring her health around, but it wasn't meant to be. It was a difficult time as walking someone through their final days brings a lot of challenges. And although there are tough times, there are special moments too. It's a bittersweet experience.

Grace Ellen Kuehner Kozic joined her ancestors March 15, 2011. It's taken this long to get ourselves back on track, and truth be told, will take a lot longer yet to feel 'normal.' Like my father, Grace enjoyed and honored her ancestry. We had many long, enjoyable conversations about the 'good ole days,' during her decline. She had wonderful tales of days on the farm, picking apples, strawberries, milking cows, watching the birth of baby animals. Her grandfather, Ira M. Schaffer, had the general store in Kunkletown, Monroe Co, PA. She minded the store for him as a young girl and the memories of those days carried her throughout her life. She often referred to the lessons she learned in that store and how she applied them to her daily living.

To hear the stories from that generation, life seemed far less complicated, yet it had its difficulties also. The Peter Schaffer (Schaeffer) family helped in establishing Kunkletown, PA. Grace was very proud of that fact and held her ancestors in the highest esteem. Since she has passed on, I have been able to take time looking at her family photos, some of which are tintype.

By writing down some of the stories Grace shared with me and looking at the photographs I have since discovered since her passing, I have a much better idea of what life was like generations before my mother-in-law was born. I can also put faces to some of the names and have a good idea as to who some of the nameless are now.

If she had not loved her history and saved the photos, books and so much more, so much history would have been lost. I am grateful and proud of her respect for the past.

I will always think fondly of the times we shared reminiscing, laughing and sometimes shedding a tear over fond memories. For the times when I miss her, I only have to walk out into the garden she lovingly tended to for sixty years and once again, we are laughing together.