Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Brush With Our House's History

Last winter, a Christmas card to our neighbors was accidently delivered to us. When I popped it into the neighbor's mailbox I noticed that the name on the return address matched the name of a previous owner of our farm. I copied down the return address and sent a holiday card to her, inviting her to visit someday and share stories of how the farm used to be.

On Sunday, Lois and her youngest son, John, came to visit. Lois and her husband Ray owned our farm from 1967 until 1998, raising 5 children here. When they moved here, the house had no running water, no insulation and was heated by coal. They renovated the entire house bottom to top over the next couple decades.

Lois told us many anecdotes and brought a book of old photos --it's pretty dramatic how the landscape and house have changed. The little seedlings they planted on the windswept hill have grown into large trees. With the mentorship of kind neighbors, Lois, a city girl, learned how to garden, raise chickens and preserve food. The kids sold strawberries from their huge berry patch. Lois planted the wonderful lilac hedge, the spectacular crabapple trees and most of the flowering shrubs on the property. John and his father planted many trees - once he rescued a burr oak seedling from the ditch when the road was being widened and planted it in the yard--it is now the handsome tree we call Burr Oak Obama.

What a sweet opportunity to meet Lois and John and hear first-hand how the farm grew. They have left their mark on this place and we recognize and appreciate the thought and love they put into it. I am sure it was rather bittersweet for them to relive so many memories and see how things have changed in the decade since they lived here, but I hope they feel pleased about how much we love it here.


Anonymous said...

How wonderful for you, and for the former owner. (Love your Burr-Oak Obama...so clever!)

basebell6 said...

what a unique opportunity to hear about the history of your house / property!! my house was built in 1910 (and only had 2 rooms then) and i wish i could talk to the people who lived here then. ditto to the people who owned our family farm (i would transport myself to 1890 in a heartbeat if that was possible; even if it meant being stuck there for the rest of my life just to see how the street / farm / community / everything was then).