Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If These Old Walls Could Talk: Part 2

This picture is the first one to give me the idea for If These Old Walls Could Talk. It's the farm house where my mother-in-law grew up. After his parents divorced, my late husband spent many happy hours here with his grandfather as a surrogate parent and teacher. His grandparents were still living here when we met and his grandmother permanently moved to town after grandpa's death in 1982. Aunt Dinah and her husband lived here for some time after that until economics forced them to the cities to make a living.

This probably never was a fancy house. I remember it as a house of enameled tin cupboards, linoleum, wallpaper and contact paper. A bedroom was made into a bath when plumbing was brought indoors. A couple of lean-to porches had been added on.

The water was collected in a cistern from the windmill.

The fins of the old blue impala stuck out of the doors of this garage.

This old hump roof barn was just leaning a little, the first time I saw it. Now, it has collapsed to less than half its former height.

I also remember there always being room for company at the table. My husband talked of fried bologna for breakfast and milk stored in the freezer because they were so far from town. He talked of grandma letting him and his cousin roll cigarettes in this old wash house from newspaper and coffee grounds to "get it out of their systems". I think he got the scar on his lip from the same cousin in a tussle over a toy truck.

I remember picking cherries and the auction held there to sell the farm equipment. I remember these old folk out in the road ditch digging sandburrs and stickers when he took me to meet them for the first time and the old upright piano on the porch that we brought home for our daugher to learn on.

I only have a few years of memories from this house before things changed. I know there are many others who have more and every one of them felt like a V.I.P. when they were at the farm.

That's the kind of grandparent that I want to be remembered as.


Aunt Dinah said...

Now you've REALLY made me homesick, Mary. Haven't been to the farm in several years which is unusual for me as I used to get there at least once a year. Looks like things are continuing to go downhill at a steady pace. Hope to get to KS and the farm this fall. Thanks for sharing such sweet memories of my mom and dad. And thanks for the great photos of the farm.

Nancy said...

This is a wonderful post and a tribute to the hard-working people who made this place a home.

I avoid going back to my childhood home (even driving down the dirt road) because I don't want to see the neglect and the decay. It would break my heart to see how my parents' struggle to survive means nothing to the new owners.

Lois O'Brien said...

Wow--what a great post! It makes me think of both sets of my grandparents. I was so fortunate to have all of them living in the same town as I did when I was growing up. Maybe I'll have to do a similar post....


Anonymous said...

Mary, What sweet memories and what a talent you have of weaving a story and making your memories come alive to us, the reader. I can just picture the kitchen and hear the sounds of a meal being prepared and I well remember when no matter how little we had, one more was always welcome at the table.

Pauline said...

Mary, I stopped by to see your My Town Shoot Out (which I loved, by the way) but have been totally captivated by this post. Wonderful that you can pull my nostalgic strings from so far away!

Mountain Woman said...

Thanks for sharing the memories. It just seems so far off when people worked hard and lived in more modest homes but always had room at the table for friends.

Tipper said...

Makes me weepy to think of all the memories the old place holds-even though they're not mine-they are still most precious.

Vonita said...

Nice post, Mary, although, like Dinah, it makes me homesick for the way it was. Grandpa and Grandma worked so hard to keep the place neat as a pin. Flowers, bushes, cut grass, a garden and almost always, children playing in the yard.
Times change, but memories last forever.