Friday, August 31, 2007

Old Home Place

Not my old home place but my dad's. He was not born in this house though. That one burned and this one was built about 1925. It measures about 16 ft square and has 4 rooms. I took this with my Treo and was standing in front and to the right. This is the west and south sides. There was a living room, 2 bedrooms, and the kitchen. Both bedrooms had closets which my dad told me was a very modern innovation for the time. It seems so small for a family of 6 by today's standards. No wonder they were so close. My childhood home wasn't much larger. But I wonder if the larger homes we have now changes how close a family feels to each other?

The trees around the place used to be much prettier. There were pecan trees and about a half dozen pear trees. For many years my aunt and uncle would drive down and harvest both pecans and pears. There are still black locust trees right in front. But all the trees have been damaged by various storms over the years.

When I was a kid, I would accompany my dad to work on the old farm on the weekend. Sometimes mom would go and we would take the old Nash that had the front seats that fully reclined. We'd sleep in the car and I thought that was so cool. Later it would just be dad and me. We'd drive down in the old 1950 Chevy truck. The truck wasn't very good but better by a long ways than the roads.

Usually we would leave really early and get down there while it was still dark. Dad's friend, George, would already be there. The old house was in good shape then. It didn't even have a lock. George would have made a fire in the old wood stove and a pot of black coffee would be boiling in that speckled enameled steel. We had cups of the same material and dad would put a bunch of sugar in mine. I still think that was the best coffee. The grounds kind of settled to the bottom.

Sometimes George would have a catfish he'd caught from the pond - which was new then - thanks to the county extension agent. If we stayed all day then he'd cook it. But usually we started back around noon. Then Dad would stop at a place in Chickasha called Fowler's I think it was. We'd get hamburgers and a chocolate malt.

If we had time Dad would take me down to the old swimming hole where he and his brother and sisters swam. It was fed by a spring then and always had water but it isn't there anymore. And then we'd look at the old chicken house and the barn and the well. My pop dug that well by hand. I was fascinated with the old cellar. It is still there but has a bunch of debris in it to keep the cows out.

When we looked at the cellar dad would always tell about being in there once during a tornado and how the tornado ripped off the door even with his father and everyone else holding onto the rope. He'd also tell about his brother making wine in the cellar and the bottles exploding.

He'd show me the old watermelon patch and tell about sitting down right there in the row and cutting a melon open with his pocket knife and how sweet and good it tasted.

We'd walk from one fence to the other and he'd tell about his dad (my pop) coming there as a very young man on horseback before statehood. I told my son those same stories and more about his pop as we walked together that very same pasture. Dad and mom built their "dream home" in 1964. I was already 16 and left just 4 yeas later. This is where dad and I live now. I'm sure that first place must have been just as much a dream for those people 100 years ago. I don't know why we keep the old place but no one wants to sell it. Maybe it's the dream part.


nancy said...

what wonderful memories. thanks for sharing. i loved the story about sitting in the watermelon patch. i often wondered about bigger houses now where everyone has their own space. i only have one sister and remember sharing a room with her growing up.

sometime please take a picture of the porch where you and you dad sit. i would love to see that!

tuesday said...

Nice remembrances and nice that you shared them with your own son. I don't think we do enough of that these days.

I thought your question, "But I wonder if the larger homes we have now changes how close a family feels to each other?," was pretty poignant and that you might have really hit on something. It may follow suit with what happened when people moved out of cities into spread-out suburbs. Instead of sitting out on your stoop talking to your neighbors each night, you're now lucky if you get more than just a wave from your neighbor as they get into their car and drive off.

I've come via OKDad's blog.

SKYGIRL said...

Oh Flint! What a lovely stroll down memory lane you made for us! I LOVED it, and you have such a good story-telling ability, it is as if you are right there, picking the Pecans & Pears, I could actually 'smell' that coffee! And holding on to that rope, during a Tornado! You should really consider writing a book.

I bet those Pears & Pecans made some kind of extraordinary desert~ YUM!

About the size of the house? My Mom grew up in a "HUGE" house,(in Oklahoma City, as you know) and they were VERY close. They also went to Church every Sunday, etc.

I think it depends more on the texture, and nature of the Love, and the Nurture vs. Nature, which no one has yet been able to figure out?

And "YES" you kept the house because it is a 'materialized' dream! And all the memories too!

Love your stories. Please keep them coming!


cornbread hell said...

great story. thanks.

just today i drove mom by the house she grew up in and the schools she attended. the outing brought lots of old memories to the surface.

i'd planned to blog about it later. i just wish i had your story telling ability.

~Betsy said...

You really do tell wonderful stories. I could almost taste that sweet watermellon. It all sounded so simple then. I wish we could have a little more simplicity these days.

I've often wondered about your family and tornadoes. I used to work with a gal from Oklahoma and she talked about a funnel cloud as if it were nothing more than a nuisance. We get them around here rarely but nothing like what you all get there.

Thanks for sharing.

Lori1955 said...

What a way with words you have!! It is almost as if I was there. I love the pictures, especially of the old house. I don't think I would ever sell it if it was mine.