This house in Monson MA is rumored to have been the town’s first elementary school and because the town predates the Revolutionary War nary a floor is level. The original structure had only two rooms whose blackboard walls are now hidden by layer upon layer of wallpaper. From this simple dwelling, my ancestors added two bedrooms, an indoor bath, a kitchen, covered patio and small television room. The room to the left was probably built by my great-grandfather as storage for his three children (two of whom are in the above picture along with a girl identified as only “My cousin Myrtie.”) Because the toddler in the picture is my grandmother, born 1899, I figure this picture dates from the early 1900s. The original deed is handwritten.
Here’s the same house on Main Street in a photo probably taken in 1910 after they added the porch :
This porch (now screened in) overlooks a boulder-filled creek where as children we played for hours, always within shoutin’ distance of Gram. The last time I visited, the untended blackberry vines choking the creek and newly constructed storage facility on the other side stole all hope of a return to what once was. Nonetheless, the house’s eventual slip from our fingers still stings.
I know that, in the end, old houses and photos are just stuff, stuff our children probably won’t give a hoot about, stuff that will end up either in a garbage dump or in some moldy basement, pages stuck together, edges eaten by rats. I’ve accepted that eventuality however for some insane reason I decided to go through the five million boxes of unorganized STUFF I rescued from my mother’s house. If you’ve ever had to clean out grandma’s house and go through her stuff then you’re probably thinking what an idiot I am. And I admit, it is exhausting, unrewarding work that has kept me from blogging, writing, exercising and cleaning house. But every now and then I’ll find something which might be mildly interesting to the kids. Know what it is?