Several times this year I’ve promised friends that when I went back to Tull for the Christmas holidays, that I would take pictures. Most of them have trouble imagining a reality of a place like Tull, because few places like it still exist.
So, this year, I went home for Christmas and brought the camera.
This is where I grew up.
First, three slightly unrelated pictures: two of my mother’s Christmas trees (the red tree, the white tree), and a shot of me by my class sidewalk. (For an explanation, see ‘Last night I went to Manderley again.’)
Tull city limits sign, population 313. I don’t remember the sign being so weatheredwhen I was last there, but it shows up in the photo. Look to the left of the signand you will see my grandmother’s house.
Highway 190 is the main road. Drive a mile or so, just past the old fire station, and there’s a small, easily-missed street signon the right.
Welcome to M.I. Lane. Like virtually every road in Tull, it is a one-lane, pea-gravel-and-asphalt road. Follow it further and you will find my parents’ house. Directly afterward, barely visible in the picture, is my sister’s house. After that, it’s only a few hundred yards to the western end of the road, where it intersects with Cherry Street.
Follow Cherry Street into the forest, and you will come to the Saline River. The one-lane plank bridge (referenced in the entry ‘A Stretch Of Good Road’) that crosses the river never had a name. Still, there’s something beautifulabout it, even if it creaks when you walk across it.
Part of my reasoning for taking the camera was to go to the cemetery where my grandfather, uncle, and many memories are buried. Since my grandfather’s death in 1996, I have been searching for some way to make peace with my memories and my grief. Until this trip, it had been years since I’d had the courage to come to the cemetery. (For an entry about my grandfather, take a look at ‘Winner-take-all on the waffles.’)
Buried next to him is my mother’s youngest brother, Keith, whose death all those years ago is still, to some degree, painful and raw. (For an entry about him, and some degree of explanation, see ‘Memoriam.’)
Even further away than that, on the far western side of the cemetery, is the grave of my great-grandparents. Note the name: MI … MI Lane. Yes, for him; and I, after his wife, my great-grandmother, whose middle name was Amy.
At some point, I’ll relay my thoughts on this journey. But not now. Not yet. For now, allow the pictures to suffice.