I read the article regarding the statue of Mr. Recklein being placed at the entrance of the Cuba Library that he donated to the community. While it was spitting snow, with slippery roads, I headed up to take a peek at it, just to see if I would recognize the man I knew so many years ago.
While I didn’t particularly recognize him, it’s probably because the Mr. Recklein I remember was much older. We moved to a new home my parents built just east of his in 1953. We bought five to six acres that fronted Hwy. 19 and Mr. Recklein was our nearest neighbor, about one-quarter mile to the west, sitting on Hwy. 0, now the golf club/restaurant. Originally that was his home.
In my preteens, I used to visit him on occasion. He had more relics of American History in that house than some museums. He showed me many of them. He would take me up to the second floor, which I’m sure had at least 12-foot ceilings, and we would sit in his library room. A large room by anyone’s standards, it was particularly large to a 11 or 12 year old. Each wall was shelved with books—thousands of them—from floor to ceiling, and all were glass encased. To little me, it was an amazing place.
He liked to show me the gardens around the house. His was no ordinary garden. He had rock encased water footings filled with water, adjacent to each large, flowered area, so much so that I thought I could get down in the paths and swim without touching bottom. The gardens were amazing, and while I thought they must have been more so the works of Mrs. Recklein, I can remember his pride in it all.
On two occasions Mr. Recklein gave me a gift. The first time, he gave me a WWII helmet, and on another, he gave me a Wilkinson 1907 bayonet. I still have them. I still cherish them as gifts given by an old man who lived next door and always had time for a tour and a conversation.
The real point of all this memory lane trip is to thank the DeLeos—again—for doing something significant for the city of Cuba. I can remember Norman and Betty when I was just a kid, always Norman and Betty, always very special, and I just wanted to thank Betty and her family for their continuing efforts to recognize those in our town who have helped make it a whole lot more than just another spot in the road.
Pat and Judy Doyen