Cafe Hitch-hike


Almost full circle

It was the late spring of 1981, and I was making lanes on the sidewalk for my imaginary track meet when my stepfather abruptly visited my house in midday. His father, Lorenzo, died. The SF was visibly shaken but kept it together. I saw him kiss my mother at the front door before he left with the same haste.

About a year later, we were at the cemetery where Lorenzo was buried. He was buried next to the SF’s 2 siblings who did not live past their childhood, one by an accidental gunshot wound and another by leukemia.

Late spring, 2019. I announced the agreed-upon time for when my family was to meet at the same cemetery where Lorenzo was buried. Our maternal grandfather was also buried there, and I wanted to bury Uncle Joe’s ashes at his father’s site. Everyone who wanted ashes got some. My mother came to the river valley hometown to give his belongings and also the ashes to family who wanted them. Everyone who wanted some got it, and the rest was for me. I buried most of the ashes at where we guessed Grandpa Rey’s heart would be.

We drove down a small hill to the Lotzschultz Family plots where my S, Lorenzo, and their family laid. They were in the same cemetery as my grandfather and now Uncle Joe. As my mother, my sis Big Momma, and I stood above the Lotzschultz Family headstones, these recollections came to me. The first time I was there was when I was 8 years old. The second time, my SF’s funeral in the late winter of 2017; I was with family when my grandfather died, but could not stay for the funeral. The third time, I was there to literally bury my uncle. I felt a little spooked when I recalled the timeline between then and now, and the changes in the cast of characters.

I stood there, no longer a little girl with my parents and other caregivers. I was a woman, 45 years of age, with my aging mother and my sister who was not far behind me. It was quite sobering. It was another reminder of the passing of time in my own life.

The trip to the hometown was a mix of many feelings, not to mention events. I can’t even begin to describe everything that happened. I didn’t have much time to myself, I was with family for all but 2 hours I was in the hometown. We had fun, partied, had hard talks, and reconnected. Maybe some new connections were made, or existing ones were strengthened. I am so very glad there was no fighting; I think it was because 2 people could not be present (Uncle Elias who has huge problems with addiction and violence, and sis Lana who struggles with addiction and perpetuates mayhem and occasional violence).

There were times when I wondered how on earth was related to many of those people, and times where a bond was real and enduring. Sometimes I felt dismally ignored and yet lit up the room.

I recalled many happy memories of the hometown. I also remembered feeling sad an awful lot (and for some very real reasons), yet there were many happy times. I drove down a street where I remember times were very hard, yet I smiled. The church where I got baptized and went to catechism was up the street, and a tree that I watched a neighbor plant on Arbor Day of 1981 was robust and healthy.

My plane now boards. I had a layover from the hometown’s simple regional airport to an airline hub, I now return to my present life after walking through my former one.

downwind | upstream