Thursday, October 18, 2012

Memories In The Wind

I recently drove past my mother's parents farm near Sullivan, Ohio.  It was a bittersweet trip.

When we were young girls in the late 1940's and early 1950's, our greatest summer expectation was to go to Grandma's house for a week or two during the summer. Grandma and Grandpa had a working farm of about 90 acres with a nice stand of woods and the beginning of the Black River that would make it's way to Lake Erie.

Being city girls, the allure of the farm was always an adventure. There were cows and pigs, chickens, dogs and kittens. There was the big garden that had to be tended and the strawberries that needed to be picked.
There were family reunions both large and small. Tables were set up in the yard and all kinds of food weighed down the boards acting as table tops.

The farm did not have inside plumbing until the early 1950's. That was a big moment!

On Sundays, there was the trip to the farm - about a 45 minute ride. Always for holidays, there was a trip to the farm. Holidays were always a time of great feasts. My mother's sisters, both unmarried at the time, were always there as well. After dinner there was always a walk to the woods to look at birds or wildflowers. In the spring we'd sit in the shadow of the budding trees and make circles of Adder Tongue flowers to wear in our hair. Upon returning to the house, a jigsaw puzzle was generally set out on the card table. Once in awhile, somebody played the piano.

We made hollyhock flower ladies. We watched the steam trains go by on the tracks a quarter mile south of the farm. We WALKED around the 4 square mile block for something to do. Once in awhile we rode our bicycles. I didn't find out until just a couple of years ago that there was a cemetery on that route that had ancestors in it!

One summer, our parents allowed us to ride our bicycles from our home in the city to the farm. What a grand adventure that was. We practiced riding our bikes in town going up and down hills. There weren't that many hills on our trip, but it was endurance practice. We left home early in the morning. No cell phones. No communication along the way - just 3 young girls on their bicycles with a brown bag lunch in the basket and a change of clothes. (There was always clothes to wear at the farm).  Our trip was uneventful and we arrived in good shape. I was allowed to use the telephone (the old wood wall phone with a crank) to call the operator to call home. Our parents came a couple of days later and put the bikes in the trunk of the car to go back home with.

The farm was "the place" to go. It truly was a refuge from the city.

A few years ago, long after my grandparents had left the farm, the house caught on fire on a cold, wintery day in January. The house was occupied but everyone got out safely. The whole top floor of the house was gone, and the house was a shell with the memories blowing in the wind.  The shell of the house has sat there for several years now. However, this trip, the house was completely gone and there is a stand of weeds where it once stood.

The farm of many happy memories

My grandparents
Edward A. Werner and Viola Barbara Pfeiffer