WILKES-BARRE — We all have childhood memories that we like to revisit every now and then — experiences about our growing up that we want to share with our families and friends.
For Walter (Brachulis) Brace, one of his favorite memories is his time at Plymouth’s Indian Rocks.
Walter called me and sent me an email detailing his recollection of the Indian Rocks. One line in his email got to me:
“So I now need help,” Walter, 72, wrote, telling why it’s so important for him to find out how to get back to those rocks. “I would like to see them again and show my son, he is 45 now.”
Walter needs to hear from people who know if the rocks are still there and how to get to them. I hope somebody out there can help him.
Walter said his grandmother, Verna Brachulis, lived in Plymouth, arriving there on a big ship from Lithuania, where her main job was to take care of the ducks. Walter said his grandmother and her sister left Lithuania together when they were very young.
Walter doesn’t know what year they left their homeland, but he knows his father was born in Plymouth in 1911. His father’s name was also Walter and he had three younger brothers — Joe, Norman, and Albert. They all lived on the northeast corner of Cambria and Cameron streets. Walter said the family home was still there a few years back.
Walter went on to say his grandmother’s husband, Charles, lost his life in the coal mines when Walter’s dad was very young.
“All I know about my grandfather was that he could play the violin and spoke several languages,” Walter said.
Walter’s emailed letter talked about the days when he was about 10 years old and how he had a friend who lived in what most Plymouth residents knew as “the Twin Houses,” which were located somewhere “up the mountain.” Walter said he was told those houses were once used as hospitals during the Civil War.
Walter remembers visiting his friend in one of the houses and having dinner. He said his friend’s mother was an excellent cook and he marveled at being in a house that was 100 years old back then. He said it was always very warm in there.
Walter said his friend’s father had one arm, but he always used to fix things.
“He did just fine with one arm,” Walter said. “He used to always tell us to stay out of the abandoned mine shafts. This was about 1955.”
Walter said he and his friends used to go on a hike, leaving from the Twin Houses, to what was called the Indian Rocks. He said his dad told him people used to walk up the mountain with jugs to get the spring water there. He remembered it was a long walk — 2 or 3 miles.
Walter has vivid memories of the place.
“When you got there, you would see a pipe hammered into a crack in the huge rock face — we called it the start of the Indian Rocks — sometimes water was coming out of it,” he said. “You climbed up along the rocks at this place and came to huge slabs or rocks in all different positions. You could even crawl into small openings or caves that didn’t go too far, just a few feet. I thought there were scrapings on the huge rocks, maybe done by Indians, hence the name “Indian Rocks.”
Like I said, vivid memories. Memories that Walter wants to share, in person, with his son.
Walter said the last time he was able to walk up and actually find the Indian Rocks was when he and a friend traveled to his grandma’s in his 1956 Buick convertible from Detroit. Walter was 16 years old and the trip was in 1961.
Walter said he and his friend explored the Indian Rocks again. He said he has tried to find the spot several times in the last 50 years, but no luck. His friend is now deceased. Walter said the strip mining done in the 1950s and 1960s seems to have changed the land from what he last saw when he was 16 years old.
Walter did some investigating. He was told if he followed the Wadhams water trough up the mountain to the end and reached a campground, the Indian Rocks would be nearby.
“I did this and never found them,” Walter said.
Then he said he talked to a man on Keating Street who told him he thought the rocks were way up above St. Vincent’s Cemetery. Again, no luck.
Walter is asking for help. If anybody can provide directions or show him the way, he would greatly appreciate it. Walter can be reached at 586-872-9590. His address is 229 Fairgrove, Royal Oak, MI 48067, and his email is [email protected]
Memories are special, especially when shared with those you love. I hope Walter can get back to the Indian Rocks soon.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle, or email at [email protected]