For today's "Sentimental Sunday" post I would like to share a story about the business card pictured and the lady in the photograph above, Mildred Hamilton Ryberg. I recently found this business card, tucked carefully into my family Bible. It advertises "The Reading Nook", a Christian bookstore that once sat on a corner on Orchard Island at Russell's Point, Indian Lake, Ohio. It lists the proprietors names as "Mo" and "Dot". Dot is Dorothy Stiles, a lady I called "Grandma Dot" and "Mo" is her sister, Mildred. They were two wonderful ladies who had a profound influence on my life. Although she was not my real aunt, I called her "Aunt" Mo and she was one of my mom's dearest friends. When I was young, she and her husband and their children lived right across the street from us. My parents and "Aunt Mo" and her husband, "Uncle Les" spent a great deal of time together, back when neighbors knew each other well and shared cook-outs and evenings out on the town. Their children were the same age as my brothers and luckily for me, for awhile, they raised a foster son that became my buddy. It was quite a bonus when Aunt Mo's niece married my Uncle Don. We all became a part of a loving and large extended family. There was always something going on at their home and everyone was welcomed. A child couldn't ask for a better place to grow up than my neighborhood. We knew we could count on one another to be there if needed. My mother told me many times that if she told Mo something that she wanted to be kept just between them, she knew she could trust her completely and those conversations took place often over cups and cups of coffee!
But the years passed, and when I was about 10 years old, Aunt Mo and Uncle Les decided to move out of the neighborhood and at the same time, we also put our house up for sale to find a larger home. It was the end of an era. While we moved relatively close by, Aunt Mo moved about an hour away to live at Russell's Point, Ohio on Indian Lake. We did visit once in a while, but, of course, it was never the same as those days when we were neighbors. She and "Grandma" Dot decided to open a Christian book store in a small building attached to their home. I thought it was the "coolest" thing in the world to have a store in your house! I loved browsing through all the books and novelties they sold. I still have a couple of bookmarks in my family Bible, along with this copy of the business card to remind me of those days.
In January of 1977, we lost Aunt Mo suddenly, just a few days after she had stopped by our home to deliver some crystal candle holders I had purchased from a "home" party my mother and I had attended. It would be the last time I would see her. I still keep the candle holders in the cardboard box they came in because Aunt Mo had written my name on it. I just can't throw the box away. So, I guess that is being sentimental, isn't it?