(click to enlarge)
Uncle Vincent died Monday evening February 2. I wrote briefly about his death here. His funeral is on Tuesday in Lamoure. Details are here. The photo used there is one I took of him almost exactly a year ago at his sister, Edithe’s, funeral on Feb. 15, 2014. The one that people will see in the folder at the funeral Mass on Tuesday is of he and Edithe Oct. 25, 2013, couple of weeks before he joined her in the Nursing Home; and 3 1/2 months before she died. (That photo is at the end of this post.)
They lived together on the home farm for all but the last few years of their entire life. Nine children were born and raised there, and Vincent is the end of the line for “the Busch place” of Berlin ND. So is how it goes. There are lots of nephews and nieces, but we live all over creation.
There will be stories of course, some told on Tuesday. Others in other conversations.
My sister Mary and I went to clean out Vincent’s room last Thursday, reducing all of the possessions to a large box and some garbage bags. St. Rose provided a handcart to remove the possessions and as I was making my second and final trip a couple of staff opened the door for me: “Isn’t this as it always is: an entire life reduced to a few garbage bags….”
They see this trip quite often, of course. In one way or another, for all of us, it is the same. What we struggled for in this temporal life suddenly becomes irrelevant to us.
One of the possessions in the room was Vincent’s desk (pictured above), which I kept “off limits” till he died. It was important to him. It yielded an immense amount of stuff, which I have now been going through, piece by piece, to be sure that something of importance is not in hiding there. There are the usual questions, of course: “Why in the world did he keep THAT?” “Why is that pliers in here?” “Should I keep that 1987 fishing license?” And on and on.
Then there’s other stuff: an official document of a report on a U.S. Patent received by my grandfather Ferdinand Busch in 1925 for a “fuel economizer”. I knew Grandpa had a couple of Patents, in the 1950s, but had never heard of this one. It’s Number 1,541,684 if you’re interested. It expired in 1942, and already in 1925 many similar devices were being invented, so don’t presume you’ll get rich on it!
That this treasure appeared was not too much of a surprise. This desk had been Grandpa’s before, and had a very long history, perhaps going back to he and Rosa’s arrival on the ND prairie in 1905.
A folded and brittle piece of paper appeared in the pile of flotsam from the desk. It was from 1915 – 100 years ago – and was a detailed report on fundraising for the new St. John’s Church in Berlin (which closed in 1968). It was a single page listing of who contributed what to the construction of the church, and it appears from the pattern of contributions that the church was paid for in cash, $3,419.85. You can see the sheet here: Berlin St. Johns 1915001. It’s an important part of local history, perhaps inadvertently saved, but saved nonetheless.
Before we took down the pictures on Vince’s walls, I took photos (of the desk, and the other walls). Now, those things on Vince’s wall deserve the attention. What you see there is what was important to him….
On the way out of town, we stopped at the gas station and Mary Ann overheard an older guy (probably my age) talking to some of his buddies in a booth. They had seen the on-line obit, and he said: “I didn’t think Vince was that old.”
Maybe they’ll be at the funeral on Tuesday.
Vincent and Edithe and all of the family from rural Berlin are at peace.
For the rest of us, live well, but don’t forget the garbage bags who somebody will use when it’s your turn!
from Annelee, Feb 8: I just read “MY Uncle Vince”you revealed much of the love you had for him — it touched me deeply.
The photos also gave me a glimpse of what kind of man Uncle Vince was. Warm and honoring the past, but living in the present.
When you wrote about the garbage bag — being part of the end of one’s life —that is only part of what happens.
I will always remember (until I die) what my papa said to me as we hugged for the final time before he left.
As he turned away and left I called out, “Papa, Papa, please don’t leave me just yet!”
I still can remember him standing there, he looked at me with so much love and he said, “Anneliese, I will never leave you.”
“But Papa”, —-
“Anneliese” he broke in, “ you will remember what I said and you will do things like I taught you. You see, I will be with you more than you know.”
He kicked a solitary tree trunk and walked away without looking back.
He was mot even 41, he is gone for more than seven decades. But I still remember these words, —
I taught much to my children of what he taught me. I told them about Papa —what I remembered.
So you see, Papa and all he owned is gone —but he is still with me in memories — and he will be with Roy [my son] because I tried to instill
the values my Papa taught me—in him.
Love and blessings Annelee
Her Dad and Mom refused to be part of the Nazis and as a result, he was drafted into the military engineers, and after the last visit home she describes above, her Dad went with the Germans into Russia and was never heard from again. They believe he died somewhere in Russia, but are not sure.
She will be speaking several times in the Twin Cities this spring, the next on March 8 at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis.