I was so blessed with terrific families as our neighbors in Elwood, Indiana: the Herndons (we found out that we were related about three generations back, in Hope, Indiana), the Fortners, the Wolffs (Dutch & Kate; later Nick & Kathy), the Herman Cole family (Ronnie Cole, Elwood’s magic mechanic), Lucille Berry, and across Ninth Street, Luther and Ida Myrick.
Luther was a coal miner from the hollers of southeastern Kentucky and Tennessee and for many years, was the square dance caller at The Jellico (TN) Hoe Down. Luther often sang some of his favorite songs, calling out the dance instructions.
Ida had the best stories.
Her grandmother was from Hodgenville, Kentucky, raised off to the side of what is called the Greensburg Road, one mile from the Lincoln family farm, commonly known now as the Knob Creek farm.
Ida’s grandmother clearly remembered the Lincoln family and her mother took food and to the Lincoln family when their son, Thomas Jr. died.
Ida shared details about her grandmother’s recollections playing with Sarah and Abraham and attending a blab school for only a month or so. I was enthralled with the stories.
For my 12th birthday, which coincided with our 1976 Bi-Centennial, Ida gave me a special gift: a signed card de visite of President Lincoln wishing health and happiness to his childhood playmate. Sadly, the card stolen by a high school classmate (I’ve not forgotten your thievery, JJ!) and the administration and the police could not locate where it was sold for JJ to purchase his drugs.
To us, they were Luther and Gran. They were bonus great-grandparents who, though childless, loved us as dearly as their own numerous nephews and nieces to whom they were wonderfully devoted, and it was returned in full measure.
My sister was the closest to Luke and Gran, and I’ve often thought they doted on her as their biological granddaughter they were never to have. I still cherish their mutual relationship and am grateful Dena still holds close that special relationship.
I never knew the reason for their move to Elwood, nor when. A great-nephew and niece actually lived here in Kettering and she was in the Kettering City Schools food and nutrient department. We’ve communicated sporadically these past 30 years.
Today, January 2nd, is Ida’s 116th birthday.
Happy birthday, Gran!
Thank you for loving us like your own and for enriching our lives with so much of your family history, culture, home remedies (they worked better than miracles!), and for demonstrating how lovely simplicity can be.