Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to. ~John Ed Pearce
This is the home where my father was born and raised. He was the last child delivered (1930) there by his mid-wife grandmother. According to my father, the house was built about 1845. This house sits at the base of a mountain and water flows by gravity from a spring there and is piped into the house. When I was a child, the grown ups congregated on the lower porch and the children hung out on the upper porch. We seemed to have a thing for high places.
This gigantic tree is a beech tree. It was much smaller when I was a child, and was the easiest for me to climb so it ended up being a place my cousin and I retreated to get a way from the older cousins. This was once a two hundred plus acre working farm. I mostly remember the chickens, but there were other animals. There was always a large garden to feed the family. the best part to me were the trees, not just for climbing but for eating the treats that grew on them. There were walnut, chestnut, mullberry, cherry, apple, peach, and pear trees.
This huge flat rock sits at the window of my grandparent’s bedroom and at the side of the chimney. We used to collect sandstone pebbles from the clay road to write and draw on the rock. We often played school there.
This is a mixture of sandstone on the road. The black sqaure pieces are jack rocks. We used to collect those. I don’t know what kind of stone they are or what causes them to form into squares. Still when I see them now, I am overwhelmed with warm childhood memories of jack rock hunting with cousins or my aunt who often visited from Florida.
This is a sideview that shows the open front porch and the root cellar. As a child, I was told that both contained rattlesnake dens. Rattle snakes were prevalent on the property. My grandmother stored her delicious succotash, beans, and other canned goods in the cellar. She also protected potatoes, sweet potatoes, and apples there during cold weather.
The house has been resided, but the age really shows in the chimney.
This is the “old kitchen”. They used to cook meals there so as not to heat up the house in the summer. Another kitchen was built onto the house to use during winter months.
I remember many a day of exploring the barn. We used to play in the hay loft and pretend we were driving the tractor. Across that dirt road used to sit the old apple tree I loved.
I love digging through Granddaddy’s old workshop. It overflowed with rusty treasures. If you look closely at the tree, you can see the walnuts. I spent many a year cracking those black walnuts between two pieces of soapstone.
My uncle now uses this house as a lodge for a hunting club. They now maintain the grounds and grow gardens on the property. This is the mantle in what was my grandparent’s bedroom, although that is not the same wood stove. A beautiful clock used to set upon it as well as a picture of my uncle who was killed in World War II. He died before I was born, and I was mesmerized by his picture and often wondered about him. His death profoundly affected the family…it was something a child sensed but didn’t quite understand the magnitude. My favorite thing about this room was my grandfather’s sitting chair that was placed between the window and a small desk. We cousins used to rummage through the desk drawer and read letters that my grandmother had tucked in the drawer.
This was my grandfather’s closet. It was off-limits. I loved watching him poke in there and pull whiskey, guns, and other forbidden objects out.
This staircase seemed so huge when I was a small girl. When we gathered for family dinners on Sunday afternoon, there were usually about forty or so of us. The men ate first at the kitchen table, followed by the women at the table, and we children carried our plate to the staircase and piled up and down the steps to eat.
Once, my cousin and I overheard Granddaddy complaining about all of Big Mama’s flowers and how he wished someone would just chop them all down. My cousin and I proceeded to pick every last one and pile them along the stairwell. He nearly died when we showed him. Big Mama was fit to be tied. He explained that it was his fault, but that still did not protect us from a switch from one of our aunts.
This is the place I spent almost every Sunday of my childhood. Those were the trees I climbed, the buildings I explored, and the fields I roamed. It has weathered through time and memory, but remains precious in my heart.