Thursday, September 22, 2016

You Can't Go Home Again ....

.... but you can go back. It has been eight years since the farm sale and our move to Creston. And almost eight years since the final papers were signed and the dismantling of our childhood home began.
I *knew* what happened - our old trailer house, home for 13 years, was moved, all the other buildings, including the house we grew up in, were bulldozed, burned and buried - along with all the trees.

For the longest time I couldn't even think about home let alone talk about it. Friends would tell me they had driven by and want to tell me what it looked like but I would just shake my head and utter, "don't".

But "time heals all wounds" and I began to think "maybe, one of these days, I'll drive back by there." I knew about the huge grain bin where the house once stood. I could see it from the highway a mile away and I had looked at our little section of Jasper 22 on google earth, so I *knew* what it looked like - or, more specifically, what it no longer looked like.

Then this summer my older brother, Ron, used his column in Time Out, a local (Adams County) newsletter for 'those aged 55 and older', to write about his memories of the way he went to school (walking) seventy years ago. I walked that same mile going to and from school from 1949 to 1957 (and again for exercise after we moved back to the farm in 1995). Ron is older than I, how would our memories compare?

His walk began on the road in front of where our house had stood. Mine began with this photo:

Down at "the tube" at the end of the lane to the east pasture - scene of many happy childhood memories of playing in the water there. Now you can hardly tell there is a ditch, a small stream running north. The weeds are so tall and corn replaces the grass. There are still a few trees, however.

Still on the east-west road looking up to where the farmstead was - where the windmill still stands as well as one of the garages (roof just visible). Corn, corn, everywhere, corn.

Now on the road in front of where the farm house was and look, the 2588 sign where our trailer house had been just to the right of those trees. I suppose they left the sign because we had hooked up to rural water and that marks the location.

A quarter mile north and there is the lane to what Ron called the "north place" but which I always refer to as the "other place". Why the difference? Did Dad call it the north place and that was what Ron heard more and Mom called it the other place and she was the one I heard more often? To the left of that gate was the pond Ron remembered along with the raft he and Norm built and floated there. I have those same memories, along with playing in the water and Dad tossing Betty and I into the deeper water thinking he could teach us to swim that way. Ron recalled tying 4th of July M-80's or cherry bombs to a rock and throwing them into the water to watch the geysers when they exploded. Yes, with his prompt, I remember that, too.

All the buildings are gone at the other place, too. But the locust grove remains. Ron remarked about the little 'cabin' there we used to play in, but didn't mention the trees. That was one of the locations where my sister Betty and I had one of our many 'camps' when we played cowboys and Indians.

Down the hill now to the bridge - what used to seem like half way when we were walking to and from school. On the way home from school this was the place to stop and dawdle - throw rocks into the water, look for frogs, scare the pigeons out from under the bridge - and I remember fishing for bullheads there with Mom a time or two when we were very young. As Ron remarked, that old, narrow, dilapidated wooden bridge was replaced with this one long ago.

Now, on to the top of that hill seen in the previous photo, - boyhood home of Ron's best friend, Normie - and "Paradise Hill" to Norman's mom, Crystal. This farmstead is also gone - but Ron's memories of playing there with his friend remain.

Down the hill, we're almost there -
- the sign marks the Humbert Center School - but I always called it Jasper #2. The Humbert name came from one of the neighborhood's more prominent families - a former state representative and well-known importer of French Percheron draft horses.

Ron's memories ended here, with the school, but I aimed my camera east and took one more photo.

Because I noted all the new, much larger electrical lines going in. I can only speculate it has something to do with the wind energy farm east and south of here - another, huge, change in the old neighborhood. But I also took the picture because up there where the two trees stand was once the farmstead of another of our grade school classmates. After that family moved away and a neighbor took over the farm ground, the house became a rental property. I earned my first money babysitting there for the five children of my high school guidance teacher. A few years after that, Ron and his first wife lived there until the old furnace malfunctioned and started a fire. There wasn't a lot of damage, but they had to move - funny, I can't remember where they lived after the fire - unless that is when they moved to Maryville?

I find that my brother's memories are much the same as mine, he shared more of his in his Round the Clubhouse Turn* column than I have here, but my whole blog was begun for my memories.

And, I was going to apologize for the accidental blue tone of all my photos, but maybe I was *meant* to have that filter turned on to match my mood about going back 'home' for the first time in eight years.

Funnily enough, it didn't make me feel blue after all. Time has healed the pain of all that was but is no more - but time has not taken away my memories (yet) and I still have the photos of the way it was......

*Someday I must ask Ron the why and wherefore of this name for his column - that might turn into a blog post, too.

1 comment:

  1. I believe the 'Clubhouse Turn' is the final turn before the Homestretch; thus 3/4 of the race has been completed.