Maps contain Memories

I was doing some re-arranging of files today and came across an atlas of Cerro Gordo County that was given to me a very long time ago by an elderly client. It was published sometime around 1912. In paging through it and seeing not only the old family names but also the advertisements of banks and businesses that have long since closed their doors. Some of the names I still recognize and just by matching up those family names with existing titleholders, one could easily establish which farms are century farms. Every once in a while driving in the country, I will see those little signs on the driveways of acreages announcing their being century farms. There are far more who remain silent to that fact. I think those families should be recognized because of their being able to hang on to a family farm for a 100 years or more, and that’s quite a feat. Just imagine the hardships that were endured over those long years. From unexpected deaths, bank failures, crop failures, family in-fighting, and every possible negatively affecting factor you can think of, and still they continued to survive. Now that’s saying something. Having been blessed at a time in my life when I resided in a home where four generations of my family resided and survived. Sometimes those quirky memories pop up and make me smile in even the darkest of days. At an early age, I’ve understood generational gaps and perhaps that’s why I have absolutely no problem working with the young, the old, and the in between. My grandmother was indeed grand. She would always attempt to have the last word, and most of the time it was by using one of her clever euphemism. Because she lived far longer than she expected and still had her mental faculties, she provided a living account of the way life in and around the turn of the century as well as the social and religious indifference’s that existed. I chide myself for not listening to my mother when she encouraged me to purchase her parents farm. I was too young, too fretful and couldn’t stop thinking of the “what if”. Well today, if I had listened to my mother, there would now be the biggest sign announcing that home-site a century farm. But today, it would be far more than a century farm because her family owned that farm since 1875. Now that would have been endurance! Looking at those maps today I was reminded that it contains memories.mapmap-1

Joe Chodur

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