Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Farm House

Imagine going to your great-grandparents home, abandoned in the early '40s, but (almost) just as it was when they left… full of furniture and household items and with food still in the cupboards! My mom got to do just that in the early '70s.

My great-great grandparents (Clother Allen and Mary Susan C00k) moved into this house in Lowell, Nebraska in 1894 and 4 of their 5 children were born here including my great-grandfather (Allen Cook).

Old age made it difficult for Clother and Mary Susan to live in the farmhouse during the winter and summer months so they stayed with family, often my great-grandparents. When my great-grandparents moved to California in 1939, Clother and Mary Susan came to stay with them. Mary Susan died and Clother was advised not to travel due to poor health. Consequently he spent the remainder of his life with my great-grandparents in California, never returning to the farmhouse in Nebraska.

A tenant farmer living in a neighboring house kept an eye on the house and it was never broken into or vandalized. Great-grandfather always intended to move back to his boyhood home one day so he left it as it was. Finally, in the early '70s after the death of my great-grandmother, Great-grandfather re-married. He took his new bride to the farmhouse and suggested that they live there. By then the place was pretty ramshackle and very primitive so of course she wasn't crazy about the idea. At that point my great-grandfather asked my grandpa to clean it out and tear it down. My parents were just married and helped with the clean up.

I grew up with many items from the farmhouse decorating our home. My parents still talk about all the fun things they have from there and regret all the things they chose to get rid of either because they didn't know any better or because they didn't have room in their tiny apartment.

On Easter, my grandpa gave me my own memento from the farmhouse. It's a croquet box that my grandpa built little shelves into. On the front is the original shipping label from Montgomery Ward. It bears my great-great grandfather's name and the date, 1914. The quilt in the picture below is also from the farmhouse. It was passed down to me by my mom a few years ago.

I've always enjoyed the idea of being able to walk into an old house, full of great stuff and being able to take almost anything I wanted. Wouldn't that be fun? But after talking about the farmhouse with my grandparents, I see everything that came from the farmhouse as more than just cool old stuff. It's a way of connecting to the stories from my family's history. I will treasure the things that I have that came from this house and the stories that go with them.

1 comment:

Lani Robertson said...

How awesome, that would have been so fun! :)