One day last summer, I took a drive out west of Cedar Falls, west of Dike, to the small town of Stout, IA. Here I found the final resting place of the Andreessen family. It was a quiet, sad experience for me. After reading and thinking so much about this family, it was surreal to find myself standing where they lie. I had pondered their stories and asked questions of everyone I could think of, and now I was standing there in front of the names of people who, in a strange way, were beginning to feel like family to me.
Nanno, Christine, Elmer, Verna. Father, Mother, Daughter, Son. Lined up, resting together in a mass grave, or so the papers said. I finally saw for myself what I’d been reading about.
Not far away was the grave of Christine’s sister, Maggie Hessenius, who was also shot that day. She was just far enough away to be removed from the four Andreessens, yet seeing the same date on her tombstone as on the others gave me an eerie feeling.
As I continue writing their story, I know I need to go out there again.I feel it is my duty not to forget.