Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - 20 Jul 2010 and OTR

On the Road
Through the Years
With Dr. Bill

A Memoir Excerpt (OTR 2 - NE1)

[Also, Tombstone Tuesday entry for 20 Jul 2010]

On Thursday, July 15, 2010, Nancy and I were driving to a family gathering in central Iowa on the second day out from a Utah visit. We were going to be going east on I-80 past Grand Island, NE, where a set of my great-grandparents are buried, that I had not yet visited (even though we had lived in Emporia, KS, a few miles-perhaps 200-south, for 15 years).

As with most Nebraska towns along I-80, it seems, Grand Island sits several miles to the north of the route of the Interstate Highway. So, we exited and turned north onto US 281 according to our plan. We (actually Nancy) had checked out the directions and location as best we could on the Internet, the night before, in our motel room. The Soldiers Home was supposed to be east off of US 281 a few blocks near the north end of town.

Being a typical summer, there was road construction on US 281, almost immediately, and in a few miles, as we got to the edge of town, our side of the four lane road was completely closed, with a detour to the east. Proceeding on the detour, with a lot of other cars, when the detour turned back north, we went on east to the next intersection (recognizing on the highway map mini-map of Grand Island that it went all the way north, as well) and turned north, avoiding traffic.

Long story short (well, not quite), we got up to Capitol, as expected, turned east, again, and saw the Soldiers Home grounds on our left... right where it was supposed to be. But, no cemetery. We went along the east side of the grounds, heading north, thinking it might be behind the Home. Immediately behind the grounds, there was an east-west road, but we could go no further north because of a major train track, with train, no crossings. We proceeded west - crossed US 281, still under construction, and a couple of more miles. [Nancy's cell phone rang - it was brother Bob, with the latest info on their location coming to the family gathering]. I kept going west, slowly. No cemetery. Finally, a few miles west, we had passed a new school - they were still talking on the phone. I turned around, went south past the new school, and came to Capital street and turned left - back toward the Soldiers home. Phone conversation ended. Crossing back over US 281, again, about two blocks, there was the Cemetery, on the left... just a couple of blocks west (forested blocks) of the Soldiers Home.

The cemetery was not large, thankfully. From the third photo we had, we had a good angle on locating the grave markers from the building with the flag. Here I am in one of the photos Nancy was kind enough to take, with the two stones.

After getting our photos, see the rest in the links, above, we slipped out of town to the east, caught the Interstate, and got back on our way to Iowa. Perhaps 45 minutes had transpired... though it seemed a lot longer.

Oh, the memories!  ;-)


  1. Bill, I'm glad you kept with it and found the cemetery. Cemetery searching is so much fun. I hope you took close-ups as well!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to search out these graves. Interesting to see them. I wonder why they chose to come to this place to live out their last days and to be buried there.

  3. @Barbara - I've had the closeup photos, in the second link, above for a long time, taken by someone else. It was from the third photo that was included that I was so easily able to located them, myself, here. I was just surprised how small they were. ;-)
    @Becki - yes, we continue to speculate and research that question. LVene's book talks about it, but does not provide the rational. Always more to learn. ;-)