Catalpa / Memories of Childhood LbNA # 43558
|Placed Date||Sep 22 2008|
|Last Update||Mar 29 2015|
A bit of history on this box: It was taken from its original spot by a groundhog who took it into his hole and chucked it out a couple of months later. I spotted the remains of the chewed up pouch near the den opening when I walked past one afternoon and upon further investigation found the partially chewed stamp and a small scrap of the back cover of the logbook nearby. I had retired the box, but satisfied that it had not been muggled, I put together a new box and replaced it in a new spot where the little beast will be less likely to disturb it.
I have altered the end of the clue a bit and have encrypted it using a simple Caesar code. It's waiting for you! L = F.
When I was a child my parents owned three acres of land across the street from the city cemetery. Attached to the house was commercial greenhouse. It was a great place to grow up. There were flowers all year-round, a wooded half acre or so in back, a large garden, a shaded yard and a couple of small fields. Of course there were a lot of trees of many species, but the ones I remember most fondly include a huge oak at the southeast corner of the house, a very large elm that shaded a picnic area on a hill to the south, and a not quite as large catalpa tree to the northeast end of the side yard, a bountiful walnut tree next to the street on to the east of the greenhouse, and a row of native plums along the east boundary produced the best plums I have ever eaten. Of all these, the catalpa got most of my attention. It was the giant beanstalk that came from Jack’s beans. For a while, one of its limbs held my swing - a black and white wooden horse. The bloom clusters were perfect for bridal bouquets when I played dress-up in one of my mother’s old slips and a lace curtain. The big leaves didn’t really make very good fans, but they could be fashioned into a lot of other things. I had no use for the catalpa worms, but when we did have some my father’s fishing buddies were glad to get rid of them for us. Alas, all is gone now. The elm succumbed to disease when I was in my teens. The city bought the property in the 70's for further expansion of the cemetery and cut down all the remaining trees and the oak was replaced by a row of evergreens. The cemetery maintenance building stands approximately where the house was located.
The cemetery was an extension of my yard as I was growing up. It sparked the imagination. I played there alone and with some of the other kids from up the street. It was a wonderful place for hide-and-seek. The big hill going downhill to the east just inside the entrance gate (the gate is no longer there) was ideal for sledding in the winter. The landscape itself could be anything we wanted it to be - a ruined city, western mesa land, an alien planet, etc. Likewise, we could be explorers, pirates, cowboys, anything. It was also fun just reading the stones and seeing all the different designs. It was also a fine place to just find a quiet place to sit and be alone.
This box, then, has been placed with the clues providing a sort of personalized tour of a few of my old favorite spots as you search for the hidden treasure.
NOTE: The city in its infinite wisdom (?) has put up gates or barriers at every entrance. The gates are closed at sunset. If you are coming to Moberly from the north or the south on Hwy. 63, take the EE exit. Turn west onto Rollins street. Continue past the church on the right, past the outer road and turn north onto the road that is directly across from Cater Funeral Home. If you are coming from the east or west on Hwy. 24, turn south onto the West outer road, west onto Rollins continue as above.
Turn left at the first road going downhill, then right onto the road heading north. Ahead on your right will be a stone building with steps going up to it. Note the name of this building. When I was a kid, there were juniper bushes all around this place and on either side of the steps. Sometimes there were pots of flowers. Every Memorial Day the doors would be open and the carillon inside could be heard all over the cemetery. It’s been silent for a few decades though.
From this point, you may choose to either walk or drive. I would suggest walking, because you may find some interesting things that you wouldn’t notice in the car. It’s paved most of the way - not much in the way of pests or noxious weeds. The terrain isn’t rugged, although there are some moderate hills and you might want to wear a hat and sunblock since much of it is in the open. If you do walk, the “tour” will be approximately 1.4 miles round trip. Of course, if you wander around a bit on your own, it’ll be longer. Whichever your means of travel, cross the drainage ditch on the left and go west until you reach the statue of the Confederate soldier. Go uphill to the south to find cluster of mausoleums. Some of these have stained glass windows, which were always a delight to me, no matter how many times I saw them. The Jennings mausoleum on the southeast corner of the main grouping used to be faced with white stone blocks like the one across from it. It had a crenelated top which made it ideal to be a castle for our adventures. I don’t know exactly when it was redone in marble. From the main group, go one road over to the west and check out the one there and the one to the north of it.
From there look west to spot the stone “rainbow” next to the road that runs along the west edge of the cemetery. This area was created by Andrew “Andy” Williams (not the one who recorded “Moon River”) in memory of his mother. At one time there were goldfish in the little pool, but that was before my time. I don’t think they lasted too long. Flowers took the place of the fish and Andy maintained it as long as he could. There were shrubs and trees around it. It was a perfect little garden for a fairy princess or whatever. I think it was favorite spot here at the time. (The arch seemed a lot taller than it does now.) After several years of neglect it was partially restored as an Eagle Scout project. Now, after years of abandonment, it’s become a bit broken and sad and the rainbow now needs crutches. Try to picture it’s glory years.
Now head back north on the road that runs alongside the maintenance building and enter the cemetery again on the road that goes north. Pass the downhill road to the east (of sledding fame) and look to your left for a sundial. Check you watch if you like. Remember, this timepiece operates on standard time. Next to the sundial is a grassy road. Go west on it to the next road and turn north again. Look to the left for the statue of the Union soldier. After a visit there, look east to see Abraham Lincoln waiting for you. There used to be tall trees around the perimeter of this little park, and a few benches, and flowers planted near the base of the statue. It seems a bit stark now, but Lincoln looks just the same as always. Being able to climb up by ourselves and sit at his feet was a sort of rite of passage for us as kids.
(While you’re in the area, you might want to take a look at the white lady to the southwest of Lincoln. She was one of my favorite statues, but we enjoyed all of them.)
Go around Abe on either side of the circle, go east and turn north on the first road behind him. Near the end of the block, look to the west to find a headstone that bears the same personal name as that on the stone structure where you began the tour. Go west again and look to the south next to the road for a large tree of the Bignonia family.
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Please make sure that nothing is sticking out when you re-hide. Both stealth and proper rehidation are especially important for this box. Thanks you for your consideration. I welcome your comments. Please let me know if the box is missing or in need of maintenance.
I hope you enjoy the tour. I would love to hear from you and welcome your comments. Thanks.