Though referred to fondly as The Farm, it was anything but.
At one time it had been a true farm and the home of my great grandfather’s extended family, then became my mother’s childhood home. Recalling the tales which occurred at this dear place have turned many family gatherings into the reminiscing of hilarious childhood tales, accompanied by exuberant laughter. The Farm wasn’t magical in itself, but it’s enchantment lingers, due to the childhood antics, the friends who shared it with us, and the warmth of family love we experienced there.
Located only a few miles from my hometown, it was our “summer get-away” — a step back in time — complete with an outhouse, a hand pump for water, kerosene lamps, a wood-burning cook stove, a pot-bellied wood heater and a real “ice” box. In later years we added the wonder of propane, and graduated to a gas stove and refrigerator.
The farmhouse itself consisted of three small houses connected into one. It’s outward appearance was quite dull with its rough, gray stucco covering and white trimmed windows. The rooms inside smelled exactly as they were … old. The walls held faded wallpaper which hung loosely near the ceiling, while worn linoleum covered the tired, creaking floors below — a different color in each room. The windows, with their peeling paint, were propped open by sticks from the thickly wooded grove of elm trees which encircled the house. Three entryways touted rectangular concrete porches and warmly welcomed us into this retreat. Two of the three stood level with the ground. However, on one end of the house the porch rose to almost six inches above the ground. This particular porch is etched in my memory due to…. well, that’s a story for another post.
Situated in the yard, beneath a canopy of elms, could be seen a few lawn chairs, a blanket, a telescope, a tent, a well-used fire pit, a badminton net and a croquet game set up and ready to go. Beside the lane, suspended between four trees, was a tree house built by my brother and me; and several feet away from it were multiple gigantic holes in the ground, covered by branches and leaves. These camouflage ” dug-outs” were built by my little brother Larry, and were, in his mind, “army foxholes”. Straight into the grove of trees, approximately forty yards away, were the ruins of the ancient barn, and parallel to it was the still-existing-with-no-purpose corn crib. These old haunts are the sets of many scenes etched permanently into my mind… a summer-land of make-believe where it seemed as if time stood still.
Our holidays to this rustic, run down farm, deeply knit my family together, breathed life into our souls, and afforded us adventures written indelibly on our hearts. There, before life dealt us turbulent waters, we were together…. happily together …. as family!
To be continued . . .