Whenever I have the pleasure of traveling the back roads of Indiana, I play a private little game of "I Spy." What I'm looking for are examples of one thing: old iron dinner bells posted atop posts in people's lawns. Usually the bells are near what I suspect to be the kitchen entrance, or are decked out within a piece of landscaping or flower bed.
The bells are reminiscent of a time when Grandma rang the bell to let Grandpa know dinner's on the table. Or, they rang it loud and fast to let the neighbors know something was on fire. Or, at least that is what I surmise.
You tend not to see such relics on lawns with ranch houses or other modern structures. These bells are generally part and parcel of older farmhouses.
There were two old iron bells on my family's property. One is hosted, I'm sure to this day, next to the kitchen porch. The other sat in a corner of the barn. When my folks' things were parceled out, I claimed the bell from the barn but then it sat in corner of two of our garages. It never made it to the front burner as far as the to-do list went.
Then a few years ago, before my season of cleaning out the attic, I decided it should leave or get an upgrade. We called our friend Monty, who makes jobs Brian and I don't know how to do look easy. He put up a post, then attached the bell.
I love it.
Last summer I adorned the space surrounding the pole with marigolds. I'll do the same come May. You can take the girl off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the girl.
What's in your attic? Yard? Barn? Basement or back of the closet? Probably more than you know.
For more Friday nights growing up than I can count in elementary school, I got to ride the school bus home with Cheryl. Suppertime came early in their home, and then came riding on her tandem bike, playing around the farm, or in her little community.
But come dark, it was time to get out the Barbies and play until our eyes could no longer stay open. Cheryl and her sister had such treasures as a Barbie car and I'm pretty sure, if memory serves, a Barbie Dream House. They had a Ken for the Barbies to swoon after, and lots of cool Barbie clothes, including a faux mink coat.
The Barbies I'm showing are Barbie, Skipper and Midge. These girls played hard! They worked hard! Only after I was grown did little girls start owning fancy Barbies who were too pretty or special to play with. Not my girls.
They are treasures of little to zero value on the market (sorry girls, but your bangs situation depleted your retail status). But to me, they are my Barbies and I'm keeping them.
Do you have your Barbies?
I talk about my Barbies and so many other things in my new memoir, There's a Clydesdale in the Attic: Reflections on Keeping and Letting Go. It's on Amazon, or you can get it from me as soon as my books arrive by Feb. 12.
During all of 1975 and 1976, Evelyn Jackson must have crocheted afghans day and night, night and day. They were large and lovely, perfect in every way. She crocheted them for at least, that I know of, two nieces, one nephew and me.
They arrived on Christmas day on our farm at Rural Route 1, Brownsville as our gifts from my brother, Tim, and wife Jeannie. Evelyn was Jeannie's mom.
Blue was then, and remains now, my favorite color and my eyes brighten still when I look at this perfect blend of blues.
At first, I put the sturdy blanket away, inside the cedar chest I appropriated from Mom. But it was far too comfy and warm and wonderful to hide in there for who knows how long.
I quickly got it out and it began its long history of keeping friend, family, and me warm.
It has held up beautifully through countless machine washings and dryings; survived baby spit-up, and maybe worse; comforted us all on many chilly nights, and traveled to Ball State University with Ben, where I wondered if that would be its demise and if it would make it home. But yes, it's right here, right now, and will see plenty of action in the next few days with a big snowstorm coming in
Just doing its thing for more than 45 years now. It's certainly something I have kept and will keep, and to be fair, it's spent plenty of time in and out of season in our hallway closet, ready to be called to duty, and it has never done time in the attic.
What afghans do you have around your house?
My new memoir, There's a Clydesdale in the Attic: Reflections on Keeping and Letting Go, is a new release on Amazon in both print and ebook formats. In a couple of weeks, I'll also have them available for mailing or direct purchase. I'll mention items found in our home on this blog regularly for a while. The book is about finding so much more than stuff while cleaning out our attic. Bet you've got a lot more than stuff in yours, too.
If you'd asked me two years ago if I'd ever write another book, I'd have told you I didn't know. For two or maybe three years, I wrote weekly devotions for our church's Facebook page. Maybe I'd keep writing more, and one day go through them and create a book.
I'd be asked if I planned to add a third book to the Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast series. I didn't think so. I left the first sequel, That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland, with more to come regarding Sam and her love interest. But I didn't know if I had another angle to tell. The books had satisfied my ache during my prolonged adjustment to the empty nest. I no longer felt passionate about a third visit to my beloved fictional inn.
