Sometimes a delightful email just pops into my inbox. When that happens I am reminded that what I write here is really out there in the world. I mostly write for my own pleasure, for the chance to process what is going on in my life, but when someone reaches out to me in response to something I wrote…it's a whole nother pleasure. Connections like that are incredibly affirming, and I am so grateful for them.
A few weeks ago I wrote about coming across the most delightful post office I could have imagined, in Kinderhook, Illinois, and the wonderful wall of objects that Dr. Dechow had created. Yesterday, I received the following email:
I am in the process of cleaning out a filing cabinet and purging old records. I came across some of my note from Kinderhook, so I googled Dr. Dechow's name. I was go happy to read your recent blog about Dr. Dechow's house in Kinderhook.
We lived in Quincy, but I practically grew up in Kinderhook, as my Grandma lived right across the street from Dr. Dechow, and we spent a lot of time with Grandma Nellie Kinney. I spent many an afternoon with Grandma looking at all the trinkets in his wall. It's too bad that vandals have destroyed so much of it. Grandma was well known in Kinderhook too. She worked in Peck Mays grocery store and we used to go up there with her and could fill up a whole bag with penny candy for a quarter! She was also the Village Clerk in Kinderhook and was responsible for selling fishing licenses, reading the water meters and I remember going to the town pump house to put "chemicals" in the water – maybe chlorine??? I remember it smelled like bleach! Grandma used to have a little black bag with all of the town's papers in it that she would put out on the table, right by the door if there was a chance of a storm so she could grab it quickly if need be. We used to spend time with Grandma walking all over Kinderhook to read water meters.
I was born in Quincy, but in about 1956, we moved to Kinderhook for a year and lived in Dr. Dechow's house. My dad worked in Hull, Illinois for a masonry contractor, but then we built a house and moved to Quincy. I loved my Grandma and living right across the street was the BEST! I have inherited several pieces of furniture from Dr. Dechow's house, and they are treasures.
I always loved Kinderhook and have such fond memories. Thank you so much for your article and taking me down memory lane.
Kathy Kinney Koehler
and then later:
One other thing I thought of…..when we lived there, Dr. Dechow used to have a large cement fish pond, that was also made out of the same stone/rock that the wall was made of. It was probably 3 feet deep and located between the house and what is now the post office. When we moved in there, dad filled it with water and we had our own swimming pool. After a leak was discovered, and with dad being a brick mason, he had access to lots of sand. He turned it into a giant sand box! We were the envy of the neighbor kids! There were two old chicken houses also on the property. My mom scrubbed and scrubbed one of them and we turned it into a playhouse. Such wonderful memories. As I mentioned, I forwarded your blog to my sisters and brother. One of my sisters has already emailed me back and thanked me for the news. So, you have really made our day! Thanks again. Have a wonderful week.
She made my day…I was so tickled to have this story to round out my photos. You can feel the memories in the air when you drive around looking at these little towns, but they aren't my memories, so to have this one shared with me just gave me such pleasure. Thank you so much Kathy!
Here's a picture from Google Maps, showing the wall, the post office, and the house.