Just an old house

It is just an old house they say. Mortar, brick and wood to hold it together. There is more to that. It is a home. A place where you are safe. A place where family and friends gather. A refuge from a storm. It is more then just an old house. It is a home.

This home I lived in for 18 years. I know it is not long but it was Home from the time I was born until I left to start a life of my own. It had been my families home for almost forty years. They raised five children there. They welcomed family, friends and strangers into their home. There have been love, tears, disagreements or down right arguments there.

We all have different memories of growing up in that farm house in Downie township of sebachill of Ontario. I being the youngest in the family have no memories of many of the years my parents spent on the farm. I do have my memories though. Little snippets here and there. I have heard many a story from older members of the family and friends though. So many stories I loved hearing over the years as I collected family tree records. All have their fond memories of my parents and time they spent together

These pictures showed up on Facebook a couple of days ago. Beautiful pictures of family and friends. Pictures taken before I was even born. These came from a daughter of family friends of my parents. A brother in law of one of my fathers sisters. So in fact they where classed as family. They lived on a farm just down the highway from us. When they moved away my parents would still go to visit them wherever they moved. In many parts of Ontario. My older brother would hang out with the two older brothers when they where working near by. They worked as farm hands for neighbouring farms in sebachill area. These pictures are beautiful memories of my family. The family I never knew and love to look back on.

my brother was up stairs the other day and said he had been thinking a bit of years past. As we get older we start thinking about what was and could have been.  Some of the things he did on the farm or with the rest of the family. As winter set in around here he has more time to think

Bob is my oldest brother. He said that he and Ron would stay at gramma and grandpas farm while harvesting was going on. This was the way to keep them out of the way when lots of farm equipment was in use coming in and out of the farm. Grandpas farm was located in Ellice township just one concession north of Sebringville. While they were being watched by Gramma Mielke they asked to go over and play with cousins Jack Nowack. Gramma told them they where too young to go over there by themselves and she did not have time to take them over there. So these two boys took it on themselves to go over there. So snuck out of the house saying they where going to play someplace. They decided the road was too dangerous to be on or it was just they might get caught there headed across the fields and through the ditches to get to the Nowack farm. They spent the day playing with Jack until Esther said it was time to be heading back to Gramma. So back through the fields and ditches they went. He said they where not caught for doing that. I bet Gramma knew very well where they had gone.

Bob spent most of his life on the farm.  worked as a farm hand until the farm was sold.  He has many years of life and working on the farm. When the farm was sold he spent a couple of years in Mitchell with my parents.  Then he decided that a change was in order and packed his truck and headed west. Spent many years making a life for himself in BC.  Now retired and living with us.  Enjoying his golden years Playing in our gardens in the summer and winter Well that al depends on the weather as to whether he is out or not. He is 17 years older then me, but we got along the best as he was always on the farm with me.

Ron, my next oldest brother, was the wanderer in the family.  He traveled so many places in my younger years.  I never really knew him that well.  He left home when I was stil quite young. He came home with a motorcycle once and I always wanted to have a ride on it.  I would hear stories from my mother when a letter came in from someplace he was.  She kept a map on the wall in a room and would mark off each place that he was at.  He traveled many places and fianlly settled in BC to make his family life there. I have copies of some of his letters he sent to Lois a cousin of ours.  interesting to read about his travees.

Joyce settled on a farm just outside of Shakespeare.  Married and raised a beautiful family there. I would be around four or five when Joyce was married. I would stay at their farm when Mom and Dad took a vacation someplace with friends or family. I had fun staying with Joyce, But always watched for mom and dad to come pick me up and I could go home again.

Linda headed to university when I was around Six or seven.  So she was not around the farm much as I was growing up.  During summer months she was there but working.  I remember a few vacations we took together with mom and dad.  Or the times mom and dad went to sudbury to visit with Alma and Lawrence.  We would go along while Bob stayed and did the daily chores on the farm. After university Linda recieved a possition as a teacher and moved away as well.

So I think of these four walls of that old farm house and how many maemories had gone through it.  The growing of a family. The time spent together.  The laughter, the joy and the tears.  Family time of large family gatherings to the times of just the four of us before I was finished school and off on a life of my own.

I was in Ontario a year or so ago and drove to the cemertary where my parents are resting.  I walked the cemertary to check the old stones. I looked in on my grandparents on both sides of the family.  My great grandprents who are in the old cemetary.  All is still as I remember of where they are resting.  I then walked to the front of the church and sat on the steps I had sat on so many years ago.  I looked across the highway at the old farm house.  the building of so many memories of family life there.  The house still stands and the farm is still worked.  Not by our family but another who took over when we moved on.  Another family of memories go through those walls.  Ghost of our past and of family who lived there before my family owned it.  So many memories of so many years.  The house still looks the same.  a few changes here and there.  the trees my father planted are now so tall and cover the front of the property.  Blocking out the old house and farm. Brings back the memories of crossing the highway to go to the one room schoolhouse.  Sunday school and church just a few steps away.  The driving shed I use to go in to play around in.  Or the barn where I use to climb the bail auger to the loft and make forts in the hay.  the apple orchard where I would go climb the trees and eat apples all day.  Go to the garden and pick peas or strawberries and eat them instead of bringing them to the house for lunch.  Wandering the fields and treking through the bush.

So much has changed, but so much is still the same.  I will keep my memories of the old farm house.  they may be different then anyone else in the family as they have their own memories.  All are different and all are the same. Just different versions Of a same memory.  They are preserved by our thoughts.  Some may be happy and some are sad, but they are there for us to relish and remember.  I loved that old farm house with the many rooms to spare.  it gave shelter in the storm to travelers who could not make it home.  It gave warmth to a family.  My family.  It gave gatherings to many a family member.  For happy of sad moments in life. It was home

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