Not far into 2020, I still had calls about providing book or writing programs. At this time one year ago, I was busy finishing up the planning with devotional writer and friend Debbie McCray on a devotions workshop at my church, I had been asked to provide programs for four other organizations in the months to come, and I was still working at the newspaper. It was plenty on my plate, along with some other personal hobbies and studies.
Then my brother, Tim, unexpectedly passed away in March, a loss I will always feel. I miss him so much. Tim was laid to rest on St. Patrick's Day. I think of that day also as the beginning of the pandemic. The realization hit me, oddly, when a masked face or two was spotted at the burial site, and there was no place to gather to visit with family and friends--the restaurants were closed to eat-in customers. The boys came back to our house and we had pizza.
The next day I went to work only to learn that we were all being sent home to work. No one knew for how long. I had no idea how I'd get it all done from home without in-person interviews or photos. But we learned and the paper came out every day it is supposed to with no blank pages inside.
As a feature writer, I had to find more to write about more than mask making, although I was happy for those stories. There was one about a nursing home resident who was more than 100 and who recovered from Covid. Things were scary and sad, and soon, I might not even be able to spare a square of toilet paper, but I needed to find a silver lining. I am a seeker of silver linings. So I started writing a series called Lighter Side of Isolation. Brian and I found projects around the house, or observations about being on the hunt for toilet paper, or Zoom, or changing out our lightbulbs for LED ones. We had most of the entire downstairs interior painted. We moved Ben from Indy to Carmel.
Then I told Brian I had an idea for cleaning out the attic.
The idea involved one tote a week. But what I found interested me so much that I looked forward to climbing those stairs once a week or even taking that hike several times a week as I got into the swing of it.
I started writing about some of the finds and more than the objects, the stories about why they were elevated to the lofty status of attic storage. I found things I thought were lost. (hello, Gladys Rude's original painting!) And got rid of stuff I once thought deserved saving (goodbye prom dresses).
I collected story ideas from those attic finds. If only I had time to write about them, this might be ... a book.
It was published last night and just like that, the Kindle version posted. I posted on Facebook a "life event." The night-owl friends started commenting ... and finally I just had to get to bed.
Earlier today the morning people chimed in ... and to my delight, some offers to host me at some meetings and banquets have presented themselves. This is what floats my boat! Soon I'll be out there visiting with people -- those in my hometowns of Brownsville and Liberty, and my career hometown of New Castle and other Henry County locations. Some new venues have also emerged, and I'm awaiting specifics. In case you're wondering, I'm fully vaccinated, to include the booster.
When I finalize dates, I'll start a calendar for upcoming programs, closed or open. And I'll be spending lots of time writing programs tailored to their (and maybe your) specs.
Meanwhile, here's the winter issue of the magazine I used to edit, now the charge of editor Katie Clontz. I'm grateful for the cover plug. It will be inside your Saturday New Castle Courier-Times and I'm sure they'll have extra on hand at 201 S. 14th St.
The books are up on amazon, and I'll be stocking them for sale on this end too.
From left, author and journalist Cathy Shouse, columnist and soon-to-be author Janet Leonard, national bestselling author Susan Crandall; ASAP Writing Services owner, author, and writer Susan Sparks, and yours truly. The Susan in the middle is also a lifelong friend of Janet's. Both hail from and live in Noblesville.
Our little band of writers meets monthly and each gathering leaves me stoked about our craft, fulfilled in a way I didn't know I would find in retirement. Writer Chicks Society had a special meeting on Tuesday.
We hosted Janet's lifelong friend and classmate Susan Crandall. Susan is a national bestselling author, revered for such titles as Whistling Past the Graveyard, and quite a few additional books. She's at work on a new one now, as well as doing regular-life stuff such as assisting with a family business, and babysitting twin grands.
If that makes her sound down to earth, it's because she is. Raised in and returned to Noblesville, she's not so different from us. Unless you count her tens of thousands, heck probably hundreds of thousands, of fans. Maybe more than that. Yet there she sat with us for hours at Janet's kitchen table yesterday, dishing on what it's like to be a Big Five author.
When we offered her an "out" to leave, deep into the afternoon after a long lunch, she said no, that she had been looking forward to hearing about our projects. And so she stayed another hour as we shared updates on what we're each working on, stumbling blocks we're experiencing, and yes, our guest even offered some advice.
