Monday, January 14, 2013

The Little Town of Willoughby

Located in Section K, Row 28, Stone 28 of the Willoughby Village Cemetery is the tombstone of Minnie E. Carrel.  It is no different than most other tombstones.  A name and dates mark the passing of a local resident.  Minerva Butler was born in Lake County in April 1862.  She married F. Carrel and had five children.  She died in September 1938.  Her legacy was a poem in her 1923 book titled Fireside Poems.  The poem described a little town Carrel knew.  It described a school campus, with trees and a flagstaff.  It mentioned a triangular park at the center of town.  It recalled war monuments and a brick building that bears her family name.  The little town she recalled is Willoughby. It has been decades since her passing.  Her little town of Willoughby has changed, but many familiar local landmarks remain.  Her book of poems is still on the racks at Morley Public Library and other libraries throughout the U.S.  Her poem even graces the foreword of Willoughby's History Book (2012).  Here is her dedication to her hometown.

                                  The Little Town of Willoughby

                                 To the little town of Willoughby,
                                 Where I have dwelt so long,
                                 I will dedicate a corner
                                 In the volume of my song.

                                Where nature has painted with lavish hand,
                                The woods and valleys fair,
                                With the deepest green of springtime;
                                 And autumn tints most rare.

                                The Campus, where trees a century old
                                Lift their proud heads to the skies
                                And high above, from the old flagstaff
                                To the breeze, Old Glory flies.

                               Underneath in the cooling shade,
                               Obscured from the summer's sun,
                               Is the monument we chiseled
                               For the boys of sixty-one.

                               On this sacred spot, in the year eighteen,
                               How well we remember the day,
                               We bade farewell to the khaki boys,
                               ' Ere they gallantly marched away.

                              Then we made a new memorial,
                              Moistened deep with mother's tears,
                              For the brave young lads who'll come not
                              Through all the weary years.

                             Yes, there are memories, dear old town,
                             That we never can forget,
                             Although our feet may wander far,
                             Our hearts stay with you yet.

                            These eyes of mine shall ne'er behold
                            A landscape half so fair,
                            Until I cross the river
                            To that city Over There.

                                                          Minnie E. Carrel 
                                                          Fireside Poems - 1923

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