Christmas in Illinois 2014: Day 3 – Visit with Barbara May

My mom’s cousin Barbara May lives in the farming country of central Illinois near where my mom most of her siblings were born. Barbara May is the daughter of my mom’s, dad’s, youngest sister. After fighting TB back in the 1920’s my grandpa and grandma left Illinois for the drier climate of New Mexico and Arizona. His youngest sister married a farmer and Barbara May was the only child of that relationship.

When Barbara May was in high school her father sold the farm and they moved to town – Heyworth, Illinois. We visited her in that house on a road trip in the summer of 2010. Here are some pictures and accounts of our trip Atlanta and Heyworth Illinois.

As it turns out, Illinois is a long state with Chicago at the top. Andrew had to go to a music educators’ conference in Chicago so we borrowed his car and headed down I55 to Clinton where Barbara now lives. On the way we saw the Midwest winter on the plains. The temperature was in the mid 20’s but now snow fell.

Grain silos in central Illionis

Grain silos in central Illionis

Barn on the Midwest prairie - central Illinois

Barn on the Midwest prairie – central Illinois

Farm house in the central Illinois Winter

Farm house in the central Illinois Winter

Unfortunately Barbara May is fighting Parkinson’s disease; nevertheless, she has an indomitable spirit and enjoyed our too brief visit. My sisters and I made some calendars as Christmas presents for our relatives so we dropped one off with Barbara May. We had a kick showing off the pictures of Laura, Diana, and my extended families.

Barbara May at Liberty Manor in Clinton, IL

Barbara May at Liberty Manor in Clinton, IL

In turn Barbara May shared some pictures and stories of her youth. We especially liked the picture of her as a child with long spiraling curls. Barbara May has been very active in her church and a few years ago she served as the Grand Marshall of the Fourth of July parade. That was another nice picture. Her friends from Heyworth come to visit her frequently and decorated her room for Christmas.

After our visit we headed back up for the three hour drive to North Riverside. When we got home the house smelled amazing! Henriët spent the day making a South African treat for me: biscoit. These are similar to biscotti. I’m looking forward to having a piece with my coffee in the morning.

Jurgen was in “wind down” mode. He was headed for a bath and then bed. Carla and I got to hold him for a while as long as we (and by “we” I mean “me”) promised not to get him all excited.

Howard and Jurgen enjoying a little quiet time prior to bed

Howard and Jurgen enjoying a little quiet time prior to bed

Carla and Jurgen winding down after a busy day

Carla and Jurgen winding down after a busy day

While Carla and Henriët gave him his bath, Andrew and I headed out to Al’s Pies to get a couple of delicious pizzas.

It was a wonderful day spending time with four generations of Bakers. I only wish we could have brought Jurgen, Andrew and Henriët with us. Maybe next time. We’ll definitely drop in to see her when we take our Route 66 trip this spring.

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
This entry was posted in Foliage and Landscape, Photography, Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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