But before all of that goodness--lunch.
It was a day I don't think any of us wanted to see end, but by 4 p.m. (or later), it was time. Thanks to everyone for such a great meeting.
It takes a village ... borrowed snowpeople of all shapes and sizes filled Ovid Community Church Saturday for the women's day retreat. Instead of spending money on decor, decorating chair Chrissy Quinn gathered snowpeople from committee members. The snowfolks took a field trip. When it was over, some of the snowpeople were seen peering out the backs of car windows heading home, still smiling. Willard looks a little uncertain, but cute all the same.
There are so many to thank for the day coming together so well, but Jill Brown is certainly one of them. She led worship songs, and gave her thoughts on "Perfect Harmony," as part of the morning session. She also led a make-it-take-it activity on making prayer journals, and make sure the techie stuff was covered. Special thanks to Ricky for his help with the technical end of everything, as well.
Grateful for all the speakers, which also included Delaine Wooden and Linda Mackey, as well as emcee Pauline Cox, and to everyone on the committee who took part to make it a great day. My favorite part of the retreat was sitting around a table in the atrium and hearing the happy buzz of women talking and sharing all around me, punctuated by laughter. The day, with the theme, "Where Friends Gather," served as an uplifting way to begin 2022 ... and to begin connecting and dreaming again ...
Here's the latest Next Chapter newspaper column.
I don’t know about you, but for me, 2020-21 merges into a single chunk of time. And here we are in 2022 as COVID remains the lead story most days, regardless the media outlet we choose.
Recently I celebrated something peculiar: “That’s great,” I told Brian. “A viral throat infection!”
Only in the COVID era (yes, I think we're officially in an era) could anyone applaud a throat infection. Yet I did because it meant that it wasn’t COVID nor that other C word. He had been to the doctor, tested negative for the dreaded coronavirus and strep throat. No scripts were prescribed; just ibuprofen, rest, and fluids. We could do that.
As the illness lingered, and Brian worried about getting his voice back, I assured him that he would.
"But if you don’t,” I added, “in a show of solidarity, I will never speak again.”
Hmm, wondered how that would work out.
I told him that he needed to avoid talking for a while though, to heal. I encouraged him to communicate through other creative means such as sign language, pantomime, interpretive dance, or a voiceless skit. I’m still waiting to see that interpretive dance.
I’m now one week into my second year of retirement; no longer able to use the term, “new retiree.” Maybe I’m at the age where I’m not new at much of anything.
Still. I celebrate much about 2021. On that day Dec. 30, 2020 day when I walked out the back door for the last time at 201 S. 14th St., New Castle, my immediate goal consisted of making it to the car without tears. I cleared that objective, a reminder that when life is hard, we need to simply just get through the next thing; and the one after that.
When last January arrived, my time, emotions, and prayers went into seeing Brian through his health issues. There were dark days, and difficult moments; there were tears, and even sobs. There were weeks when I wondered what awaited us, and how or if he would get better.
But thank You God! He got better, and by the time we put up the 2021 Christmas tree, Brian asked, “What do you think about rearranging the living room and putting the tree up somewhere new?”
I looked at him as though he were an alien from not just Mars, but from another galaxy. Who was this man? And where did he get the kind of energy to ask me that question? I didn’t have it regarding a room redo—but it was almost worth it for no other reason than he apparently did.
The shero (that’s the female version of the word hero; you’re welcome) of the year came in the form of a nurse friend who provided one small tip that became an immediate game changer for Brian’s medical situation. An angel among us.
By late summer, Brian’s first post-surgical cat scan returned clean, and it felt as though we had won the lottery! Not just the lottery, and a ticket around the world, and a lake house, and whatever else you think might make your heart sing. But I can tell you that a singing heart isn’t about material things. It’s about good health. Suddenly, we could laugh, joke, and make plans again.
What’s amazing are the other blessings that piled high in 2021. I not only finished writing the book I spent the year working on, but am able to connect with some kindred spirit writers who formed a small monthly group. When we meet for four hours, it feels like four minutes.
One tip I got from one of the writers moved my book project forward in ways I couldn’t have imagined—through the suggestion of a book designer. I’m not just talking cover typography, but an interior designer. Yes, every book has a specific interior look, much as does a home.
There were other joys: the support in prayers and deeds of people who care about us; the gathering of Brian’s aunts and cousins in October; watching our gutted and rebuilt bathroom emerge from a five-month wait after ordering materials.
