Beverly Ann Brown Ball: “Back Home Again in Indiana…” Along the Elkhart River

Sometimes memoir takes the form of poetry. Beverly Ann Brown Ball wrote this poem for her family using a technique called branching after a workshop on writing memoirs in the summer of 2011.

I was born in Elkhart Township,

in Elkhart County,

along the Elkhart River

(in north-cental Indiana),

when my father was Elkhart County

Agricultural Agent –

My mother used to tease me saying

that

She almost named me ‘Elkhart’!

‘Along the Elkhart River’ …

is where I was born;

It’s where, after dark & a long dusty day in the fields,

it’s where,

70 years or so ago,

I remember the excitement of being afloat & paddling –

my very first swimming.

Along the Elkhart River,

on Grandpa Brown’s adjoining farm barnyard,

on Sunday afternoons,

Amish courting couples parked their buggies,

went across the bridge to Bruces’

& rented  rowboats –

Brown cousins, too,

played catch in the Elkhart River,

then went running to Bruces

because

(accidentally?)

their ball was floating down the river!

In cold weather

these Brown cousins ice skated

beside the shore of the Elkhart River –

Years later,

(in the 90s’),

when we both worked in the

the Elkhart County Courthouse,

during lunch break,

Alice took me to her home,

‘Down by the Riverside’,

where we had played

& called to one another across the river

when we were girls growing up –

(as had  her mother

& Aunt Catherine,

Until Grandma stopped them,

saying it was “undignified”)

In the early 30s’,

during her cross-country auto trip,

My mother wrote in her diary that

the Elkhart River

was the loveliest spot that she had seen,

&,

When she died,

some 60 years later,

I was glad to stay

with Alice & her husband

so near the Elkhart River

‘Elkhart River’, ‘Elkhart River’,

Elkhart River in Elkhart Township,

Elkhart County, Indiana –

Elkhart River: Here runs some of my Fondest Memories of

Back Home Again in Indiana”

 

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