Home of Charles Benton and Louise Mitteer Ratcliff, abt. 1910
Hurleyville, Sullivan County, New York
Dearest place of all the earth,
Place of childhood’s carefree mirth,
Place of father’s noble face,
Place of mother’s loving grace,
Place of brothers, sisters, too;
Loved one always, ever true.
All through life my heart returns,
For the old days often yearns;
But they served their purpose then,
Nor do they return again.
Still their riches I enjoy;
Nothing can their good destroy.
Many years have passed away
Since my home abiding day;
But that home is still the place
Where I find a loving grace;
And my heart is always there:
There are folks who really care.
When that home has passed away,
Still the light of its glad day
Linger will within my heart
Forming of my life a part.
Dreams will come with magic wings,
Bring again those blessed things.
God who gives me my glad home
While on earth a while I roam
Has a better home by far
Where saved in Jesus are.
That’s the home does never fade,
That’s the home for which we’re made.
That’s the home of grandest love,
Home of Christlike saints above.
That’s the home where come no tears,
Never partings, never fears.
That’s the home of peace and joy,
That’s the home nought can destroy.
In that home we’ll be revealed,
We who here by Christ are sealed.
Glory like the Christ’s we’ll share,
And His image always bear.
On that home I’ve set my heart,
Chosen thus the better part.
As a foretaste of that home,
Long before to it we come,
Stands the church of Christ on earth,
Entered by a second birth:
Where we’re loved and learn to love,
With a love like that above.
Boys of ours need homes out there.
Let them know you always care.
Help our church to make them feel
Our concern for them is real.
Point them to the home above;
Tell them of eternal love.
Photo above: From the personal collection of B.J. Johanningmeier