There’s the service group I joined at church; the projects our life group has worked on this year; the delight of meals shared with friends, and the feeling three times a week of water in a pool at my exercise location.
This newspaper, along with those in New Castle and Shelbyville, allowed me to reimagine a column similar to the one that I wrote in Henry County for three decades—only through this lens of being a little older. Well, a lot older. I started it at age 30 and here I am, somehow 63. (I can't even describe myself as in my early sixties now, can I?)
While I have no idea where the years went, I also affirm that there is life after one’s main career. Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll have more to say this year. Thank you for reading. These days, my writing is done from a comfy recliner with a Boston terrier nestled beside me. Those too, are blessings.
Whatever unfolds for you in 2022, know that even in the hardest of times, blessings will show up.
Just ask the Good Lord to help you see them.
Every year, Brian and I try to do something fairly substantial to repair, upgrade, or improve our home. Some years, it's things you'd never notice unless they weren't there: a new roof, a heating-and-cooling system, even a painted laundry room (complete with tear-out of peach floral wallpaper).
This year we went big and we stayed home. Now for you, big may well be bigger, but this isn't a competition. It's an exercise in gratitude for something new, and nice, and, to my eyes, anyway, clean, crisp, and ... pretty. A BATHROOM REDO!
We updated this bathroom adjoining our bedroom about 10 years ago, changing the flooring, painting the walls a coordinating brown, and getting a new vanity top. I found a pair of oak mirrors in a thrift shop and they matched the double-sink vanity. Yes, it was an update, but it didn't address an aging and awkward-to-enter garden tub with one step up (to where, though?), shower, and worn-wooden vanity.
!The full renovation began as a "Wonder how much it would be." Or put another way, "What if?" Brian bemoaned his old shower, worn and lacking shelving space for both soap and shampoo. So he mentioned replacing it.
That's when I said, "I'd like to redo the whole bathroom." My tub was not only worn and awkward, but even though the room is a good size, there was inadequate storage space. I dreamed of something clean, and fresh, bright, and light.
I wondered about the big, beautiful showers that some are putting in these days. But to add one of those babies, unless I wanted to ax the tub (no chance!) it would mean rearranging the layout, moving the toilet, and thus, the plumbing for that, and likely for the vanity too. We had one company out but the guesstimate was up to more than DOUBLE what we ended up spending.
Our secret sauce was compromise, and the compromise was to not move where the new stuff went. Besides, turns out I'm the only one who thought a big shower with stadium seating might be nice. Brian said nope, just get him a new version of what he had--with more shelving.
"There are people who spend (insert dollar figure that shocks you) for a new bathroom," Brian said, as though he were delivering the Gettysburg Address. "We are not those people."
Well, I had to laugh. I agreed! It seemed ... lavish.
But first, well second, I pouted. We didn't know how to move forward. What if it really did cost that much no matter who did it or what they did?
A couple days passed, and I said I had an idea. Why don't we contract it out one upgrade at a time? Brian said that was just what he was thinking! So we went shower shopping at a big-box store. And left both underwhelmed--and overwhelmed at the same time, if that makes any sense.
One day a good friend asked if I'd like to go along with her to the flooring store. Sure! As it turns out, I had taken a photo of some flooring I liked. What are the chances this store would have something similar?
They did. I loved it. That was the floor I wanted! Affordable, too. Did they happen to know a good bathroom contractor? They sure did. A retired firefighter, Jim King. I was cautioned that Jim stays busy. In fact, the employee knew him pretty well and said he would call him first to tell him to expect my call.
To our surprise, Jim took the call and came out within days. He could do the whole thing. He listened to our wish list and told us what he suggested, and to go to Knapp Supply in Muncie and order everything. We did. It was the easiest buying trip we have ever made.
That was July. It would take 15 weeks for everything to arrive. At first, I wondered if there was a chance that the new bathroom would be done in time for Brian's aunts' and cousins' visit in October. When that didn't pan out, I thought perhaps by Thanksgiving. That wasn't it.
Ah, ha! Christmas. It will be done by Christmas! For a while there, I thought if it's finished by the end of January, we'd be lucky. But here we are, Dec. 10, and it's done! As of middle-afternoon yesterday! It all came in, was installed, painted, hooked up, and the punch list "punched."
