Today, Sunday May 27th, is the day that the big Memorial Day Parade is held in my old hometown in New Jersey. I thought about my Great Uncle Earl a lot today. He was killed in action in the First World War in France.
Earl Mabey was born and raised in the small town of Lincoln Park, New Jersey. He worked with his father William and his brother Watson along the old Morris Canal. William Mabey owned an ice house that was located along the banks of the canal near the famous Incline Plane Ten East. They did well financially, selling blocks of ice to the canal boat captains as they awaited their turn for their canal boats to take the steep ride up Incline Plane Ten East.
Earl Mabey never left the small town of Lincoln Park until he was drafted and reported to the United States Army for training. He owned an Indian motorcycle. My grandfather told me that his brother loved to ride his motorcycle.
I grew up in the very bedroom, of the old Mabey homestead, that my Great Uncle Earl grew up in. Up until now, I have been reluctant to share this thought with people. I didn’t want people to think that I was over the edge. Now that I’m closing in on 60, I really don’t care what people think any more. Often times, in the midst of the night during my childhood and into my teen years, I felt the presence of my Great Uncle Earl in my bedroom. It was by no means a frightening experience, but rather a feeling of the presence of a beloved relative.
My grandfather never really healed from the loss of his brother. Even in Grandpa’s last year of his life, after Grandpa had a stroke and could hardly talk, I remember how he would utter out Earl’s name. Grandpa would lie in his bed, with his family around him. Grandpa would call out Earl’s name as if Earl was at the foot of his bed.
I so wish that I could have known my Great Uncle Earl. My grandfather often told me how his brother loved working on the old Morris Canal. I remember as a child how my three great aunts, Earl’s three sisters, would speak of Earl with heart felt fondness.
Sometime today at about three o’clock in the afternoon, the Lincoln Park American Legion Post called out Earl Mabey’s name along with the names of the other Lincoln Park residents who served in the military and were called home to Heaven. After the names were all called out, the traditional gun salute was presented. I am grateful to the Lincoln Park American Legion for doing that.
War is a terrible thing. It’s been nearly a hundred years ago that my Great Uncle Earl was killed in battle. Still, today, hearts continue to mourn for him.
May we know world peace in our lifetime,