Monday, April 16, 2012

This Old House

I just returned from a trip to see Dad and visit South Dakota again. On the trip, one of the destinations was the house Mom grew up in. My uncle Terry showed us around. The house still stands, but is no longer occupied and is in disrepair.

I note this because the second story I picked up of Mom's after my return was this one, where she talks about that very house. Mom wrote the story in October 1991 for one of her writing classes. The photo is of how the house looked in April 2012.

Looking at all these pictures brings back many memories. Here is a picture of our old farm place. Gosh, this makes the old house look good. There is a date on the back, 1942, before I was born; no wonder it looks good. A lot of growing happened in this house.

I was born number 13 of 14 children. My parents lived in this house since they were married in 1924. It looked huge from the outside. Mom told me that two small houses were joined to make one large house a long time ago.

This made two separate upstairs. One, with three bedrooms, was for the girls; the other, with two large bedrooms, for the boys. You couldn't get from one to the other unless you came down. I grew up thinking every house had two upstairs. I couldn't imagine it any different.

As with many old houses, there were few closets and fewer cupboards. There was running water in the kitchen, but not the indoor bathroom. Water was carried to the bath tub and the clothes washer, then dipped out again when finished.

There were many entryways or porches for the many doors. None of the porches was heated, so they were not used much in the winter. One of these entries, or porches, was used for our playroom. Sometimes my sisters and I set it up to play house, many times it was our school. We passed out our papers to our imaginary students. We were always the teachers. Oh, what fun we had.

The house was old and drafty, heated only by an oil burning stove in the living room and a cook stove in the kitchen. Bugs and spiders came in through the cracks in the walls, not to mention the mice in the fall.

I couldn't go back to that old house, but that old house built character in me.

Connie, Oct. 3, 1991

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