We've initiated all the facilities, stocked the pull-out cabinet shelves, and we're enjoying our new and improved bath suite. Brian's a little concerned with keeping everything white. Guess it's incentive for me to ramp up my housekeeping skills.
Shout out to Knapp Supply Co., located in a big, old warehouse in downtown Muncie. The building served as a wagon-wheel shop before Knapp bought it over a century ago. The showrooms are sights to behold for those who are remodeling or redecorating! WOW!
Another big shout out to our contractor Jim King and his company, JJ King Builders, located in Alexandria. More appreciation goes out to Indiana Flooring in Anderson. Well done everyone!
Even though we’d be hard-pressed these days to find someone who travels by sleigh to a holiday dinner at grandmother’s house, it’s a safe bet that during this extended holiday season, numerous memories are shared, and stories told, about our parents and grandparents. This time of year, nostalgia runs deep.
Recently my sister-in-law, Jeannie, sent us home with some family heirlooms that belonged to my late brother, Tim. The treasures include a family safe of which our older son, Sam, is now the fifth-generation caretaker; a brass 1908 Model T headlight (or maybe taillight); a cache of family photos dating to horse-and-buggy days, and some other saved objects.
One is a lidded wooden box, the size of a cardboard Velveeta Cheese carton, filled with old buttons. While this surely came from someone in our family, I'm sure it didn't belong to my mother because I never saw it before. It probably originated with a grandmother, unearthed from storage in the back of a closet or deep inside a drawer.
I doubt that it’s true today, but when I was a kid, I imagine that everyone’s grandmother had a button box.
The buttons themselves are unremarkable. Most of them are of the workhorse variety: the small, white matte or pearl-like ones so common to every man’s dress shirt you’ve ever seen; the colorful but plain, flat buttons of many colors from women’s or children’s clothing; and the odd button notable for a design or texture.
It’s obvious that the buttons lived previous lives before they were cut off blouses or pants, then tossed into the box among the others, where they’ve now been for decades. Tiny fabric scraps remain attached to the backs of a few. For the most part, there’s a bit of matted, plain fabric. Occasionally, evidence of a pattern is detected, such as the small swatch of red, white and blue plaid, still clinging to one.
I can’t tell you the last time that when I discarded a garment, I first stripped it of buttons and zippers. Now that I think about it, I don’t believe that has ever happened. Sometimes I don’t even save the buttons attached to new clothing for replacements if one would pop off. And even when I do, I don’t know that I’ve ever used the spares.
Our ancestors thought differently about belongings of every kind. At least for working-class folks of the past, which is my family’s heritage, every belonging you owned took a good measure of time and money to buy. They didn’t dispose of anything with wear left in it. If clothing was beyond wearing or handing down, the garment was stripped of buttons and other useful elements such as zippers, and saved.
The stripped clothing then went on to its next purpose: for cutting up for a future quilt, stripping for rags, saving for patching, or the making of doll clothes.
Some buttons in this box were apparently so well used before they were removed that the loops on back are worn in half. Others have chipped edges.
Grandma’s button box is a reminder of our thrifty ancestors. Today we hear what seem to be contemporary terms and concepts as sustainability, recycling, reusing, upcycling, and repurposing. Good advice to not waste energy or consumables.
But grandma practiced that advice as second nature long before those with doctorates in environmental science were born. She knew that being a good steward of what God gave her is part of her citizenship on earth as well as a responsible family member. She knew that it took much personal time and energy to own something new, and that using it up in every way possible only makes sense.
We often don’t value that which is easy to come by; easy to replace. Grandma’s humble button box and the buttons inside remind me that there may be a time to come when things aren’t so easy to purchase. They remind me that today we are still called to be good stewards.
Can you imagine your grandmothers chuckling over the idea that caring for what we’re given is a new idea? Here’s to those who came before us and their humble, saved belongings that remind us of the timeless wisdom of frugality.
Look at that piece of aluminum foil that isn’t damaged or soiled. Fold it up and use it again. Grandma would have. Turn off the light when you leave the room. Consider if you really need a straw in your restaurant soft drink. You wouldn’t use one at home.
I’ll save that box of buttons, if for no other reason than the values they represent. Values always come in handy.
Retired New Castle Courier-Times Neighbors Editor Donna Cronk writes Next Chapter. It appears in three daily Indiana newspapers. Connect with her at email@example.com.
My parents kept the iron safe tucked inside a corner of a bedroom closet. The floor safe remained there, holding important documents, a diamond ring before it was sold, and a box of coins. When their household goods were divided among my brothers and me, Tim assumed custody of the safe.
