Hi everyone, Katie here.
Welcome back to Another Mother. Today's chapter is a special one, just in time for Thanksgiving. Glogirly and I hope you enjoy it.
Glogirly and Dorothy said their goodbye's to Jim, Armie, Craig and Angela. Glogirly promised to come back soon. They drove down the winding dirt trail through the two cattle gates and onto the main road, Clark Valley Road. Glogirly thought about her grandfather and how he had built the very road they were driving on. The ranch property became smaller and smaller in the rear window as they drove away. Two miles down, at the end of the curvy road was the highway that would take them back north, towards the San Francisco airport.
But first there was one last stop to make. Just across the highway from Clark Valley Road was Los Osos Memorial Park, the cemetery where Glogirly's grandparents, Dorothy's husband Larry, Jeanette's husband Charles were all laid to rest. This was also the cemetery where Alice was buried.
Glogirly's grandfather, Richard H. Beecham, built the original cemetery.
Dorothy brought Glogirly over to the mausoleum where her grandparents were. Richard Harvey Beecham and Nevah Arthur Beecham. Glogirly never really had grandparents. Only her dad's mother was alive at the time she was adopted and she passed away before Glogirly was old enough to remember her much. She stood there watching Dorothy, reading the names of her grandparents. She walked over to the wall and ran her hand over the smooth letters of their names.
Dorothy and her parents, Glogirly's grandparents.
Richard H. and Nevah B. Beecham.
Everyone she'd met told Glogirly that she must have inherited her artistic and musical talent from her grandmother, Nevah. Nevah was a painter and an artist. She could play any musical instrument she laid her hands on, just by ear. None of her children really inherited that talent though. Glogirly's adoptive parents were not artistic either. They loved music, but couldn't play it. They encouraged Glogirly's art, but couldn't draw or paint themselves. Glogirly was different. She was born with a gift and loved everything from crayons to paint. She brought drawing paper and pastels on every family vacation. Art was her favorite subject in school. She later went to college for design and art. Even now, she uses her artistic talent everyday. When Glogirly took piano lessons, her teachers told her that she had a natural gift few people had. She connected with the music she played in a way that captivated the listener. It was a gift. And that gift had to have come from somewhere. Glogirly believes it came from Nevah.
They walked over to Dorothy's husband's grave. Glogirly thought about her search and finding the death records for Dorothy and Jeanette's husbands. They were just words on a computer screen then, but seeing Dorothy standing at her husband's grave was something quite different and much more powerful than words.
The last grave they visited was Alice's. What Glogirly saw, shook her to her core. She could hardly breathe. She couldn't speak. The only movement came from the tears that were streaming down her face.
The marker on Alice's grave was a sad, little metal frame. It measured about 5 inches by 7 inches. Rusted and bent from the elements, with grass reaching out from the inside corners, it held a torn piece of plastic over a sheet of paper. Typed on the stained paper: "Alice M. Beecham 1936-1996."
Glogirly's heart physically ached. The woman that had given birth to her, had sacrificed so much to give her a chance at a life with a loving family, had nothing more than a temporary grave marker. It was as if her life hadn't mattered.
Dorothy felt terrible. She explained that someone was to have arranged for an appropriate marker, said they did, but apparently never had. She didn't even know until then.
Glogirly took out her camera and photographed Alice's frame. It was all she had of her.
She and Dorothy walked to the car in silence and then left for the airport.
It was a few miles before either of them spoke. Glogirly had an idea. But she needed to contain her emotions so she could speak without falling apart. When she was ready she told Dorothy that she wanted to do something with her. Then it was as if they were inside each other's thoughts. Almost in unison, Dorothy and Glogirly said to each other that they wanted to get a proper marker for Alice's grave. Glogirly said it would mean a great deal to her to be able to do it with Dorothy. Dorothy couldn't agree more. She said Alice had loved roses and they should pick one that had roses on it. Alice was spiritual and devoted to her church. A cross would be nice too.
Glogirly added that her full name should appear on the marker. Alice Mae Beecham. Glogirly's adoptive mother's name was Eunice Mae. It was a small connection that she wanted to honor.
Then Dorothy added one more thing. She reached over and took Glogirly's hand. "It should read, Beloved Mother & Sister."
And so it did.
Beloved Mother and Sister
Glogirly's story is far from over. It continues to unfold even today.
Please come back soon for the Epilogue.