a new church building.
The one we were in at The Heights in Houghton Lake was old and too small for the growing congregation.
it was increasing in numbers.
The neighboring town of West Branch had recently built a beautiful new church.
“Let’s go to West Branch
and check out their new building.”
Of course I wanted to be on that committee.
The new church was in my former home town.
Any excuse to visit was a great idea.
was built on the County Farm property
across the street
from the house where I’d lived
until I was seventeen.
If you’ve read in my blog post
“About Mrs. Kelly”,
you have some idea of my emotional attachment
to the County Farm
and to the wonderful lady
who was my friend.
I decided to take a little side trip
down a different hallway.
there was an exit door.
where the doorway to Mrs. Kelly’s kitchen had been.
It really didn’t matter
if the blueprints showed my estimate of the location
to be true or not to be true.
This was a view I’d seen many times before.
(Was that the aroma of homemade bread?)
when I’m in town,
I drive into the parking area
and sit for a few minutes.
The location of this West Branch United Methodist Church
still reminds me of pleasant days of my youth.
There was and is,
an oil well pump on the East side of the parking lot.
The old barn bridge is often visible,
depending on the time of year,
and how many leaves are on the trees.
The barn is gone.
In my memory,
the chicken coop is there.
The pasture where the sheep were kept,
exists there too.
at the North end of the parking area,
is the West Branch Township Hall.
It hasn’t aged.
On the day of our committee’s visit,
I could feel emotions rising in my throat,
glad I was standing alone.
I couldn’t have spoken to anyone right then.
The view was recalling a memory.
It was taking me back
to a time in my life
of great happiness and joy.
As we were returning to our home town,
I casually mentioned to my fellow travelers
at the doorway in the church.
No one seemed overwhelmed by my revelations.
Should they have been?
A few days later,
I was traveling to a meeting with my Dad,
for which I served as secretary
and he, as a board member.
I began to share my experience
of the treasured memory of the County Farm
as we drove along the highway.
Once again, it was difficult for me to speak.
Regaining my composure,
I shared with my Dad my emotional visit
to the United Methodist church
in West Branch.
He listened attentively.
Then he began to share his thoughts with me.
“Most people encounter experiences such as you had,
as they grow older and their lives have changed,” he said.
“They remember the joys of youth.
They remember people who were important to them
who have passed away
or are no longer living nearby.
Buildings have often been removed by deterioration
Today, when I’m visiting the town of my youth,
I’m still making memories.
The doorway to my future is open.
Life for me is still experienced
one day at a time.
Have you stood in a doorway lately?
Photography By Mary Anne Tuck