Construction of Hotel Vincent, Benton Harbor 1924
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From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum
300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma
The Paw Paw River Journal
This world is not my home!
Once in a while I have some long thoughts… and I hope, Dear Readers, that you won’t mind my sharing them with you. Lately I have had this picture in my mind that we are living in a huge mansion. And it was originally full of people we mostly knew. That was a safe, sunny feeling. We knew our world.
But over the years it has changed. Gradually, gradually the people we know have left. The house is just as full, but they are different people now. How can us help being a little sad… especially when some of those missing now were so close to us then. We try not to dwell on it, but I believe that these memories may be at least part of their immortality. They still live on in our thoughts. So, when they come into my mind occasionally, or when I dream about those long gone, I welcome them.
In my somewhat misspent life, I have been on many college campuses. And I have always enjoyed talking with the ministers, priests, and rabbis who serve the spiritual needs of college kids. They are a special breed… have to be to deal with those questing young minds. At the University of Michigan I talked with a priest at St. Mary’s Chapel. I wanted to know what his idea is of the afterlife! He said perhaps it is like before birth… a place of perfect contentment and peace. That is interesting, but none of us really knows.
So my memory ramblings are kind of exemplified by a story… one pre-Memorial Day, Marion and I went to Arlington cemetery north of Bangor. There my Grandpa and Grandma Davis, and my Uncle A. Everett Davis are buried. We had geraniums to plant, and did so with wind sighing through the huge grandfather maple overhead.
Afterwards I said, “I want to lean against the fender here and sort out some ideas for a few minutes.”
Marion got in the car and said, “All right, go ahead.”
This is what was in my mind: I looked at the monument… old, flaking off. And it is a shaft, shaped like a church pulpit, with an open book resting on it… a Bible, I’m sure. Silas W. Davis—died 1913, Ida Davis—died 1929, A. Everett Davis—died 1951. The plot looks old and undisturbed. The graves are all a little sunken in… probably none of them were buried in vaults. Their coffins have fallen in, and they are all going, or have gone back to the earth. They look as though they have been there for a long time, and they have! They have become part of the Grandfather Tree, the huge old maple whose branches overshadow our family plot.
Now, if part (at least) of our immortality is based on our being remembered and having changed something by our being here on earth, how much is left of them? After being buried now 104 years, 88 years, and 68 years respectively.
There are very few people, if any, in Bangor who would still remember them. After my family is all gone, will there be anyone here on earth who knows what they looked like? Probably not, except for family pictures in our archives. Does that mean then that they are totally gone?
No, they are still alive in that some of t