Sunday, April 7, 2013

So we go inside, and gravely read the stones

As far back as I can recall, I have been mesmerized by cemeteries. St. Mary's Cemetery in Winona, Minnesota has always been my favorite. The mortal remains of my beloved kitten wife, Lisa Gray Hughes, now lie buried here. Someday my remains will lie beside my Moopy's, alongside those of my parents and of my maternal grandparents, John C. and Laura Pellowski Bambenek. So far from depressing me, this thought gives me an unbelievable comfort. As does the idea that the little boy I was back then was not just visiting his ancestors, but his future neighbors. But then, I have always been a seriously weird dude.

The purpose of this blog is to collect data on the Kashubian American families of Winona. Of course no mere rock with names and dates engraved upon it can capture the loves, and hates, and passions of the separate lives Moopy and I lived, or of the twenty-one joyous years God gave us to spend together. Multiply this glaring discrepancy by the number of those buried at St. Mary's Cemetery and the result is a universe - a virtual Spoon River of lives to sample and explore as best we can. And now, in the autumn of my life, they have summoned me to share their stories as best I can. If by some chance you have actually read this far, please consider yourself summoned too. I would welcome your contributions and (even more) your company.

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