Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
9 years ago today Katie and Charlie got married in the seminary chapel. They then settled into a home in the DC area where they still live today. There marriage has seen two wild and silly sons, an interesting and sometimes crazed dog plus one rabbit who has since passed on.
We went to Busch Stadium yesterday to see the Cardinals play the Cubs. At least ostensibly that is why were there. The game was awful for Cards fans, Cubs won by a lot. The real reason we were there was to watch our two grandsons go onto the field and sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame in the 7th inning. They were with a bunch of other kids from their school, Christ Community Lutheran School in Webster Gardens.
It was a hot day, the Cards didn't come to play, but the kids were fun.
We spent several hours today in the Roman Catholic and second oldest (1857) cemetery in St. Louis, operated by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. It has an interesting history with the land once owned by Henry Clay. The cemetery is 477 acres, just huge, and over 300,000 people are buried there.
A couple of weeks ago while researching our family's genealogy, my sister discovered that part of our line was buried in Calvary. This was one of the Irish branches of the family who immigrated most likely during the potato famine and the troubles with England. We had long believed that all the Barry's were located in Chicago so we were shocked to learn some of them headed to St. Louis. These Barry's are from my father's mother's line and they ended up on the north side of St. Louis in an entirely Irish area called The Kerry Patch.
This intrigued me enough that I was excited to see if we could locate the graves. I have to say, Dale and I were more than impressed with that cemetery's record keeping. When you think of all those years, all those people, no technology, they have kept records of everyone and know exactly where the burial plots are. It took five minutes in the office and we had a map and listing of each Barry we were looking for with the dates they were buried, how old they were and what section and plot number they could be found.
Now this place is massive, filled with paved roads going up and back, side to side and round and round. But all the sections are clearly marked and the map kept us from getting totally lost.
We found the first set of Barry's fairly quickly, section 21.
The first thing we saw was the base and then, oh no, the top two parts had fall off.
I hope to see about getting that fixed. Hopefully it can be upright once again.
In memory of Patrick Barry Born 1845 Died 1910
Oddly Patrick's wife Alice and son James is buried there as well but they have no tombstone. I want to find out if burial tradition back then with Irish (or others) was to give only the head of the household the monument. On each side of this stone are two small square markers which we assume are the place of Alice and James.
The family had 100 square feet of plot space and since the cemetery kept such good records of who was where, and because most Irish were very poor, there was no need to give each person a stone.
The other Barry's were older, having died in years from 1871 up to 1888. They included Patrick Barry's mother and sister. We haven't figured out who the rest are but guess some are children or babies. This grouping also had 100 square feet of plot space. The sad thing is this area, section 6, is very old and many graves are without markers including our Barry's. However the cemetery office knew exactly where they were and who they were buried near with intact markers. So off we went but were sort of saddened that the nearby markers are unreadable. However we narrowed it down and are pretty sure one of the open spaces was filled with Barry's.
After ending the family search we went looking for historic figures we knew were in Calvary.
First was Dred Scott an American slave who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom and that of his wife and their two daughters in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857.
His wife is buried next to him.
Interesting to us was how many graves had coins either on top of the stone or along the base. One thing we wanted to do was find out why this was being done.
Then on to playwright Tennessee Williams who also had coins around his tombstone.
Finally General William Tecumseh Sherman, Civil War General who is buried in grand style along with his wife, 3 sons and one daughter. He and his wife Eleanor had 8 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood.
If you look closely above the flag staff and medal on Sherman's monument, you'll see shiny copper pennies.
My sister has spent quite a bit of her spare time the past couple of years really digging into our family tree and has come up with information that goes way way back and other bits which are quite astounding. While we have grown accustomed to the fact that wherever our ancestors landed from Europe, most made their way to Chicago. But yesterday she came across the information that one branch belonging to our father's mother's line settled in St. Louis.
This is the Irish portion of the family, the Barry's. Seems Patrick Barry and his wife Anne settled in north St. Louis city in an area named the Kerry Patch due to so many immigrating Irish populating the section bounded by Cass Avenue and O'Fallon Street to the north and south in the mid 1800's. My sister was even able to discover their actual address, 1423 N. 23rd Street.
This address as googled is almost right on top of Cass Ave, an area we have driven by many times the past few months after taking the new Musial/Veterans bridge from Collinsville to avoid the back ups on the Poplar. So yesterday as I left Collinsville I decided to take that route again and look at it with new eyes and found that there is nothing left of homes at that point. There is a church and what looks like a small warehouse. 23rd Street is totally vacant of anything but grassy lots. Anything that had once been there has been torn down.
But, amazingly, Kathy also learned that Patrick and Anne Barry are buried in Calvary Cemetery on West Florissant, one of the largest and oldest Catholic cemeteries in St. Louis. Not only that, but she found the location of their graves and Dale and I have made plans to go over there and find them.
This just knocks me for a loop. The Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Michigan's northern lower peninsula, along with towns nearby were hit with severe storms on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting for 12 hours. We were there on Wednesday climbing those enormous sand dunes and we then ate a late afternoon supper at a neat place in Glen Arbor. I just can't believe what I've just read.
Here is a picture put on Twitter for the Weather channel's Jim Cantore of the incoming storm.
After an 11 hour drive home from Arcadia Michigan with a stop to drop Dale's mother at her home in Paris Illinois, we got back to the seminary to find the upstairs air conditioner unit had quit working. It's hard to say which day the cooling stopped but the second floor where all the bedrooms are is hotter than you could ever imagine. Being really tired from the long drive, didn't get much better with sleeping on the couch during the night.
But, it's nice to be back in an area that has actual cell service beyond one little bar and has wireless connections. Dale told me one day last week as I was griping about not being able to get much of anything on my phone much less the laptop, that I was obsessed. He said this while looking up from his own iPhone.
Now we must wait until tomorrow to see if the air conditioner can be made to work again, this is the second go round for this unit this summer. Gonna be a hard week if it can't be fixed. #spoiled
This is not to negate how great the week up there was. It was fantastic to have all five grandsons together playing and swimming and eating. The weather was perfect every single day and for the first four days Lake Michigan was as smooth as glass. So smooth the adult kids could get on paddle boards and float out to meet the sunset. So smooth Katie was able to do a headstand.
There is way too much going on these days. In the world, in this country, locally, way to much to take in. Usually summer sees a bit of a down time, but not this year. It's gotten to the point where I've just tucked my head in and stopped paying attention to the crazies, politics, weather, horror stories in other countries, sports. Who can keep up?