To the Editor:
Over the weekend, we attended a birthday party for the legendary Lowell Mathre who is now 90 years young. Lowell and his late wife, Van, are founding members of the Fern Dell Historic Association in Newark. Besides all the work he puts in at the museum, he is a knowledgeable local historian. He has a lot of interesting and usually funny stories to tell, and I hope his family has been paying attention and soaking them up for future generations.
My mom’s parents, my Granny and Pa, always had stories to share from their younger days. They both served during WW II. Pa used to tell us grandkids about the monkey that was on board the ship he was on in the South Pacific. He and the monkey both suffered from sea sickness, poor devils. My Granny enlisted and was stationed in Bangor, Maine. That’s a long way from home for a young bride from a small town in southern Illinois. She had to submit a written letter of permission from her husband to be able to enlist. Yes, we’ve come a long way, baby. My grandparents are all gone now, and I regret that I wasn’t paying more attention to their stories or didn’t ask them to write some down.
On Memorial Day, we honor family and friends who have passed on. Maybe we also should try to spend some time collecting memories from that older generation while they’re still here.
Happy birthday, Lowell. You’ll always be the one that got away.