The true story of my family during the dawn of the twentieth century, was a regular feature of the old Lincoln Park Journal.
Reflections of “Two Brothers”
By Richard Mabey Jr.
The true story of “Two Brothers” was a regular feature of the old Lincoln Park Journal. It was the story of my family, taking place at the dawn of the twentieth century. It was a continuing story, with each installment acting as a chapter in a book. It was a project that was near and dear to my heart. The saga of “Two Brothers” received a great deal of positive feedback.
Each installment of “Two Brothers” was based upon the stories that my Grandpa, Watson Mabey, had told me through the years.
It is an interesting thing that my bedroom, in the old Mabey Homestead, was the very same bedroom that brothers Watson and Earl shared in growing up. When I was 12 years old and fighting my year-long battle with rheumatic fever, Grandpa would come up to my room to visit me. He would share with me the stories of growing up in the old Mabey Homestead. Grandpa also shared with me the stories of working along the old Morris Canal with his father and brother.
My Grandma and Grandpa aboard their Indian motorcycle in their younger days.
Even from the age of 12, the story of how Great Uncle Earl left Lincoln Park to fight in World War I, intrigued me. I often thought that had Great Uncle Earl survived the war, he probably would have been alive when I was born. In many ways, I often felt robbed of the opportunity to have known him.
A photo of my Great Uncle Earl standing beside his Indian motorcycle. The building in the background was an ice cream parlor that my Great Grandmother, Dora Mabey, managed.
At first, I was not going to print the “Two Brothers” in the pages of the Lincoln Park Journal. I was very concerned that it may not be appreciated by my readers. But to my pleasant surprise, I did get a lot of positive feedback from the LPJ readers. I think that positive feedback played a big role in my decision to produce the play, “Beyond the North Star.” I had written the play based upon the “Two Brothers” story.
I wrote “Two Brothers” at my desk in my room. My faithful cat, Little One, would be at my side most of the time.
One of the best things that I had done, when I was ill with rheumatic fever, was to write down the stories that Grandpa told me. Grandpa would visit with me for about an hour or so, about twice a week. Right after he left, I would begin to write down his stories in my notebook. I would write the stories down with such a fury. I was always afraid that if I didn’t write them down right away, that I would forget them and then they would be lost forever.
A fantastic photo of my Great Uncle Earl in his army uniform, ready to fight for democracy.
At 62, soon to be 63, I reflect on my career as a writer. Besides writing “Two Brothers” and the play, “Beyond the North Star,” I have written several articles about Great Uncle Earl for several newspapers over the years. In earnest, I look back and hope that I played solemn tribute to this great man. Like so many other men and women, Great Uncle Earl died to defend our freedom and democratic way of life.
A most rare and precious photo of Great Uncle Earl’s gravesite in France.
There are times when I struggle through some rough waters in life. From the heartbreak of a serious romance to going through the loss of a very good job. Through it all, I have often taken a good look in the mirror and tried my very best to find, within me, the courage and strength that abided in the heart of my beloved Great Uncle Earl.