1 Shot Wednesday: March Street

My stepfather died three years ago.Β 

Photos trigger memories and transport one to the past. That is the purpose of the Wednesday 1 Shot series.

This photo is from my hometown in Illinois. Just a typical street on the blue-collar side of town. The sky lacks definition. A misty rain coats the trees making them look gangly and tragic. Cracked streets and decaying homes suggest depression in our town.

The setting echoed how our family felt about the passing of a steadfast man who devoted decades to my mother–mind, body, and soul. Maintaining his corner of the world with dedication, he ignored the drama of humans surrounding him and expressed love with pride in his home and garden. He was a man who showed love not with words or touch but by action.

At this point, he would wave me off and tell me not to be so melodramatic. So I will try to obey. I raise my beer can and salute. “Thanks for taking care of Mom.”

March. Sadness & Hope

The wind blows. Soon, the leaves will fill the branches. The sun will return. Soon, a walk down this simple street in the heart of my town will elicit the nostalgic scenes from my youth and replace the chill. But not today.

 

67 Comments on “1 Shot Wednesday: March Street

  1. A powerful memoir indeed, and a fitting tribute to a good man.
    That street is very ‘American’. I have never seen a street anything like that, anywhere in the UK. πŸ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete. x

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  2. That’s a wonderful photograph and a really good post. “Maintaining his corner of the world with dedication”…I’ve been doing that for quite a while! He sounds like a man I would really have got on well with!

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    • Oh, John. I bet you would have. He was the most content person I ever met. He wasn’t complicated. He was happy to talk to you as long as you didn’t get too personal. What he liked and loved he did so with enthusiasm. Loyalty and industry were two of his virtues.

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      • My ancestors once lived in that area of Illinois – Marshall, LaSalle, Woodford, and Peoria Counties are familiar names to you, I am sure. They came there in the 1830s from Indiana and established farms. The country, then, was remote, an area of nearly impenetrable wet prairie. Eventually, the area’s prairie growth was cleared, the land drained, and roads and railroads established. Diseases such as malaria, Yellow Fever, and cholera disappeared. Life settled down. Over the years, my people scattered like chaff in the wind to the West. Some distant relatives may still reside there; I don’t know them. Your photograph reminds me of so many small towns that populate the old prairie areas of the United States. I can almost smell the early morning wood smoke from cook stoves in the days before propane and oil.

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        • Welcome to this old post, Allen. You are quite poetic today. Yes, LaSalle is my neighboring county. I am from Bureau County. Since you are a history buff and enjoy this region of the United States, perhaps you’d be interested in my Master’s research? It’s about the mining communities in the 1800s in Bureau and LaSalle County. A chapter of it was published in the Journal of Illinois History.

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          • I finished reading your article, β€œTwo Coal Towns in 1900 Bureau County: Seatonville and Ladd”, in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol. 97, No. 3 (Autumn 2004), pp 226-237. The number of saloons in Seatonville is interesting, but I suspect many of them were simply rough, one-room affairs rather than the grandiose versions that we have been shown in Western movies.
            I note that the communities included Russian Polish and Russian Lithuanian. By any chance were the Russian Lithuanians called β€œLugans”?
            Doing genealogical research, I have tracked one Scottish family from the mines of Scotland, to those of Pennsylvania, with a brief stop in Illinois before mothing on the southern Colorado. Each move brought an increase in supervisory status to the head off the household. After bitter strikes in the Colorado mines, that family moved back to an area of Pennsylvania that included families from their home area in Scotland.
            In 2004, Cindy, were the various ethnic groups who worked the mines still present or had they moved on west to the coal mines of Colorado and other states?

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          • Thank you for taking the
            Time to read my published chapter. After the coal miners left, they headed to southern Illinois around Carbondale region. From there, I assume to the west. This research is from 1900. I know in Clarkdale AS where I live now, after the copper was discovered we had a lot of miners come from “the East” and down from Utah and Montana. That went on until circa 1950s. Then it was dry and Clarkdale and Jetome became a ghost town until the 1980s.

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  3. Sometimes our memories can make everything seem like yesterday. You spoke so well in this post, you brought up some of my own. Thank you, Cindy.

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  4. Ah Cindy, I wish for my Mum’s sake that I could write the same about my stepdad as you have yours. I remember these kinds of streets from my visit to America, I miss America! You make me pine for it.

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  5. Great post Cindy πŸ™‚ I can only echo what everyone else here have implied. Everything about this post (visually and literally) is beautifully done. Anyway, keep up the great work as always πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was raised in a gold mining town whose days of glory had passed on to be the centre of a large agricultural basin. I remember the surrounding blue mountains that enclosed a wide river plain. I loved that whole valley where my Dad who came through the 30’s depression traded his way through businesses and farms to become reasonably affluent. But after thirty years living and working overseas I returned looking for those memories and found they were all gone. The city had spread and modernized and I came away disappointed. I’m glad your memories are preserved in this photo. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you for sharing, Ian. Our little town is stuck in a time warp. It’s hard for an area to progress enough to survive and hold on to the tight-knit values of a community. “They” keep talking about a speed train that would link our area to Chicago. That would change everything — for the good and the bad — like what happened with your valley.

      Liked by 1 person

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