How It Began

A middle class suburbs outside  Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was  chosen to raise our seven children  after long discussions.  Thoughts about  a safe playground and easy walking distance to all the things that might work for adults and children:  work, church, grade schools and buss service when needed.  Your father and I agreed that it was better to stretch the budget and live in surroundings that provided wholesomeness and high expectations  for the children rather than live in a much less expensive neighborhood.

While we were a family and a strong one,  we each lived and saw life through our individual prisms.  I did not know that at the time.  We were a unit, often going to the A field to see, the oldest two boys play Little League baseball and football. Afterwards, we often had lemonade on the porch..

It’s what parents do.  Parents find a safe nest, feed their children, try to figure out what they want and need and watch them grow and keep them as safe as possible.  This neighborhood is where the first two boys were faithful Altar Boys at  Church and  both had paper routes.  Susie grew flowers to sell and Paul was a Cub Scout for which this mom became a Den Mother to support this cause..  Mary, Peter and Lynda were quite small but kept busy.  We had many camping trips to the Ocean and the Mountains to allow for the energetic young kiddos to find fun and adventure and joy..

Ten years kept us in this neighborhood.  But over time a great roar of the saw and hammer came from the basement  that did not quite jive with the quiet tree lined pristine neighborhood.  Especially, it did not jive with the very strict neighbor who lived in the connected house with connected porches. Since dad had so many hobbies (actually drives), this mother made it her mission to find the space where all these drives/hobbies could be set free. It would be a place for everyone to stretch legs and ambitions.  …idea was not a hard sell.  Turning this into a reality was a high energy journey.

So in 1970,  word was sent out to friends  Newspapers were scoured to find our dream “farmhouse” in the country.  We signed contracts that fell through.  We coveted what we could not have and moved on to the next available possible dream farm. A friend which you older children will remember who was an auditor for a local bank, got wind of a couple who were going to build a horse farm in the countryside.   They not only had their eye on the property in question but they owned it..  They owned many more acres than we could afford to purchase or maintain.  Besides, they did not want to sell jut four acres until a huge weather system changed their minds.

When I saw this huge,deserted farmhouse at the end of a gently curving lane, I became a woman possessed.  I “see” us owning that magical place.  I could not give up on its being our home.  Tears flowed, ideas abounded about how this could happen.  The emotional hammering must have annoyed God to the point that like a weary parent he said.  “OH!  ALRIGHT!”.   But their was a long process in turning a dream into our reality.

The couple who owned this farm and deserted house lived high up on a hill in a very substantial home elsewhere.  Here is part of the mysterious process.  Your dad went to see this couple who thought  him  presumptuous to suggest surrendering just four acres to us.  But since, God had already said yes, [“I’m just saying”]  — there was a horrific snow storm that year and the husband of the couple in question, could not bear the hysteria of his beloved wife who was imprisoned by the snow storm–on the top of the hill in their mansion.

The husband was a businessman.  He looked at his options and his goals (one of which was to appease his wife) and the thought crept into his mind that were he to sell us the deserted house and the remaining acreage to the Retirement Community that was contiguous to “our” deserted house, he could find another property with fewer problems and do it more quickly.  You see possession has taken place”in the ether”.  We just had to wait for it to materialize.

The couple found a huge spread  that was much more suited to the horse farm that they desired to develop. The man had power and influence. He was also connected to the ‘shakers and movers’ of the Retirement Community.  A division of land was conceived and and made legal.  We got a deserted house and four acres, the Retirement Home got the vast amount of acreage. The other couple happily moved their dream to a new spot and thus our dream moved to Box 250, our new country address.

We had it all:  The house with no heat.  A Tobacco Barn.  A house with no inside water, The house with no bathrooms.  The house with groundhogs living in the basement that your father fought off with a hammer.The house with broken windows. The house where I heated water for bathing on the butchering stove. It was a beautiful house .  Five years later it was a magnificent house.  Friends, relatives and all of us, followed your dad’s direction in doing bits of work.  We ,our family, were all pioneers.

to be continued

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~ by mosswood on April 18, 2012.

3 Responses to “How It Began”

  1. A beautiful home indeed.

  2. Oh man, Nana… This stuff gives me the goosebumps. I want to read the whole novel.

  3. Long life but no novel here but rather a short snap-shot of a huge adventure. Appreciate your enthusiasm.

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