Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 183 - The Deer, the Fawn and the Day Lily

The day of my journey that I dreaded the most came as a storm front moves in. You know its coming, you think about it, you prepare for it by shutting all the windows and moving all the loose outside furniture inside for protection but when it is upon you, its there and you have to ride it out.  As I listened to my Onstar directions, in half a mile make a right on Verona Road as I came over the hill.  I remembered traveling this journey with anticipation when I was twelve in the back of my mother's car.  Going to Grandpa and Grandma's house was a BIG deal as this was the only connection I had to my father.  I could hardly wait.  Make a left on to Third Street.  There was a story that one year my Grandma had packed my dirty clothes with my clean clothes and sent them home in the suitcase still dirty with me.  Grandma later told me it was my Dad's second wife that urged her to do that. Grandma was a go-along-to-get-along-woman and I can tell you that I definitely don't get that from her.  If its not right, I stand up for justice whether it's my own or someone else's.  Make a left on Maple Avenue. She told me in the backyard as she pinched the dead day lilies that adorned her place that she loved the wind.  I told her I didn't but as I've gotten older, I've grown to appreciate the wind.  It was another muggy day as I pulled up to 1411 Maple Avenue wishing for more of a breeze.

The front door was open with the window glass pane of the storm door allowing a peek at what was inside.  I pulled in front of the neighbors house and knocked on their door. After verifying that this was the same family that I had sat on the side porch during my stay over thirty-five years ago, asked if I could come in for a moment?  A little perplexed the neighbor verified who I was, the granddaughter of Robert F Hauck, Sr., their neighbor, and let me in with slight hesitation.  The emotion overcame me and I held back the tears.  I asked if they knew where my Grandmother was buried?  They did not as Grandma was buried over the holidays when most people were celebrating Christmas and New Years with loved ones.  They asked if I wanted to go knock on the door of their neighbor, my Grandfather. Nooooo.  I couldn't do it.  After the pain he had caused for over fifteen years, I couldn't bare the thought of him slamming the door in my face if I even attempted to talk to him.  Truth is, my Grandmother's features have arrived on my face like the storm front, prepared and unprepared for such likeness, I thought I may spook him by showing up at his door step.  At ninety-three, to have the likeness of your deceased wife show up may have been the straw that broke his back.  I didn't want to be the cause of him having a heart attack....although I could have done so, it just simply wasn't the right thing to do.

The neighbor confirmed that Grandma was heart-broken over not being able to see her son before her death and his children (my sister and I) which gave me the strength to march on and begin my own grieving process after four and one-half years of not being afforded the opportunity.  I had not been told, I had been left in the dark.  As the oldest granddaughter, the one who grew up with my Grandma and Grandpa at an age where they weren't "too old" to relate to, I loved them both.  I grew to hate the actions of my Grandpap but love the man.  Just as I had grown to hate the actions of my own father but love the man.  The apple didn't fall too far from the tree in the Hauck men generations.

Onstar took me to the funeral home that held the services for my Grandmother. This is where I was given the information I had been looking for.  My Grandmother was buried at Mt. Carmel Cemetery.  Make a safe and legal U-turn.  I had been looking forward to this moment for a long time.  Make a right on Verona Road. Grandma, it appeared was buried in the other direction of their house. The house looked exactly the same as it had for over seventy years.  It is amazing however that as a child, the houses we grew up in and then revisit when we get older seem to look smaller. They are so big when we are kids. Make a right on Mt. Carmel Road. I stopped at a local gardening shop but they were out of the day lilies.  I continued. Make a right and you have arrived at your destination.

The deer had begun walking to the right
I searched every upright gravestone

There are 29 sections in the cemetery and I searched them all

The headstones were beautiful, even the older ones from the 180
As I came through the entrance, I saw a deer at the top of the hill.  I stopped, grabbed my camera and took a photo.  She turned toward me long enough to stop and look and then kept walking up the hill.  Wow what a view.  The cemetery is on top of the mountain overlooking the valley on all sides.  The wind was blowing slightly and the breeze across my face comforted me to know Grandma would appreciate this location.  I felt the deer was a sign so I drove toward the deer looking at ALL the head stones.  I found Grandma's parents, my Great Maternal Grandparents the Tomnays at the location beneath the deer.  I wondered if the deer was Grandma trying to tell me where she was.  I looked for four and one half hours in the 98 degree heat, without food.  I had only had coffee for breakfast that day.  Luckily I had stopped at suggestion of an friend at the Bracken Mountain Bakery on the way out of Brevard NC that day.  As the search continued, I stopped long enough to fill an empty cup from the water hoses at the cemetery used to water the flowers that are buried there.  I ate a striata from the bakery and continued my search. I refused to leave until I found her, after all it had taken almost five years to get here.

