The Old Home Place

November 18, 2009
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One place that will always hold special meaning in my heart is my great grand
parent’s old farm. It lies in the middle of lush countryside and sits quaintly between rolling hills. The house was certainly a humble one but in its day it was like a well oiled machine, every part working together for a product.

This home was surrounded by fertile, green land, going out in every direction. If you looked up “picture-perfect farm life,” I’m sure that you’d find a picture of this address. Off to the west of the house was a noisy chicken coup, full of fat hens. Beside that, was a small feed barn that accommodated multiple litters of kittens. A sizeable, friendly dog named Rover used to be housed beside that where he could greet everyone as they came up the drive. To the northwest of the house, was a garage with heavily used farm equipment that included a large, green tractor. Everything seemed focused on the home. Right out the back door you had the option of going three different directions (four if you count going back into the house). You could go left, right, or straight. The left bore a cellar filled with preserves, roots, dried goods, and canned products. Straight was a steep green hill with fluffy, luxurious grass. If you climbed over the hill, you found a garden to your left and a raspberry patch that grew fat, ripe berries in the summer. As you came from the patch of raspberries, there was a small walkway that came from the right of the back door, around to the east side. On your way there, a small building held contents of which I still haven’t been enlightened. The east side of the house had a small peach orchard and a grape vine with both green and purple grapes, heavy on the vine. Near the vine, I remember they had a scarecrow to keep away pesky birds that bothered the precious fruit. But the front yard bared the jewel of the entire farm: the tire swing. I remember spending many breezy, spring days swinging high. This place, the farm, is one of the most influential place in my life.

I remember meeting a large portion of my family here. The family I was related to though no one was entirely sure how. I spent many Easter holidays here. I remember taking a picture with my great grandparents out in the front yard. I always remember the happiest times of my life when I think of this place. I only have one sad memory of the farm. The day my great grandmother died.

I was very, very young at the time, only 6 or so. We went to visit my grandparents. I knew that my grandma was sick but to me sick was just have a cold. There was nothing worse than that and if there was I didn’t know of it. I remember my family stuffed into the back bedroom of the house where my grandmother lay. She was so frail but I didn’t know what was wrong. I visited her for a few moments. Then I went to sit out in the living room because everyone else seemed like they were waiting for something. I heard someone call out softly, “Evelyn?” “She’s gone,” someone else said. I heard a loud wail and I wondered what was going on. When I asked what had happened, I got this answer “Your great grandmother is no longer with us. She’s gone.” I didn’t understand this. Was she at the grocery store? I didn’t see her leave. She must’ve climbed out the window. Later that night, someone explained to me what “gone” really meant. I remember my Aunt Patty trying to explain it to me. “Gramma is gone. It is kind of, like her body was a shell to hold in her soul. God said it was time for her to go and so her soul went to Heaven. That was the important part. Now all that’s left is her shell. She isn’t her shell that just kept the good stuff inside.” I guess this was her way of explaining the viewing in the funeral home. I didn’t want to see my grandmother if she wasn’t really there. I would remember her as the lively woman she was.

Other memories I have here are when my grandma used to wrap our heads up in scarves like little babies and call us her “babushkas.” We would go outside and run around together. I remember dressing up in grandma’s aprons and helping her cook Thanksgiving dinner. I remember feeding the chickens for the first time and being amazed by the task of collecting eggs. This home shaped me into who I am now. It created my idea of family. It made me thankful for the love I have.

My grandmother died years about nine years ago and my grandfather has been removed from his beautiful home. The house has been sold and I’ll probably never see it again. But I suppose the house was just like a shell, housing all the wonderful memories my family made. The house is just a shell, the memories are what’s important.

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