“Planting Seeds in This Old House” 2nd place essay winner at school   Leave a comment

     Our house is not one that would catch your attention if you were to drive down our street. It does not stand grandly behind a beautifully landscaped yard. It is not cloaked in fashionable siding of the latest color combinations. Nor does it reside in the sought after suburbs of the upper middle class. It is a simple, humble house; plain, practical and nothing more.

     Careful inspection of the house, built in 1926, reveals evidence of eras gone by. A black stain on the hardwood, dining room floor left by a parlor stove from the 1920’s, reminds us of a time before the comforts of central heating.  A grate, cut into the floor of the upstairs bathroom, lets the heat of the kitchen rise up to help warm those taking a bath on cold Saturday nights. The lack of electrical outlets in the bathroom tells of a time before hair dryers and curling irons. The discovery of a well underneath the garage floor brings us back to a time in history when indoor plumbing was a novelty for the well to do and city dwellers, while those in rural areas and the working class pumped their water outside. Hidden layers of paint in the stylish colors that defined its decade and hardwood floors covered with vinyl, indicate the desire to have a home that appeared modern and fashionable.

     The simplicity does not just apply to the house itself, but also to those who have lived within its walls. In 1948, a man, who was to spend his life working for a concrete company, and his wife, a daughter of rural immigrants, bought this house and raised five children in it. While talking with her, she told me that this house seemed like a castle compared to the rural home in which she grew up.  The love this couple poured into their family is evident when their children and grandchildren have come by to visit their childhood home and share their fond memories with us.

     1993 was the year we made this house our home and like the family that preceded us, five children call this house, home. We made many improvements in those early years; a new roof, new windows, a new driveway are to name a few. But as more children grew to fill its rooms, money for home improvements grew less available. Decades old, dry rotted garage doors still need a strong pull to come rumbling closed. Weathered, rotting window trim and boards are replaced as needed, but hoping someday for a vinyl facelift.  A front porch, adorned with 1950’s wrought iron peppered with rust spots, aches to be redone in stylish, vinyl wrapped pillars and rails.

     Despite its need for update and repair, this old house still provides what is needed to make rich memories. The memories of summers spent with children playing matchbox cars on the front porch, or taking a welcome respite on the front porch swing on a hot, humid day. Memories of watching rain pour over the porch’s eaves on a warm, summer’s evening and listening to the deep tones of the copper wind chime, turned green with time, but ever faithful in its song. For over eighty years, adults and children alike, have enjoyed the deep clawfoot bathtub which now provides our family with relaxation and fun. These memories cannot be made better with home improvements.

     Along with memories being made, life lessons are being taught and learned in this house. Through homeschooling, we are learning to see education with new eyes and to think outside of the box. We have learned that family life can be difficult and that marriage boils down to commitment.

     As the children of this house make their way into the world and pursue their dreams, I hope they remember that the seeds of those dreams were planted here, in this plain, practical, simple house. Like a wise, old man, bent over and weathered by the passing of years and the experiences of life; this battered, worn house proudly stands to show its imperfections and scars that come with living a full life.

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Posted February 14, 2011 by The Nonconformist Mom in Uncategorized

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