A couple weeks ago, my family all got together at my parent’s place to do some house-cleaning. It wasn’t this nice new house we were cleaning though.
It was this one:
For those of you who don’t know, my parents built a brand new house after having lived in the old farmhouse for years and years. It is the house of our childhood and the house we all still dream we live in. It is hardly liveable now, and walking into it makes me wonder how we ever really lived there. We only had air conditioning on occasion (and that was provided by a window unit, so usually only covered one room). We did our school in the kitchen on warm days and in the living room by the wood stove on cold ones. We slept with window fans blowing right on us all night long, unless Daddy snuck upstairs while we were asleep to turn them off so we didn’t get too cold. We all have many good memories of this house, no matter how bad she may look now, so in honor of our childhood home, I wanted to share some pictures I got the day we cleaned out some more of the stuff still remaining inside.
Ghosts of pictures that used to hand on the walls. I think this must have something to do with the wood-stove that left some sort of coating wherever it could. One of the things we had to accomplish was to move this huge heavy cast iron stove to the shed. We did accomplish it believe it or not, but it took 4 people and a dolly that was pretty beat up afterward.
Ceiling tiles still lie stacked on the floor where they were picked up after falling from the ceiling the day they moved out. There was a huge water leak from the upstairs bathroom to the downstairs bathroom. It left quite a mess, and everyone was glad to move out before the house fell down around them.
The back (always cold) closet still contains rows and rows of canning jars, bringing to mind the steaming hot days in the kitchen spent canning the garden produce. This was one of the times we were treated to air conditioning in the kitchen, a sheet hanging over the opening to the living room to preserve the precious cold air.
A pattern lay out on the living room table, a reminder of all the sewing Mom has done in the past. This one, you may recognize, Elise wears the resulting dress to church often. It was a flower girl dress for me originally.
These stairs are the entrance to the all-girl part of the house. Granted, Ben had a bedroom up there at one time, but eventually the girls so outnumbered him that he got sentenced to the small nursery bedroom downstairs off of my Mom and Dad’s. Upstairs contained two very large bedrooms. For most of our growing up, Bekah and I shared one (along with Mom’s sewing corner), and Liza, Hannah, and Mandie shared the other one. A small and very scary bathroom connect the two bedrooms on one side, and a hallway full of books connect them on the other side, so they form one great big circle around the stairs.
As kids started to move out, some of my sisters actually got to have a room to themselves, and their decor was usually changed to suit their likes. This is a fairy from Hannah’s old room and the door to Mandie’s old room.
Will was a great helper. He and Aunt Lizzie worked hard filling up the Kubota. I don’t know if he worked as hard as he did because he had figured out that once he got the Kubota full they could drive it to the other house, or if he was just having fun.
We all have mixed feelings as we get closer to the day that the old house will be torn down. Though I don’t think any of us can imagine moving back in to live in it, it will seem odd to have an empty spot instead of the cozy farmhouse we called home. I know it isn’t a beautiful house, but somehow it always seemed beautiful to us because it was always full of the people we loved. And I guess that is why it was so easy to transition to coming home to a new house, one I’ve never even lived in, but is often full of the people I love.
Congratulations, Mom and Dad, on getting the house of your dreams. But thank you so much for spending all our growing up years building a home, vs a house.