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LETTERS: Fond memories of Peabody

To the editor:

I would like this letter to serve as an addendum to the obituary of Betty Arlene (Whisler) Kirchhofer who died March 3 in Kansas City. I need the community of Peabody to know how much my mom loved spending time there. I think it put her at ease to be home among the wheat fields where she grew up.

As a child, I visited Peabody often and have dim but fond memories of my grandma Nora Whisler’s house on north Vine Street and even more vivid memories of many days spent at my aunt and uncle’s house, Quintis and Dorothy Whisler, with my favorite cousin, Judy Mellott, when they lived on Walnut Street. When my dad, Jack Kirchhofer, was still alive, I would go pheasant and quail hunting with him and my uncle, walking the milo fields more to be with my dad than to shoot birds.

When I was older and needed to escape the stresses of big city life, I’d run to Peabody for the weekend to stay with Judy and Alan. The prairie always had the same impact on me as the ocean has on some other people; it slowed my heart rate and lowered my blood pressure. Peabody was my sanctuary. And now it is the final sanctuary and resting place for my mom and dad, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

But I have yet to reach the real addendum to my mother’s obituary. Something was omitted by our family that should not have been. My mother spent the last 13 years of her life with Peabody farmer Marvin Larsen. They were constant and good companions and his company made her life joyful. They traveled together to Arizona, Utah, and Texas and to my surprise, even Mexico. Marvin was extremely important to my mom. Some of the last conversations I had with her were about Marvin and how she wanted him with her every minute he could be. But things fell apart, as things do when we begin losing someone we love, and Marvin was not with her during the last weeks of her life.

Much as I know that pained them both, I hope it helps him hold the memories of the happier, healthier Arlene that he knew and loved. I am grateful for the happiness that Marvin brought to my mother and I know he is suffering from the loss of her company more than anyone. Thank you for helping me correct this oversight.

Janet Buckingham
Kodiak, Alaska

Last modified May 18, 2011

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