I prayed for a sign, where is my Grandmother, and a fawn appeared at the bottom of the side of the mountain where most of the headstones were from the early 1900's. It is the spot I was told by a man cleaning off his own mother's grave where all the German Catholics were buried.  It appeared that the Catholics were buried by their ethnic heritage, Italians...lots of Italians, Irish, Spanish [from Spain], German and even Jews with names like Weiss and Maidoff. The Bertoluccis, Daluccis, Romanos, Companos...were everywhere.  The fawn had lead me to the Stumpfs, the Weinhosslers, the Mauses but when I got to the bottom of the hill, the fawn ran back up the hill around me in a huge circle and I started to run after her to follow where she had went.  I didn't understand what she was telling me.  I went back to the Tomnays and noticed that there was a fake white floral arrangement on their grave.  I was sure that my Aunt who put it there probably would put that same flower on my Grandmothers grave.  I continued in the sweltering heat to find that flower.  As the sun started to descend, I realized I needed to go find a place to stay over night as it was Sunday and it was becoming increasingly obvious I was going to have to spend the night. I needed the office personnel to tell me the plot number and section number.  As good as the deer had been, I guess I was just too tired to understand.

My Grandmother's Parents and her sister who died a few months after she did.
As I found my hotel I was comforted in knowing that I had passed a Lowes and would buy a day lily to plant at Grandma's grave on my way back in the morning. I wasn't leaving until I found her grave, it was integral to my healing process.  I knew it was the right thing to do as I had come from Florida and it was the sole purpose for the journey.  The happiness in between this part was like two pieces of bread holding the BLT together otherwise the bacon, lettuce and tomato become impossible to eat without a staple to hold it together.

The hotel also was right next to Primanti Brother's Restaurant. I was going to have a sandwich of my own for dinner.  If you've ever been to Pittsburgh, you know about this famous restaurant chain.  Started in 1933 by the Primanti Brothers, it was actually a stand on the side of the road that sold sandwiches.  A customer delivered a bag of potatoes and asked them if they would cut a couple up for him and fry them.  Mr. Primanti, did that, put them ON the sandwich with the usual coleslaw and the sandwich was born.  Every sandwich served at Primanti's has coleslaw AND french fries between the two pieces of bread with the main meat.  I ordered the Genoa Salami and cheese.  After hiking over ten miles chasing waterfalls and eating salads and fruits, my body loved this delicious sandwich.  It was to die for and if I was going to die, at least I was going to be at the right place to do it, I was going to the cemetery in the morning.

I arose at 5:30 AM, truth was I couldn't really sleep anyway as I had looked at EVERY single headstone in that huge cemetery and couldn't find her.  I stopped at Lowes and got a beautiful Day Lily and a gardener's shovel.  I pressed the Onstar button and made my way.  At 6:45 AM I pulled into the cemetery and saw a red pick up truck by my Great Maternal Grandparents grave. I drove up to what appeared to be an employee from Mt. Carmel Cemetery.  Tony was his name and I asked him if he could help me as I was up from Florida and couldn't find my Grandmother's grave.  He asked me to let him finish watering his grandparents grave and he would meet me at the office.  I thanked him and we did just that.

Grandma, Clara A. named after her mother Clara Anastasia

He opened the office and gave me the information for Grandma's location and even helped me find her grave in addition to my Paternal Grandparents Aloyious Hauck, Sr. and Mary C.  It was clear that I would have NEVER been able to find her without the information, I was shocked to know that my Aunt who owns two businesses didn't buy an upright gravestone.  It was just a flat marker in the ground behind a HUGE marker with two English Yews beside it.  You have arrived at your destination. I was also shocked that there wasn't a day lily on her grave.  I began to dig.  I took photos and shared my prayers and thoughts with Grandma who had already heard me from the prayers I sent to her for four and one half long years but I needed to do this for me.  I mean that is what funerals and cemeterys are after all, for the living.

My Grandfather's Parents Aloysius J. Hauck, Sr. and Mary C [Maus]
I then located Great Grandpa and Grandma Haucks grave.  It was also located on the hill where the deer was.  Tony pulled up as I planted seeds at gravesite and said, he should have known where it was as it was right behind his grandparents, the Turners!  From this location Grandma had been down the hill.  I think the fawn had been trying to tell me to go back up and over and down the hill as that is where Grandma was located.  Grandma's grave did have the same white flower as her mother's grave as I had suspected but it was blocked from my view by the tombstone in front of her flat marker from the road.

As I said my goodbyes I felt the breeze on my face and smiled.   Grandma would appreciate the breeze that day and I prayed that she appreciated the day lily.  They call them day lilies because they are only perfect for just one day.  And this morning, with the flower, the wind, and Tony Turner it was just that...perfect.  I love and miss you Grandma and your "warsh" cloths.

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