Church Mouse: archival trunk

A long ago commissioned greeting card for St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

I had been wondering about how much interaction there was between my parents’ families before they got married. They grew up fewer than 10 miles apart after Mom’s family moved to Minnesota from Iowa when she was still a little girl. They were members of the same church

I recently came across a bright red diary with Mom’s maiden name stenciled on the front in gold and her handwriting inside starting when she was 17. 

Rather to my surprise, I found out that she and her older sister had worked for her future in-laws part of the summer after she graduated from high school.

Dad was eight years older than Mom, so they didn’t know each other in school. Mom correctly approximates his age when she’s making an entry there at his house — her future home. I doubt she had any idea of such a turn of events at the time of her employ. 

The woman who would’ve been her mother-in-law died the year before. Mom had previously noted in the few scant lines allowed per year in a five-year diary that in church she’d heard Mrs. C. was feeling very “low” and was in the hospital. Expanding into four years' worth of space the next year, Mom quotes the oldest of my dad’s two older sisters excitedly telling her younger sister that she “got Dad to laugh.” Mom explains that the grandfather I never met was still solemnly adjusting to being a widower. 

Fast forwarding more than a decade, there is a final entry when she finds the book back at her childhood home as she’s cleaning up her rural art studio after having had a career in the Twin Cities. She’s just taken a job at the local hometown bank — she confides to her diary that she and her future husband might “have a chance.” She called it. 

One of the highlights during the intervening years was getting the commission to do the greeting cards for St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. I vaguely recall her stepping over to look at the window when we were in Rochester one time, probably when Dad was doctoring there late in his life. This postcard was another recent discovery. I doubt there was much hesitancy on her part in achieving that goal. 

This formidable trunk upon which it leans belonged to my father’s mother. It was first brought to my attention under a tarp in my aunt’s garage shortly before her auction. There wasn’t much of anything to be found in it where it was stored at the time, but it’s now become a daunting task to discern what to stash in it for the next generation to mull over and further understand. 

Kate Josephson worked as a church secretary in Red Wing. She seeks out religious experiences wherever she goes.

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