I had a surprise question from Jeannie a few months ago asking if we or one of our sons would like to have it. We asked Sam if he would like to be next in line to caretake this safe. He was delighted. The day to bring it home came on Thursday, also Veterans Day, a day when Tim was especially on my mind. He is a U.S. Navy Seabee veteran of the Vietnam War.
But how does one move a floor safe, well, safely? Its weight is unknown, but it is certainly not something that should be lifted to determine. I previously didn't give a thought to such things. Funny how aging turns thought patterns upside down.
Rain was predicted; the ramps we found to rent for the trip weren't tall enough to secure onto Sam's RAM truck bed. What to do? Overkill it, that's what! It's the Cronk way.
Jeannie didn't realize it was us when Brian and Sam pulled into her driveway Thursday. She was expecting a normal-sized vehicle. Before I could get parked, Sam and Brian were headed inside to survey the safe and assess the asset. But lunch called our name, so first things first: off to meet Jeannie's nephew Matt at Liberty Bell.
Back at Jeannie's following lunch, and with Matt along, in came Brian's trusted dolly, inherited from his dad. Sam was able to crack the safe quickly (I've always wanted to use that term, so there it is). My thorough brother, Tim, had left the combination.
There were papers inside, no, not a secret stash of cash, but rather an envelope bulging with old photos, and some miscellaneous bank and real estate papers, along with insurance policies on 1970s vehicles long-since gone.
My thought is that the pictures are a curated collection that Tim wanted to make sure got passed on in the family, and the other papers had simply remained there from the 1970s where Dad left them ...
Jeannie sent the contents home for us to decide about.
You can't read the company nameplate on the right of the door, but it says The Wehrle Stove Company in Newark, Ohio. The company's start came from an 1883 iron foundry where farm goods were made. In 1885, Joseph Wehrle became a partner and stoves became the principle product. Joseph's sons took it over and in 1904, the company bought Atlas Safe Company. Thirty-five fireproof safes were made daily in 18 sizes. The above information is from The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology.
So, while I don't have a firm date on our family safe, the company nameplate would place it at least 1904. I saw a similar safe online that is credited with 1910. It appears that the company stamped or engraved the name of the safe owner above the door.
A similar personalized nameplate in the same font, size and color appears on the 1910 version. So I would put the safe at around 110-115 years old, give or take.
The family name on the safe is that of my great-grandfather, George (G.W. on the safe) Job(e). My understanding is that George changed the family name from the biblical or Irish spelling of Job to Jobe. He added the e.
He married Donna McDougal, who was known as Donnie. I have a gold bracelet of Donnie's. The original Job(e)s were from Ireland in the 1820s, and the McDougals from Scotland in the same era. Both families settled in or around Brownsville.
The McDougals are buried in the Christian Union graveyard in Brownsville while the early Jobs are buried in the pioneer cemetery of the old Robinson Chapel in Fayette County. George, however, is in the Springersville Cemetery. Roscoe (his only son who survived past a young age) is buried in the Brownsville United Methodist Cemetery along with recent generations of my Jobe family.
The first Job (no e) to come to the area from Ireland was Samuel Job. Interestingly enough, we named our firstborn Samuel Jobe Cronk. We had no idea then of the family history of the name. I had this photo in my files of the original safe owner, George Job.
Original owner of the antique safe, George Job, my great-grandfather, and wife Donna (Donnie) McDougal Job. Only Roscoe (the younger boy in this photo) lived to enjoy adulthood. His only son to live to adulthood was my father, Huburt. If Huburt were alive, he would be 109. This photo would be around 129 years old.
Some time ago, I located George's obituary. If I find I am not remembering this correctly, I will correct it, but it seems that he served as president of the Brownsville Telephone Co. Back in the early 1900s, small communities had their own local phone companies.
You'll realize how that worked out in everyday terms when I tell you the cause of his death: Complications from falling off a telephone pole. I would gather then, that the company president was also a lineman.
I can only imagine the various important papers, life savings, deeds to much-loved and labored-over property, have passed through that old family safe.
My brother Tim always got a laugh out of our crazy Cronk antics. I know he would laugh (and how I miss that laugh!) at the effort involved in renting a van to come and get the safe. Overkill, yes. The Cronk MO.
But it's safe and sound at Sam's now. Another number in the combination that makes up this family.