Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Tree, USA

Ah, the Lewis family. John and Mary Grace Lewis started their married life in this house, it having been built by Mary Grace's father, the Reverend Thomas Jefferson Keller, as a wedding gift when the couple married in 1889. This scene is very reminiscent of their view during their first Christmas together. John's grandfather, George, had brought his family to Christmas Tree, USA back in the 1850's, and they were one of the very first families to settle there. The Kellers came not long afterwards and various family members had danced around each other for a couple generations, with nothing coming of the passing fancies until John and Mary Grace clapped eyes on each other in the one room school house when they were both seven and were inseparable from then on. Mary Grace Keller Lewis knew her mind and she often spoke what was on it, regardless of the consequences. She was both loved and feared for that very reason, but a finer seamstress, cook, wife, mother and friend you couldn't find. When she died during the flu epidemic in 1917, at the tender age of 46, John was never the same again. And when he got word in early 1918 that his youngest son had been killed in Europe, at the even more tender age of 21, it nearly killed him. His surviving children - 2 sons and a daughter - buoyed him, with daughter Gracie devoting most of her adult life to caring for him, until he finally gave into the sorrow, and quietly passed in his sleep at the age of 66. Gracie married Andrew Winters the year after his death, which surprised and astounded the entire town, as at the age of 39, she was considered a spinster. A widower, Andrew was raising a son and daughter, and the year following their marriage, Gracie gave birth to her only biological child, Peter. The current mayor of Christmas Tree, USA, is   Gracie's daughter-in-law. She and Peter married in 1963 and added three children to existing brood of Gracie's grandchildren, bringing the grand total up to 11. Peter and Cecelia now live in this house that had been built for his grandparents. 

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