Sunday, September 2, 2012

November, 1946


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This photo is of the home that I remember as being where my maternal grandparents lived. It was just about a mile up the road from where I was raised. They moved there from a neighboring county in November of 1946. Luckily, they took a photo of their new home. My mother had just started her senior year in high school and had to transfer. I don’t think she was too thrilled about leaving her classmates.

The well-built American four-square looked out over the valley of a fair-sized creek. The cellar house by the dining room door had served a previous home on the site, and had probably been outside the kitchen door at that time. You can see two of the three windows of the window-seat in the dining room. The chicken house can be seen behind the cellar, up the hill a ways. Just behind the left fork of the walnut tree in the foreground, you can see one corner of the two-seater outhouse that I used as a child. Granddad eventually turned the pantry into an inside bathroom in his and grandma’s old age. The walnut tree is long gone, as is the one in the yard, but it has been replaced by a descendant. They had a coal grate in the dining room, but you’ll notice that they burned wood, too, from the pile at the front of the cellar.

The building in the foreground was a wooden-floored garage and workshop. Just behind it was a drive-through equipment shed with a corn crib along the left wall. The downstairs of the barn was the milking parlor, complete with a surge-milker. A tiny milk-house is out of sight behind the corn crib. The upstairs of the barn was for hay, of course. The open door at the right end of the barn was to the horse stall. “Bob and Kate” had been replaced by a Ferguson 30 by the time I came along. You can’t tell it, but the barn wall just behind the loose piece of tin on the corn crib roof was actually a large rolling door where the hay wagon could be driven in and unloaded with the big hay fork that rolled along a track in the roof-peak. The wooden fence at the right end of the barn was to the pig-pen, where granddad raised a couple pigs for slaughter every year.

The spring that supplied the home with water was high on the hillside out of sight to the left, but the pipe that brought it down the hill ended just across the little run that ran (unseen in the picture) to the left of the garage. A small foot-bridge (also unseen) crossed the stream between the garage and crib. The barn was supplied with running water by another spring just across the run and up the hill about 150 feet.

You can tell at the lower left that the road was dirt (supposedly gravel) at the time. I can just barely remember when it was paved, though Mom insists that I can’t. (I was two at the time.) Behind the pines above the house is an old cemetery with at least one Civil War veteran buried there. My grandparents reside there now, along with a lot of their neighbors.

There were a lot of good times there; I miss those days. © 2012
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17 comments:

kymber said...

Mr. Smythe - i love these kinds of posts and am always glad when you share them, but also a little sorrowful because i still wish for times like these. back in the city, i had a friend who was 62 when i was 38. she would talk about "back in the day" when they had a coal stove, etc., and i would reminisce with her. we had a coal stove furnace growing up, grew a lot of our own food - everyone did, and i had very similar memories to hers which she found odd because of our age difference. i always tried to explain that our island is about 40 years behind the rest of canada! as i have told you before we had no additional family - just my mom, dad and brothers and sisters. so when you share theses stories and pics - i feel a longing for those kinds of family memories. as you described each building, i had to stop and look at the picture blown up again.

alot of blathering to say that i really enjoy when you share memories and stories. your friend,
kymber

HermitJim said...

I love pictures of the old homesteads. I think it's great that you have these pictures to remind you of the time spent as a child!

Memories are what keep us warm in our "golden years!"

Gorges Smythe said...

I grew up mostly in a family of old folks, kymber. It seemed like I was always going to funerals. I did have some first cousins, but they were all either older or younger than me. Still, we all had some good times, young and old alike. I'm glad I have those memories. My granddaughter, though, has no aunts or uncles, and thus no cousins, plus no siblings. Furthermore, she grew up being deliberately kept away from my wife and I. I feel sorry for her, but at leaast she probably doesn't know what she missed. I'm glad my writing sometimes fills a hole in your life. Folks like you help fill a hole in mine, so maybe it's a fair trade. Bless you.

You're right, Jim; it's great that I have the pictures that I do. My wife and I seem to spend more time in our memories all the time. I'm not sure that's good, but we certainly see nothing of the relatives that we have left.

Bob Mc said...

Great photo Georges. Long ago I spent a winter with an aunt and uncle on a farm in Pennsylvania. My uncle was a rail road man, but they still kept the old farm where they milked a few cows and raised a garden. I remember the coal furnace in the cellar, the hand pump on the well outside, and the outhouse. Didn’t take long to take care of business out there during a Pennsylvania winter. :)

Gorges Smythe said...

We might not choose to live that way today, Bob; but those times made for some good memories.

Susie Swanson said...

You know I'm a sucker for these type of posts..This one is just great.. I appreciate you sharing your memories..I wish that I could post pics of my old homeplace but I'm afraid it fell to the ground with ruin after the new owners took it over many years ago.. But it still stands in my memory..Thanks Gorges.

Gorges Smythe said...

There are SO many things that I wish I'd thought to take pictures of, Susie. "Too soon old and too late smart," they say.

Janet, said...

Wonderful memories. A picture is worth a thousand words. Your grandparents did quite well for themselves back in the 40s.

Gorges Smythe said...

They bought the house and 60 acres for what we today would think of as pennies on the dollar, Janet. Of course in those days, many folks were trying to get AWAY from the farm, so rural land went cheap.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I would love to find a place like that, something that needed a little care, set it up for a few animals and have the outbuildings for Tom to tinker in. That's really our long range goal but with the economy, well . . . plans don't always work out. I keep hoping. Thanks- this is a lovely place. I'm glad I got to see it.

Gorges Smythe said...

I hope you find your dream place, Kathy.

Pumice said...

I wish my school spam filters didn't block all blogs. I would like to show this at school to give my urban kids a feel for what America used to be.

Good stuff.

Grace and peace.

21shergar said...

Great photograph, Gorges and great read. Just how I imagine West Virginia many moons ago.

Gorges Smythe said...

Pumice, maybe you can copy it and put it on a DVD.

Thanks, shergar.

Linda said...

Hi Gorges,

Great post and I love the photo! I miss those days as well. Thank you so much for your prayers during my absence and illness, I greatly appreciate it. God bless you.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thank you, Linda, and may the Lord bless you as well.

becky3086 said...

Oh, I know. I have seen my grandmother's house that I grew up in and I can barely recognize it now. If I ever won the lottery I would buy it back and change it back, so I think anyway, but I know I wouldn't. Oh I would try to buy it back but as far as change it back, well that would depend. Now the land that would be a different matter. I am sure I would use it differently than the current owners, lol.