Two weeks ago my friend Mark and I were waiting patiently —as is our practice, just ask wives— for Jenn and Jeanine who were shopping at FarmKing. After 90 minutes —just kidding, it couldn’t have been more than 25 — I decided to check my email:
Hello John Bakker – Saw the post on Facebook about your portraits of Galesburg project. I am submitting a picture of my wife, Sally, and me that was taken as we boarded a ship in Seattle to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2013. We currently live in Jonesboro, AR, however, our roots are deeply planted in Knox County. We were both born at the former St. Mary’s Hospital, I on 4/17/41 and she on 10/19/41. We initially met at the Knoxville Grade School when I arrived as a transfer student from Bettendorf, Ia. and was seated in front of her in Mr. Long’s sixth grade class. The rest is history encompassing marriage, two children, corporate relocations through the mid-west and and return to Galesburg in 1995 to spend the next 15 years looking after parents, aunts, uncles and reconnecting with old friends and classmates. During those years Sally, a private piano teacher, taught scores of students who still enrich our lives with news of their lives. We left Galesburg in 2010 for the mid-south to be near family, BUT many of our memories and, hopefully, memories of us are still there. We will be returning sometime in the future to rest with the generations of Terrys, Kirkendalls, Morrises and Lantzs who have gone before us. Until then, Life is Good!
John and Sally Morris
I was so moved by the story of how the Morrises are tethered to Galesburg's past and future that I wanted to read it to my friends immediately. In the process of pulling up the email my finger must have touched some button and it vanished. "Devastated" is a little strong for how I felt about losing the picture and the story but it illustrates something essential about how people feel about this place.
I searched repeatedly in the junk, trash, drafts folders, everywhere I could think of. No luck. It was gone. I couldn't remember their name, only that they had seen something about the project on Facebook, retired to Arkansas and planned to return to Galesburg forever.
This morning I searched another place. For a split second I saw “John and Sally Morris” and then it disappeared again. But I had the name, a search function and eventually permission to share their story. Thanks, John and Sally