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On our way to Michigan for Thanksgiving a few years back, Janet and I stopped in my father’s birth and burial town of Elliot, Ill (pop. 327). I hadn’t been there in 50 years, but reports from two brothers who spread our mother’s ashes there 15 years ago were that the place was sadly overgrown and abandoned. What we found now, however, were thriving farms, young blood and old, rich earth, and Rusty’s Elliott Cafe where we stopped for breakfast. Inquiring, we learned where the cemetery was, and that there was only one  Fossel in town still living, left from the Norwegian hordes who settled there 150 years ago. This was Beatrice Fossel Hustead, who’d just lost her husband, was elderly, and “not doing well” at a nearby hospital. We weren’t able to see her, but we took some pictures of the town, got her address from Rusty (at Rusty’s Elliott Cafe), and last week emailed this to my four brothers, suggesting they pass it on to nieces, nephews, cousins or other relatives anywhere named Fossel, and that each one then send a Christmas card to a lady in Elliott who could probably use a little more family.

About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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