Saturday, August 20, 2011

Memories of the House on Route 40

Of Blood Transfusions, Funerals Forgotten and Blind Preachers

Below is a transcription of a letter my mother wrote to me in 2003. Within it, there is a very short story that will be lost if I don't repeat it here because I am probably the only family member, still living, that she ever told it to. She told it to me verbally once but I would never have remembered it so I'm glad she told it to me in writing. It tells about my grandmother's near death from some sort of tumor that caused her to lose a lot of blood, and the blood transfusion from my then 15-year-old mother that saved her life. More details would have been good...

November 13, 2003
Ida and Charles Newby  1936
at the house on Rt. 40
"Do you remember me telling you of the funeral I went to where I went to the casket and stood on tiptoe to see in and the man had a long beard?  Well, for some reason today when I was working in the yard I could not recall going to the funeral of my grandmother or my grandfather, I don't recall ever thinking of it before, just how they were when they were alive. I remember when they died, both in a hospital, I think. They were living with us on RT. 40 when he died and after that grandmother wanted to go to K-town, as we called it, and with the money she got from the estate, Bud bought her a house there, we saw it we think, when we were in K-town.  Anyway I am really not sure if she was taken to the hospital or if she died there at the duplex, she had a friend of hers living in the other half of the duplex.  I hadn't given it much thought, but I was around 12 when they moved in with us.  Seems he died a year or so later.  Then Aunt Margaret died too, I think they were living with us, at least grandmother, when they both died.  I could probably figure it out if I looked at the Tree.  

So much went on when we were in that house, Mom was sick for weeks with ---?---, and a while later she nearly died of the tumor because she had lost so much blood and I was the only one that had her type of blood and they had some conferences about my age, I think I wasn't quite 16 and they didn't usually take anyone until after 16. Anyway I was on a gurney next to her when they did the person to person transfusion.  

But that really baffles me about not remembering my grandparent's funerals.  I remember being in that church many times for one death or another and I couldn't stand the preacher's voice, he was the one who was blind and his wife always stood in the pulpit and helped him, it was a sad situation, but his voice was so raspy, and loud, and that was before microphones, at least there. Too many other weird things to mention, but mostly what stands out most while we lived there are the fun things, the good things."

Kiplinger House
The Runyan house on Rt. 40 (the historic Old National Road) was near the small town of Lewisville in Henry county, Indiana. Lewisville probably hasn't changed much since Mom lived there. It's still a very small town with old buildings and old homes. Their neighbor across Rt. 40 was Argolda "Goldie" (Adams) Kiplinger. She was a woman beloved by both my mother and my grandmother. From my grandmother's collection I have two photos of Goldie Kiplinger and one of her house (click on photo to enlarge). --->

Sadly, this house was struck by lightening in 1964 and burned down. Look closely, do you see the old car in the photo? There is another wonderful old photo of this house <at this link>.

The Interurban ran directly in front of the Kiplinger house. Mom told me stories of a couple of her dogs getting killed by it and I could never figure out exactly what the Interurban must have looked like until I saw the photo of it <at this link> where you see not only the Interurban but Goldie's father standing in front of her house, circa 1920.

I have since figured out that the man in the casket with the long beard was Mom's uncle, Frank Newby. He was the only relative that died when my mother would have had to stand on tip toe to see in a casket. It was 1929 and she was not yet 5 years old when Frank died.

K-town was Knightstown in Henry Co., Indiana. When Mom says "we saw it we think", she was referring to the trip she and I took in 1999. We drove all around Knightstown looking for memories and Mom wanted to find the old home that was converted to a duplex, where her grandmother lived for a very short time.

The blind pastor with the raspy voice must have been Rev. Ernest A. Addison, pastor of the Christian Church in Knightstown for it is he that is listed on the obituary of Mom's grandmother, Ida May Newby and on the earlier obituary of her uncle Frank.

I only wish I knew what illness my Grandmother Fern had that caused such a large tumor and so much blood loss that she was near death. Whatever it was, she must have recovered completely because she always seemed quite healthy when I was young!


1 comment:

  1. Great story. Thanks for sharing.
    I have many collateral relatives who live/d in and around Knightstown. Henry, Grant, Madison, and Rush counties in Indiana are major locations for my Leisure line.