Cal Gatch Jr has kindly contributed the following thoughts as well as some observations about Aunt Delphine’s funeral that he wishes to share with the family…
I want to tell you again how much we enjoy the family website, especially since our trips to St. Louis are so infrequent. It is so much fun to watch the videos with Daisy and Abigail, they bring back so many memories of my own childhood visits to the farm. The attached picture shows Daisy, almost five and Abigail, going on three, with their pony Rocket. We look forward to them meeting their cousins, they are so anxious to share new ballet moves from the Nutcracker.
I am also attaching a picture from Granny’s funeral showing the beautiful pine casket and floral arrangement that had a sweet and earthy aroma. It seemed very appropriate for Granny who so loved her garden flowers and her Moone Athy wild flowers. Incidentally, the â€œarrangerâ€, Jane Winter was a dear friend of Uncle Polky; she and her husband have a house in Maine, and she prepared the flowers for his funeral also.
The “spray” included:
Asiatic cream-colored lilies
Arabicum, the long-stemmed white flowers with blackdots
Christmasbush, profuse tiny creamy flowers on a woody stem with green leaves
Flowering grevillea, brown long-stemmed plant with round brush-shaped ends covered with yellow to cream-colored flowers
Eucalypatus pods, blue-silvery colored
Silver dollar eucalyptus
Variegated pittisporum, the greenery
The casket, made of White Pine by the Trappist monks at New Melleray Abbey, is the simplest casket they offer from their selection of walnut, oak, cherry, and pine.
I have so many memories of New Melleray and the monks that our family was friends with. Dad was part of a group of investors that were all close friends of Brother Fabian, and together they bought ninety of the distinguished registered New Melleray Black Angus cows when the herd was dispersed in 1980. This was the beginning of many trips to New Melleray and friendships with the monks, in particular Brother Gus, an avid bird watcher, Father Pius who ran the gift shop and who would reward scripture trivia and riddles with caramels, and the Abbot, Father Brendan Freeman, a wonderful St. Louis native who grew up in St. Rocks parish. It was coincidental that Monsignor Stika from Annunziata, who celebrated the funeral mass, is a longtime friend of Father Brendan. Granny loved her visits to New Melleray and she derived great pleasure from my stories over the years of tending to our Monastery cows.
The last picture is of Elizabeth and Josie who made it possible for Granny to live in her house until her death. Granny was so determined to be close to her garden and the house that she had lived in and loved for so many years. Elizabeth and Josie were very tender and loving in their care of Granny. Elizabeth is a cousin of Josie and Josieâ€™s ties to the family go back to Old Granny and Uncle Polky. They are a blessing to us and we are most grateful to them for their loving care of Granny.
We wish everyone a Happy New Year.
Love Cal, Rebecca, Daisy and Abigail
Aunt Delphine’s simple yet elegantly crafted pine casket.
Close up of Aunt Delphine’s floral arrangement by Jane Winter.
Josie and Elizabeth who made it possible for Aunt Delphine to be at home in her final days.
Daisy, Abigail and Pony Rocket enjoying the Iowa winter.
Thanks Cal Jr for your time and research – the pictures and floral description will help those who were not there visualize what was a beautiful ceremony …