Mar 22, 2012

Going Home

I've heard it said, "You can never go home again!" But this time that statement isn't accurate. Yes, things have changed... but I can still feel the love that always existed in my little childhood home.

My folks moved to Greenville, CA on June 19, 1946. This is what their new little home looked like. The front of the house was moved from Engle Mine and a fellow named Pat Becker added on the back section (not easily seen in this photo) which included a small kitchen, laundry room and back porch. All told it was 800 square feet.

In 1970 Mom fixed up the house and it looked so neat and tidy. Mom loved her gardens, they were always beautiful.

After Mom's death in 1977 we sold the home to a childhood friend and he subsequently sold it to the present owners- Bill and Judi. This is how our little home looked on Monday afternoon.

This is not the first time I've knocked on the door and asked if I could take photos (of course, always with lots of tears! What a cry-baby!) Bill and Judi are so kind and accommodating! They give me the grand tour- I'm always careful because I don't want to invade their home and privacy, so I didn't take photos inside the house (and now I wish I had). The blue rose-patterned wall paper is still on the walls in Mom's bedroom (makes me cry), they have fun antiques all over that bring out the character of our little home. They removed some cabinets and counter in the kitchen and found the old exterior wall from the Engle Mine house! Judi has decorated with lots of old cast iron implements... it just makes me happy. They moved the hot water heater out to the back porch when it had to be replaced and reclaimed almost 2 feet of precious floor space in the kitchen. It's amazing how much bigger the kitchen feels. They've replaced the old trash-burner with a cute little pot-bellied stove that lives right next to the range. Then over by the windows is another antique cook stove. I could feel the love and happiness in our little house.

But this, THIS is what sent me over the top! I stepped onto the back porch and saw the reclaimed chicken house!

As stated this little building started life as the chicken house. (Photo below taken March 1963)

But, by the time I can remember anything, the chickens were gone and it was used as a dog house, then when I got Blue it became the *barn* where we stored Blue's feed. (Cindy commented that whenever people talk about chickens she smells hay and Omolene... definitely NOT a chicken smell.)

I can't even begin to tell you how happy this makes me. Bill added on two wings to the old building (always having to replace old sinking foundations!) The west side has windows to let in the warm spring sun and can be used for a potting shed. But Judi's added a tiny pot-bellied stove and couch. She said they love to sit in there with a hot-toddy and watch it snow. Bill has a fun work area in the old part of the building. A serendipitous shortage of roofing (because they enlarged it) meant he added some clear corrugated roofing that doubles as a sky light!  (Can I just say I'd love to have a sweet little building like this!)

Behind this happy little building is a grassy area and some pavers where they have their bar-b-que and this great old machine!  Rust in Peace!

Along the east property line dozens of volunteer locust trees have sprouted up creating a little grove.

When you buy old buildings you always have lots of work to do. Bill has replaced the foundation under all of the buildings, including the house. The area under the back porch used to be enclosed.  I love how they've added lattice and climbing vines.  I'll be it is heaven on the porch come a summer evening!

I realized I didn't get any photos of the outside of the shop except for this one...

Bill found this and says that it was made for Daddy in 1958 when he was recuperating from hernia surgery. He unscrewed it and sent it home with me. He had also found Daddy's old business license and unemployment insurance papers from 1946 and 1947. He sent those home with me as well.

These are such precious pieces of memorabilia.

After a quick tour of the shop, we went upstairs to *the apartment* (that's how we referred to the area above the shop) Mom did some remodeling up there in the early 1960s and put in two bedrooms. Judi and Bill now use them as their space. I loved Judi's room with book cases, sewing machine, little couch and some of Bill's original blown-glass art. Judi is also working on a faux-finish on the floor in the unfinished area. It looks great!

It is amazing to see the trees that Mom planted in the late 1960s- mature and stately! I can see the love that has gone into her apple tree.  Thank you Bill and Judi.

And this spruce... well, what can I say? It's ginormous.  You can see that the locusts have also volunteered on this side of the driveway.  What you can't see is a sweet little grove of quakies that grow along the fence behind the spruce.

Going home was such a treat... yes, some things are different but the constant is the loving presence of this little piece of property with it's odd assortment of building.  I know Elsie and Jake are pleased to see what's happening to the *old place*!


Julie said...

So wonderful to have your history loved and preserved and especially that you can return for a visit and find such happiness.

Mom and Dad said...

Joanie, how precious that you were able to go back home and get more photos than the trees at the high school. Bill and Judi are such nice people!!!
This has been such a good day, with your blog and little Elsie Alice joining the family!!