Rural Missouri - July 2017 - 12
LEAVING A LEGACY
by Paul Newton | email@example.com
them together and read them," she says. "Now I live that. Those are the notes
he used for teaching people.
he work can be long and daunting, but Marie Ryberg is up to the task.
Larry was a vegetarian and taught Marie about proper breathing techniques
The Army veteran sees beyond the wear and tear this property endured and yoga. She never understood the totality of what he taught her until recently.
when it sat vacant for years. Her friend and mentor spent 50 years
"He was such a good man," she says. "He was like a dad to me. I wish I
building up the tract of land that is a monument remembering the Trail would've used what he taught me earlier in life."
of Tears, and she intends to breathe life back into it.
The notes she's compiled include handwritten descriptions of items on the
With the help of volunteers, Marie is renovating the propproperty, news clippings of stories done on the monument, recipes for naterty which includes highly detailed statues and structures
ural-healing drinks and instructions on how to use the wishing well which
built by Larry Baggett along Route 66 just outside of Jerome
is located in front of the arch at the entrance. Larry's attention to detail
with plans of opening it to the public to be a place of learning
wasn't just for the beautiful statues and structures he built. A fourand healing.
ingredient recipe for "The Secret Longevity Elixir" includes instructions
When Larry passed away in 2003, he left behind a legacy and
not only on how to make the drink, but a whole page of notes on how
property that could take a lifetime to appreciate.
to drink it and what it works to cure.
"He was a very passionate man," says Marie, who met Larry
Marie's days are spent pulling weeds, moving and laying stones,
cleaning up the site that had fallen into disrepair and other jobs.
approximately 20 years ago while stationed at nearby Fort Leon"It's a lot of work, but I like work. The Army taught me that. It
ard Wood. "He read about all the stuff the Native Americans went
through on the Trail of Tears and wanted to make something to
takes a lot of physical energy and strength," she says. "But, it's
remember them by."
rejuvenation for me. Every time I'm here I become more energized
Despite having just a seventh-grade education, Larry was well read. He and more impassioned."
studied natural healing, Native American history and culture, moon phases
Christopher Richardson lives on the other side of Interstate 44 from the
and astrology. He also was a gifted builder and landscaper as any visitor to the monument and helps Marie at the site. "Marie's a good spirit to be around," the
40-acre property can gather.
volunteer says. "Walking around here and seeing the art and creativity Larry
"Larry was so dedicated to this place," Marie says. "He built all of this him- had is amazing. Something about this place drew me over here. I want to make
self, with his own hands. It took him
sure it's done right, that's why I help. I
more than 50 years. He was persisthink that's what Larry would've wanted."
tent; every stone is precise."
Marie and Chris aren't the only who
The ﬁrst thing visitors to the monuhave been drawn to Larry's lifes work.
ment encounter is the towering stone
"People traveling Route 66 have stopped
arch that passes over the entrance off
by just to say hi, or to check out what's
of Route 66. "It's so detailed and masgoing on with the property," Marie says.
sive. I don't know how he built this
"People that knew him will stop by and
himself, with his own hands," says
tell me stories about him or the monuMarie, adding that it sets the tone for
ment, that's what I like. He had visitors
the rest of the property. "It's the start
all the time. He attracted good people."
of the monument and I think it starts
Marie plans to integrate nature and
you on the pathway to your own deswildlife into the monument. She specialtiny. It's a smooth ﬂow."
izes in plants and herbs and will have
Nestled atop a hill is Larry's home.
both planted along the walking paths and
The front of the house features a
throughout the site so visitors can see
large, handmade hot tub room. Marie
them grown in their natural habitat.
says this may be one of the most
"That's my speciality. I've been studyimportant parts of the property. "It's
ing herbs for 30 years from people around
meant for puriﬁcation," she says. "It
the country," she says. "I want to get peohas all the natural stones from caves.
ple back to nature. This is my passion.
The stones meant something to Larry,
I want to leave a legacy behind to help
like a connection to Mother Earth."
people who come here and can discover
Other statues on site include an
their own path."
immense stone sundial that also features the phases of the moon and a
For more information, call 704-941-4862
Native American weather indicator.
or like the Trail of Tears Memorial and Herb
Marie was introduced to Larry
Garden on Facebook.
more than 20 years ago by a mutual
friend. The two became fast friends
and Larry began to teach Marie
Above: Larry Baggett is pictured outside of his
"more or less everything." She purTrail of Tears memorial in this 1993 Rural Missouri
chased the land after Larry's death
photo. Below: Marie Ryberg cleans up a stream
and this is her ﬁrst full year restoring
that runs through the memorial she is restoring.
She hopes to have the site in Jerome open to the
"I've kept all of his notes and put
public in spring 2018.
RURAL MISSOURI | JULY 2017