The Story Place

Posted on October 18, 2009


The wind piles dry leaves against a fencepost.  Branches cracked away from old oaks and beeches litter the ground.  Deer trails disappear into the woods.  Wild turkeys come here for the beechnuts and acorns.  Coyotes come for the wild turkeys.  I’ve come for the stories. 

Autumn at Bayview Cemetery

I spent a cold gray afternoon last week at Bayview Cemetery, listening. So many tiny tombstones where mothers grieved unbearably. So many mossy tablets no longer legible.

Frances Hodge age 2 yrs 8 mos and 19 dys

I’m obsessed with the Civil War veterans who came to the north end of Torch Lake to make new lives after the war. I see them clearing land for their farms, working at the sawmill, building a school, a hotel, a store.  I think of them gathered at the GAR post in Eastport in their old age with their memories, their wounds, and their flag. Their stories are songs in the wind. Dan Blakely, John McEwan, Jackson Waffle, Robert Wilkinson.  I learn more about some, and new mysteries arise.   

Dan'l Blakley GAR

The McEwan monument at Bayview Cemetery

Samuel Oberholzer, Nelson Todd, L.E. See, Jerome Campbell. As the stories come clear, I’ll tell them to you. If you know the stories, please tell them to me. Norman Larabee, Hiram Blakely, John Jackson, Luther Evans.

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