Marcella Weber and John Kinsella Family History in Merna, Illinois By Diane Yeagle Marcella Weber and John Kinsella were married at St. Patrick's Church in Merna, Illinois on February 17, 1938. They resided at their home in Merna until their deaths in 1988 and 1989. The two story frame home is still occupied today and is located next to the Merna Tavern. My parents were required to buy both properties in order to obtain their lovely home. Owning a tavern was not my father's desire, but it was well managed by my dad he was able to obtain beer during the World War II when other establishments could not procure it. The tavern was sold a few years later. Dad farmed, owned/operated grain elevators and spent spare time reading and working on inventions. Mom was busy raising children, cooking, cleaning, attending St. Patrick's women's meetings, and playing bridge and 500 card games with the other ladies in the area. Mom did have some housework help when we were young just after World War ll. Father Ring, the pastor of St. Patrick, asked for volunteers to hire displaced person's from Europe until they were settled. Two women from Latvia helped mom for a while, but language was a problem. Mom told me I began speaking some German and she had trouble communicating what needed to be done. I remember a stormy night when my parents were shopping in Bloomington. Geneva, one of the women, clutched me tightly to her in her great fear. Mom and dad wondered later if she was reminded of the bombing of her city during the War. John Robert was born on January 12 1939, Carole Jean on June 11, 1942, Sheila Ann on December 18, 1943, Theresa Diane on November 22, 1946 and Kevin Gerard on November 15, 1956. My memories of growing up in Merna are so pleasant. There were acres of Dandelions to pick in the ditches, Tiger Lilies along the railroad tracks and violets in the spring behind Pete's grocery store. I'm not sure if my offerings were appreciated on the altar of St. Patrick's, but I found them beautiful and the perfect way to pass the time on those long, hot summer days. I remember being crushed in spirit when my mother had to inform me of the fact that Tiger Lilies and Dandelions were considered weeds. Cousins and friends were plentiful to play with and there was always a relative nearby if I needed help. I enjoyed my visits to Pete Kinsella's grocery store in Merna. He would save the ends of lunch meat for my most recent stray cat or dog. One day I showed Pete one of my favorite cats. He swooped it up off the grocery counter, threw it way up in the air and to my fear and astonishment it landed on it's feet. Pete stated that very fact to me with a laugh as if it were a science experiment. I continued to beg for his kind meat offerings but decided against showing him the recipients of his generosity.
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My brothers spent time in the fields helping dad. We girls helped mom with housework, making meals, washing dishes and we all accompanied mom to our piano lessons. Most memorable events were the ice cream social at the Merna Community Hall next door to us, midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, new Easter outfits, playing dress-up with my cousins, Thanksgiving dinners, talent shows at the Merna Hall, huge snow storms, summer evening drives to Bentown for ice cream cones, the first and last days of school at Towanda Grade School, lots of laughter in our home and last but not least a little swat on the bottom if needed. I have always felt so very fortunate to have been a part of that rural community and miss the simple life when clocks ran slower, one car was plenty, relaxing on the front porch was just part of the end of a day, and friends or family dropped in unexpectedly and there was always plenty of time to enjoy each other's company.
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Illinois State University, Milner Library, Normal, IL, 61790 - for the Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
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