His History and Mine
But this one turned into the opportunity I've been waiting for. Darwin's dad, Mac, still owns the old house he grew up in, a little farmhouse complete with can house and corn crib. The Christmas event takes place each year in an old schoolhouse nearby, the one Mac and his brothers and sisters attended in the '40s.
For once, I remembered to bring my camera. That's where the opportunity comes in: I finally got pics of the "old homeplace."
No one is certain of the house's age. Mac's parents bought it in 1941, but it had been there for a while before. In fact, before it was Mac's old homeplace, it was someone else's parents' old homeplace.
I know a bit about the middle class-and-up house styles - the Victorians, Greek Revivals, Craftsmans, etc. But I know just about nothing about these spare little farmer’s cottages, the sort of house where every last one of my and Darwin’s plain-folk farming ancestors lived.
It is L-shaped with a simple porch across the front. One side of the L is the front: two rooms with a center hall between. The other leg of the L is the kitchen. A tiny bedroom and a bathroom were tacked onto the back of the house at some point.
The house is not pretty. The windows are a hodgepodge. Some 1950s aluminum, some older divided lights. The exterior is covered with green, faux-woodgrain shingles. The roof is rusted tin. The walls inside are fake wood paneling.
It’s not a house someone took care to preserve, in terms of history. It’s a house people lived in, lived simply with no thought of old or new, or continuity. If a window broke or rotted, they replaced it with anything that would fit. If the top of the stone chimney toppled, they replaced it with brick. If they needed another bedroom, heck we’ll tack one on right here.
Usually, I despise a remuddle. But somehow, this jumbled little farmhouse has a certain nobility. We’ll probably never decipher its age, and it will certainly never be on the National Register. That’s okay. It’s a house that means something anyway. You can see it in the faces of the men in that family, whose hands helped mend the roof and prop up the falling chimney. It is a part of Darwin’s family’s history, a part of my history now.
The can house. This was where they stored the canned goods. (not really in cans, in jars)
The back of the house. The side of the house. The kitchen chimney.
The front porch. The front of the house.
The corn crib. They kept peanuts on top and corn on the bottom level. The curtain from the stage at the old schoolhouse, dated 1939.