October 1, 2016
would have been Okie’s 100th Birthday
Amazingly, we do continue to hear
“whispers from the families of a long ago year”
And, equally inspiring…
hearing “whispers” of those, including Okie, from more recent years…
Today, October 1, 2016, Dick, Anne, Kathy and Peter will walk softly, perhaps along the Mountain Road…or perhaps walking, ever so softly, up near the farm, in search of Okie and Kay’s favorite hillside spring… a little spring Okie and Kay called “the fountain of youth” …a little spring they drank from each year…. we’ll be walking softly and listening carefully for the whispers from long ago and more recent years… Happy Birthday!
8This poem refers to very olden times in New England, going back to the 1700’s.
This poem continues to remind us of our inspiring ancestors…ESPECIALLY Okie!…. our ancestor of more recent years….
Okie, Kay and Esther grew up near the Sanbornton area. The Carleton family had lived in this area for many generations. (I think the family came to American soon after the Pilgrims arrived.) They first lived in Massachusetts, but soon moved to this area of New Hampshire and have lived there since then.
Okie mentions the cellar of the Emerson’s home, her husband’s great grandfather having lived in that house from 1820-1850, when he moved to the house that Okie and her husband lived in until several years ago….so this road was traveled by many generations of the that family…7 generations at this point. Okie has 4 children, many grandchildren, and many great grandchildren, too.
The beech tree with many long ago names carved into it….Okie’s and Kay’s initials are there, too.
Okie, Kay and other friends and family spent many hours hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing up The Old Mountain Road…it’s a beautiful spot.
April 21, 2012 I (Kathy) just found a photo essay about Dearborn Pond.…with photos of that area…at the end of the photo area, the author wrote….
“My neighbor, Okie Howe, first brought me here. We hiked in summer and cross-country skied in winter. She was in her late 80s when I was last here with her. She lay down on the ground near the cabin that spring saying she loved the smell of the earth. “
A Story of the Old Mountain Road,
Sanbornton, New Hampshire
by Okie Howe
The Sanbornton Range on the west side of town
Follows the river from New Hampton on down
The Mountain Road runs on the easterly side
Walled in all the way, and wonderfully wide.
From Calley Pond north to the Old Bristol Road view
The road slabs the ridges all the way through
Each peak is named for someone of Sanbornton fame
Town fathers or loggers or first settlers who came
There’s Shatagee, the High Ledges (an old deed has that name)
Then Round Top-Sanbornton Mountain- it’s all the same.
Atkinson, then Hale, then Hersy the highest of all.
You can always tell Hersey by the spruces to tall
Burleigh by itself is east of the rest
And Knox are the peaks way off to the west.
The Mountain Road is almost two hundred years old
T’was a main thoroughfare, we have been told.
It was built for the stage coach travel in way long ago
The Stone walls and stone bridges prove it was so.
There’s a little walled graveyard at the foot of the hill
the unmarked stones are barely visible still.
I’m sure they were children and husbands and wives
Decent and hardworking all their short lives.
Farther up the road there’s a rugged old beach
Carved with initials as high as you read.
Old timers and youngsters and people you know
Signed their names on the tree as a sort of “Hello,”
There’s a giant old maple and an oak tree or two
That surely were there when the wagons drove through.
Higher up on the left the Dearborn house stood
The foundation is there and the walls are still good.
Right by the stone steps the lilies still grow
That somebody planted a long time ago.
Our great-grandfather lived at the top of the hill
We call it the Emerson cellar hole still.
There’s a great old birch tree just inside the wall
So old it’s hardly living at all.
The woods have crept in till that’s all you can see.
It’s hard to imagine where the farm land could be.
But I’m sure there were pastures and fields all around
And crops to be raised on the good rocky ground.
The old timers tell us stories their grandfather told
Of hard work and hard times and winters so cold
They said that on Sunday ten teams would come down
To the Baptist Church in the little mill town.
When the young men came home from the long Civil War
The looked at the life differently than they had before
They had seen there was surely an easier life
Away from the rocks and the cold and the strife.
The years went on by and the farmers moved down
Some to the cities or just into the towns
The road was abandoned for travel and trade
And the fields turned to forests but the cellar holes stayed.
The only people you’ll meet on the old road these days
Are hunters or hikers with backwoodsmen ways.
But it if you walk softly perhaps you will hear
Whispers from the families of a long ago year.
Sisters…Okie and Kay
Photo above taken on Kay’s 95 th birthday: 11/18/2013
sisters…a lifetime together
Okie Howe: 10/1/1916 – 9/07/2015
Kay Boyle: 11/18/1918 – 11/20/2015
Link to: Kay and Okie
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There was a wonderful, fun, heartwarming Celebration of Okie’s Life held on October 24 and October 25, 2015.
Amazingly enough, Okie lived to just less than one month short of her 99th birthday!
Okie’s friends and family arrived from all over the local New Hampshire area, as well as Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Click below to continue to read this post and to see a variety of wonderful photos from the family weekend gatherings and celebration of Okie’s life.~
~Okie set such a positive example for all of us to…
Live Your Own Life!
A newly created “post,” accessible up in the upper headline area…
“Inspired by Okie…Honoring Okie…Living Okie’s Example…”
Please join in … with friends and family
Enjoying….reflecting and remembering
Contributing… your own ideas and inspirations
about your memories and interactions with Okie
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“Life has been good and I don’t fear the night
It’s part of God’s plan and I know it’s all right.”
Okie passed away peacefully, early this morning, September 7, 2015. She was 98 years old.
Okie had talked with much of her entire family yesterday, via speaker phone, as they celebrated the wedding of one of her beloved grandchildren, Kevin, in Maryland.
Okie was still alert, still writing more poems for her writing group and still social and engaged with life…just the way she would like things to be.
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