Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Old Home Place and the Fields

After church one Sunday, I asked my husband to drive past the old home place and the fields where I grew up. Many big houses had been built in what used to be grown-over, wooded land, and houses that at one time were grand, in comparison to ours, now looked run down, and some even boarded up in front.

As the old home place and the fields, so changed now, came into view, I seemed to be grasping for something that couldn't be attained. I wanted to walk in the field where cucumbers and watermelons grew. I wanted to stand in the little pine thicket, once set on fire by lightning. I wanted to sit beneath a cedar at the edge of the strawberry patch and smell the sweetness of the ripe, red berries. I wanted to scrape soapstone from the banks of the ditch by the old garden, and put my foot in the branch where my paper dolls swam and crawdads grabbed eagerly for a piece of fat meat dangling from a string. I wanted to scour the hillside looking for the rocks that made our playhouses, and maybe find a glass mason jar lid from which our dolls had been fed. I wanted to taste the golden molasses, cooked at the old sorghum mill, and roll down the pile of pummies, swarming with yellow jackets and wasps. And most of all, I wanted to be where the old house had been, to see if something of it might still be there.
We drove across the top of Turkey Mountain, and I wondered if the trail we walked every day, to catch the school bus, was still there. I wondered if the sawdust pile and the slabs, on the side of the hill, had rotted away; I wanted to build another "cabin" with the slabs.

At the bottom of the hill, where the fence ran northward, we left the home place behind and came back to the present. I have a different life now; we've made memories, but nothing as profound as those of a little girl running wild and free over that rocky, hillside farm.

19 comments:

  1. Reading this was wonderful, but brought tears to my eyes. I have those same feelings, and two years ago my sister and I drove home to the little town where we grew up and then to our grandparents old home in the country. It brought back many good memories, but was all so sad and empty. You write beautifully.

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  2. Charlotte, I'm very familiar with those feelings. We used to drive by the old farmhouse that my parents owned near Chanute, KS until I was about 8 years old. We don't do it anymore, the last time the house was so dilapidated, many of the out-buildings were fallen in, and the picket fence around the house yard was gone. You just can't "go home" again. I had many happy memories, much like yours, there, and found it depressing to see the current owners had let it go so badly. Now it's like that even with the little house where I finished my growing-up years in a tiny town not far from where we live now. The little house, built during the oil boom, had suffered when my parents were in old age, and then the man who bought it after they died used it for a rental, without any fixing whatsoever. When it became inhabitable, he sold it for the land, they bulldozed the house, filled in the cellar, and I heard they were going to build an apartment building on the land but I fail to see, in that town, how they would be able to fill the units, but maybe if there weren't many, it would work... Haven't been by there lately, it's sad how blank it is when it used to be fronted by big oak trees and dotted with iris and other perennials and some interesting ornamental trees and bamboo. Ugly now, the house that was once next door is gone and the lot has been filled with old trailer-houses, not sure if they are used for their intended purpose or just for storage, and the house on the other side is gone too. Just blank land where that one stood, with the whole town looking dirty and old and worn out. It almost feels like my childhood has been wiped out with the demolition of that house, but a lot of it was unhappy memories anyway so maybe it is for the best. But I won't go back there again. Like Henny Penny said, so sad and empty. Hugs xoxoxoxo

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    1. I don't p;an on ever going back there.

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  3. This brought tears. I have those same feelings from my happy childhood. I am lucky in that all 3 farms that were in my father's family, still exist and are lived on by family members. So, I can go back. But, the barns and outbuildings are falling down because they aren't in use anymore. The land is rented out to younger, near-by farmers. Most of the trees up around the houses, are still there. I stand, with my eyes closed and the wind still sounds the same coming through those branches and the farm land still smells the same. I am so lucky to be able to still go home again.

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    1. My cousin owns the farm now, and he has kept it in good condition, although the house I spent my first ten years in was torn down when Daddy built a new house for us. But the old fields have been turned into pasture land and actually is probably better than it was "back in the good 'ol days".

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  4. I so loved reading this.......a happy and wonder filled childhood that every child should have! I love the drawing!

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  5. Beautiful words and memories. I'm sure the feelings to go with them are somewhat bittersweet, but how blessed you are to have these wonderful memories to revisit.

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  6. Wonderful, cherished memories Charlotte. It sounds so much like you and I had the same childhood. I don't live but within walking distance of my old homeplace but there's very little of it left any more. It now belongs to other people and they let it all go down but like you I relive my childhood every time I pass by it. I too, remember those hills where we made playhouses and ran through those thickets. I also wonder sometimes about an old jar or pot that was left behind that we used to play with. One thing about it,, we'll always have our memories. Thanks so much for sharing yours.

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  7. Beautiful memories of a perfect childhood! Love your drawing!

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  8. Beautifully written! How would it be to spend just one day back in time.

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  9. Yes, beautifully written, for sure! I so enjoyed each "I wanted to...

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  10. Great drawing. You're multi-talented. Wonderful rich nostalgic thoughts of heart and home. Thank you for sharing this special peek in to your heart.

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  11. I love your header photo. The drawing and story about the old home place were wonderful. I loved the story. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  12. Love your header and share your memories of those good
    past memories. Always in our hearts.

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  13. I so enjoyed reading your wonderful post. Your memories reminded me of my mother's stories of her young days growing up here in the Ozarks.

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  14. You took us right into your memories with sharing such a beautiful post.

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  15. Beautiful memories and written so thought provoking, making us think of our own childhood. I just returned from visiting the place I've always called "over home" in West FL. The place my grandmother, uncles, aunts, cousins. This time I saw two new babies, one of which will carry on the family name.

    You're a beautiful writer, Charlotte. Thanks for sharing those sweet memories. :)
    And, the drawing? I simply love it!
    xoxo

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  16. Loved listening to your memories.

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