Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Visit to Rochelle

    In the 1930's these buildings were part of the bustling community of Rochelle, Texas. A grocery store and pharmacy were two of the thriving businesses that were visited by residents of this small settlement located near Brady, known as the Heart of Texas. This past Saturday, several of our family members got together to seek out the tiny town where my father lived for a brief time and considered Rochelle some of the best and most memorable years of his life. Fortunately, we had some of his memoirs with us to refer to, adding to the awe we felt as we toured the area. Some of our family had taken trips with our father back to Rochelle just to "check on things". I had not been one of those who had made this trip, but had gotten a peek of the area just when passing through on other trips.

    We found the building above and tried to figure out why it looked so different. My aunt was just sure this was the building we were looking for. It matched the old picture we had in many ways, but the picture we had did not have a two-story building. We were totally baffled. It was time for a lunch break, so off we went to Brady since Rochelle had no restaurant in sight. (Chicken fried steak was enjoyed by all!!)

Upon our return we found a man mowing around the building. We decided to quiz him. Fortunate of us he was the owner of the building! The building we were looking for had been torn down, but the building we were looking at had just been down the street from it. We had already dubbed the structure the mystery building, but now the mystery had been solved.

    It was fun to go inside of the existing building though. Tin ceilings! I thought about Rochelle residents coming in an out. There had probably been screen doors that slammed when a customer came in do conduct business.

I thought I could hear people greeting each other and visiting, talking about the weather, the economy and as much local news as possible. I wondered how they would have been dressed, what their purchases would have been... and what were the women cooking for supper. Day to day living during that period of time has been an real interest of mine.

    Of course, a visit to the cemetery was in order. As noted by our hair and clothes it was a very windy day, but the temperature was perfect! My niece, Kensey Lee, and I stand at the head of my great-grandmother's headstone. Her name had been Eula Lee. Kensey was named after me, Karen Lee, however, she had not known that the name Lee in our family had actually come from my father's maternal grandmother.
   The day had turned out to be more than I think any of us had counted on. Walking the streets of our father and ancestors is a way of "re-grounding" ourselves and helping us to remember that we come from good stock, as they say in our "neck of the woods". It was truly a blessing to spend the weekend with our loved ones and remembering a truly amazing man... my "Indiana Jones".