The view was recalling a MEMORY.
It was taking me back
to a time in my life
of great happiness and joy.
“Memories exploded as I stood in the doorway”
* * *
Our congregation was considering the possibility of constructing a new church building.
The one we were in at The Heights in Houghton Lake was old and too small for the growing congregation.
The basement often flooded in the spring of the year.
Sunday School class attendance was increasing.
Although the choir was small, it was increasing in numbers.
The neighboring town of West Branch had recently built a beautiful new church.
A committee in our church, seeking ideas, was formed.
“Let’s go to West Branch and check out their new building.“
Of course I wanted to be on that committee.
The new church was in my former home town. Any excuse to re-visit the memories of my youth, was a great idea.
I was thirty-three at the time.
The new United Methodist Church in West Branch was built on the County Farm property across the street from the house where I’d lived until I was seventeen. If you’ve read in my blog post “Some Folks Called It The Poor Farm..” you have some idea of my emotional attachment to the County Farm. I have many memories of the wonderful lady who was my friend.
As the committee entered the new church building, we were shown the kitchen area and the classrooms.
We visited the sanctuary and the dining area.
As others wandered the hallways I decided to take a little side trip down a different hallway.
At the end of the hall, there was an exit door.
Standing quietly, staring out the door,
I realized long forgotten memories were suddenly returning.
I’d stood in that very place
over the years of my youth.
It appeared to me, this doorway was exactly where the doorway to Mrs. Kelly’s kitchen had been. This was a view I’d seen many times before. (“Was that the aroma of homemade bread?)
Still today, when I’m in town,
I drive into the parking area and sit for a few minutes.
The location of this West Branch United Methodist Church
gives memories of pleasant days of
There was and is, an oil well pump on the East side of the parking lot. The old barn bridge is often visible,
depending on the time of year,
and how many leaves are remaining on the trees.
The barn is gone.
In my memory,
the chicken coop is there.
The pasture where the sheep were kept,
exists in my memory also.
I remember Mr. Kelly driving his team past our house on his way to the hay fields.
Next door, at the North end of the parking area, is the West Branch Township Hall.
It hasn’t aged.
On the day of our committee’s visit, long ago,
I could feel emotions rising in my throat,
I was glad I was standing at the door alone.
I couldn’t have spoken to anyone right then.
The view was recalling a memory.
It was taking me back to a time in my life of great happiness and joy.
As we were returning to our home town, I casually mentioned to my fellow travelers
at the doorway in the church.
No one seemed overwhelmed by my revelations.
Should they have been?
A few days later, traveling to a meeting with my Dad for which I served
as secretary and he as a board member,
I shared my experience of recalling the treasured memory
of the County Farm
Once again, it was difficult for me to speak.
Regaining my composure, I shared with my Dad my emotional visit to the United Methodist church in West Branch.
He listened attentively.
Then he began to share his thoughts with me.
“Most people encounter experiences such as you had, as they grow older and their lives have changed,” he said. “They remember the joys of youth. They remember people who were important to them
who have passed away
or are no longer living nearby.
Buildings have often been removed by deterioration or replaced by new construction. You are young to be having such memories overtake you.”
Today, when I’m visiting the town of my youth,
I’m still making memories.
The doorway to my future is open.
Life for me is still experienced one day at a time.