Today for the first time, I had the chance to walk through the old Mill House my Grandparents, my mother, aunt and uncle lived in around the 1940’s. My Grandfather was a hired farm hand to Mr. Drake who owned the old Mill house and he allowed my Grandparents and their children to live there. My grandpa worked for him out on the old Rock Creek farm. I wished I had asked him more about what he did out there. But these things never seem to be so important to a young kid as much as they do to an adult who has the time now to sit still and listen. A granddaughter who misses her grandfather still after 31 years since his death. I know he fell off the barn at that old farm and broke his back. I know the men drove him to the hospital in the back of the old farm truck. He was unable to work for some time after that and my grandmother became the bread winner. I know the times were hard, but my mother said they were still happy times.
The city owns the house now, it hasn’t been a home for many, many years. Its pretty beat up these days, and dirty, but I could still imagine those I loved within these old walls, more so upstairs where nothing had been done to improve it. I don’t know of too many pictures that were taken inside the house. I wished I had asked both my Mom and Grandma more about it when they were alive. Like which bedroom was my Mom’s. Was it the one with the flowered wall paper or the one with the windmills and ducks? I’ll never know now, for they are all gone, my grandparents, my aunt, my uncle, my mother. I miss them, always will.
I stood on the porch when I first arrived waiting for my cousin Theresa, who wanted to see it the house too. Her mother Marlene, was my Mom’s older sister. It was chilly, but not unbearable and I was glad I had those few minutes to myself to just be in that moment. To remember all of them, when they were all young, younger than I at this moment. I looked out towards the creek across the way. My mother, Edie would have seen a better view of it when she stood where I stood. I wonder as a young girl in Jr. High if she would have stood still as long as I did to just look and take it all in. I really doubt it, knowing my mom she would have been hightailing it somewhere or other. I could see through the bare trees the old train trestle and I heard the Amtrak coming down the track and watched it barrel over the trestle with the creek below. My mother would have watched a different sort of train. From where I stood there on the porch I could faintly hear the water trickling down the creek and wondered how many times my mom and uncle Lloyd played in the water. My mother’s older sister would have been in High school when they lived here. I don’t think she would have been playing in the woods or in the creek with the children.
A few years back I wanted to write down the things my Grandma told me for my family. She told snippets of stories about drying kids off after they fell in the creek and picking up and dusting off a few that tried to ride their bikes down the big hill. I wished I had listened a little closer and ask questions to get her to tell me more. But there were so many stories for her to tell and me to try and write down quickly as she talked. She was the last of these to die. I can’t imagine living that long and experiencing the death of her husband and all three of her children. She lived to be 100 years old. Her birthday was the 12th of February and she died just 5 days after the big birthday party to honor her on those 100 years of life. I miss her, my grandfather, my aunt, my uncle and my mother. I always will miss them, I felt a little closer to them today as I walked where they once walked, where they once played, where they once lived their lives.
Go do something new.