101 Stories

with which I follow the road of the Family for a Century

52. Visit With Aunt Mary Chamberlain.

In June 1918 I was going to the Northern Baptist Convention meetings in Cleveland, 0hio, and determined to stop off and see Aunt Mary Chamberlain. My train stopped at Lima, only, so I rode back to Elida on the interurban car. (She is the Mary Hunsicker referred to in the family from which Grandpa married Elizabeth.) Night had fallen. I asked at the store which house was hers and was directed to a small home on the left hand side of the main street a block North of the station. Knocking at her door, she came carrying a little oil lamp and stood in the doorway, her head shaking as it always did from her palsied condition. “Who's there?”" she said, and I thought possibly it would be best to identify myself by whose son I was so I said, “I'm the son of Julia Howell Speer of Allerton, Iowa. Almost in a flash her face lighted up and she said, “Why, Rollo, come right in.” That seemed the more remarkable to me since she had not seen me since I was a ten-year-old boy. I was even surprised that she could so readily remember my name. We visited late. Next day she took me to the Mennonite church north of Elida to the funeral of a cousin of hers who was brought from Lima for burial. There after the service I stood beside the grave of my great-grandfather George Hunsicker, the Baptist preacher from whose home Grandpa had married Elizabeth, when she was a young girl. I had dinner at the John Brannaman home, near the church. Uncle Martin Brannaman, whose wife had been a sister to our Grandma Howell (Aunt Annie) was there, a little frail old man. Forrest Branraman brought us back to Elida and next a.m. early I took the train again to Cleveland and back to the world of reality, as if from a trip to the land of dreams, where I explored the home scenes where my mother was a girl.

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