Monday, January 25, 2010

Johnny Appleseed Skies...

( James Lawson Walden. My cousin. My mom's nephew. I never knew James, or even met him. He passed away long before I was born )...

Do you like Sunday drives or day trips? Oh, so do I. Yesterday, Gary and I took advantage of the clear blue skies and found our way out of this little desert town...



Past the great snowy mountains...



Through the concrete jungle of Southern California roadways...





And finally into Los Angeles County. A cemetery to be exact...



You see, this is where James Lawson Walden is buried....



Oh, we walked and walked and searched for his headstone for over an hour. So many, many, headstones...





Names and dates but no hint of what their lives were like...



Visitors come and go and leave flowers and gifts from the heart...



While searching for James, I made my way over to this very beautiful and haunting Jewish section...





Finally, under this rugged and faithful shade giver, a Jacaranda tree filled with purple blossoms in the summer, we found James...



By this time, Gary and I (and one very helpful security guard) had split up to search the grounds. Gary found James, and by the time I made my way to the other side of the cemetery, he had already cleaned off the headstone. I could see him, on his knees, swishing away the tiny Jacaranda leaves. What a good-hearted man I married!

We brought flowers to put on James' grave. Lovely pink Lilies...





You see, James passed away from Cerebral Palsy at the tender age of 15. He was born in 1940 to a young married couple in Northwest Arkansas, his mother (my aunt) a mere child herself...



(That's my mom, over to the left, when she was about 14.)


They, like so many young families, made the move to Southern California looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow. They settled in a small town outside of Los Angeles and had quite a few more children through the years.

Then in 1955 in the little house outside of Los Angeles County, James quietly passed away.

The years passed and life continued. Many years later, My aunt and her family retired and moved back "home" to Northwest Arkansas.

With James' immediate family living so many miles away, it's impossible for them to visit the cemetery, so, Gary and I decided we could do that for them.

As we said our good-byes to Los Angeles County, we drove home under a Johnny Appleseed sky...



For us, it was a 100 mile round-trip journey. And well worth every single mile.

Until Next Time:
Kim
Gerushia's New World

16 comments:

BLUEYEDUCKstudios said...

fantastic :)

I am a cemetery walker, searcher, investigator, wanderer...
Near old Cleveland (Ohio) is the gorgeous Lakeview Cemetery... We spend hours there (in all weather) ... and yes, the stories the stones tell! AMAZING... heartbreak so evident!

mentalmulch said...

Very touching story. Love all the pictures. Thanks for sharing!
Roxanne

Manon Doyle said...

Awe!! What a lovely post and a wonderful tribute to James! Thanks for taking us on your journey!

Sandy Mastroni said...

yes I agree ... a very sweet story
I'm sure James is perfect and happy in every way now ! so there is joy here too

June said...

Kim I'm sure you didn't know how this wonderful post would help my heart today. Being the mother of a child with disabilities, I'm always touched by stories such as yours. I think your kindness to James and his family warmed my heart. I hope that when I am gone, someone will remember my sweet son and that his life was important and that he is loved by many. I love the pictures of that darling little boy with his beautiful mother. It looks like he was cherished.
hugs

La Dolce Vita said...

what a sweet and heartfelt post! I do love the bone yard. there is such a sense of serenity there. xo

jen said...

what a sweet little trip. i'm sure your family is thankful for your kindness. I hope you have a great day today!

Carol Anne Strange said...

What a wonderful, heartfelt post, Kim, and such a beautiful way of remembering your cousin. You and your family are truly amazing. Sending you love and bright wishes. xx

art-and-ghosts said...

what a beautiful gesture, and a beautiful little boy. He is extremely lucky to have such considerate and warm hearted relations to look after his memory, his final resting place like that.

im really moved by this post, kim. words could not do it justice.

thanks for sharing such delicate and personal journeys with us.

Pocket Full of Prettys said...

Your post was so sweet. Sending you hugs***Renea

Shona Cole said...

oh what a wonderful post, brought tears to my eyes. every soul is precious. families, like yours are precious. thank you for sharing this tenderness.

shona

Gerushia's New World said...

Thank you all so much for reading and commenting on this post. This is one of those entries that really meant alot to me. I always appreciate your support and kindness.

Kim

Amy. said...

What a great story and wonderful photos, both new and old!
Thanks for sharing.
Guess what? I just watched the whole DVD last night of Electric Edwardians. I love it!!! So haunting and beautiful. Thanks for the suggestion.

Shabby Cottage Studio said...

So touching Kim and how sweet and kind you are for your family. Imagine what we could learn if they could share THEIR stories with us.
Cheers
Gail

Marie said...

Beautiful post Kim. I love that phrase, "A Johnny Appleseed Sky." I have never heard it before. I love to walk through graveyards and think about the people that are buried there, and wonder about their lives. I find it very fascinating. Everyone has a story. How very wonderful that you were able to do this kindness for your family. ((((hugs))))

Susan Tuttle said...

such a moving post -- the lily on the grave is a very special gift.

:)