Monday, April 23, 2012

A Place Called Home

It was a home to many. Over time, it became the home to hundreds. My great grandparents were there before it began.

The Brethren Retirement Community celebrates 100 years. I cannot think of the Home without thinking of the family and friends who resided and who reside there. Sweet visits to dear people. Friends of Neff Road gathered in one home together. They visit one another, dine together and pray under the same roof. A place to give honored seniors a place to go to rest after a life of labor. A place to heal in loving arms.

The Hollingers  Back Row: My grandmother Ethel, my dear Aunt Alma, Roy  Front Row: Esther (Alma Lea's mother), Jeremiah and Angelina, Ernest
I found my Great Grandmother Angelina Bookwalter Hollinger's obituary. She died in March 1950. Jeremiah, my great grandfather, passed in 1937. Angelina and Jeremiah were teachers. Her obituary reads:  Several years ago Mr. and Mrs. Hollinger served as superintendent and matron, respectively, of the Greenville Brethren church home. A place that would later become the Brethren Retirement Center.

I never knew my Great Grandmother. Vaguely, I remember sitting on her lap. I was only two when she died. From the stories I have heard from my father and my cousin, Alma Lea, I know that my great grandparents were very loving people. I can only imagine the love and care they gave to the elderly of Greenville while raising children of their own.

One hundred years ago, the Brethren Home began. My great grandparents were part of that long history of giving. I remember standing in the door of the County Home in Greenville when I was just a tot. Mom shoved me to the front of the caroling group, so I could sing for the older adults. I was frightened of all of the people staring at me. Little did I know that I gave them reason to smile and something to remember.

Happy Anniversary to the Brethren Retirement Center. Even more, congratulations to Greenville for sharing in the rich history of a caring community.

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