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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Purple Irises

Many years ago, when my Great Grandma, Mamie Helen Hubbard Carrier, passed away the family had a gravesite service in Princeton, MN. She had lived in a Nursing Home by St. Cloud for a long time, and had outlived most of her friends. Just about everyone there was related to her or her deceased husband.

There was an elderly lady there and none of the family knew her. When the service was over, the lady asked us to walk her to her car. In her car, she had several purple iris plants. She told us that when she was a young bride, her and her husband moved into the house next door to Mamie and Elmer Carrier in North Minneapolis. My Great Grandma dug up purple irises from her garden and gave them to this lady as a house warming gift. They lady still lived in that house and had grown those pretty purple flowers all these years! When she heard Mamie passed away, she dug up several of those flowers to give to family members as a memorial. What a sweet way to share a part of Mamie with all of us!

The story could have ended there and it would have been a really cool story. Fast forward to several years later, and I'm now into genealogy. Every year, I took my father in law to several cemeteries so we could put flowers and flags on the graves of his wife's family and the graves of his friends. One year, I decided to take a trip of my own and took a trip to Princeton to see if I could find the cemetery and the graves of Elmer and Mamie, and the grave of my Grandpa's sister, Phyllis, and her husband. The cemetery was easy to find, it's right off of Highway 169. I drove right to it! It is a nice cemetery and it's very well maintained. They have tarred all the little roads between the rows of graves and named each little road. They put up regular street signs at the ends of each road.

It was a real goose bump moment when to my delight, I discovered my Great Grandma is buried on Iris Lane!! All the roads in the cemetery have been named after flowers. No-one who is in charge of the cemetery knew the story of the lady who brought the purple irises to Mamie's funeral. Just seems to me that Mamie made sure to put the thought into someone's head to name her road after the comforting thought of a friendship that endured over many years and many miles. Each time I return to that cemetery, the "Iris Lane" sign brings a smile to my face and a warm glow to my heart. RIP Mamie, we've never forgotten you!

~ Skip


Anne Bradshaw said...

Love this story. Thanks so much for sharing.

Apple said...

A wonderful story to start off with!