I grew up in a very small town in Southeast Georgia. It was more of a village really, with a population of around 200. Everyone knew everyone, and had for generations.
The house I consider my childhood home was built, I believe, in the 1940's. It was a typical cottage style of the area, the type known as center-hall. The bedrooms on one side, the living areas on the other. All opened to the hallway via closing doors.
There was a double fireplace, in the first two bedrooms. The last bedroom (mine and my mama's) had no heating or cooling. The first two bedrooms also had window a/c's in them. The living area consisted of living room and dining in one (the separating wall had been removed before I was born in the 70's). There was a hip high gas heater on the outside wall, and a window unit/ac next to it.
That heater and a/c kept the living/dining and kitchen comfy all year round. The kitchen was small, with no built in counters. There was a stove, a dryer (that served as a counter, until it was moved to the back porch and replaced with a self hook up dishwasher), a long cast iron enameled sink and drain board under the windows, a corner shelf, a washing machine (more counter space) and refrigerator. There were built in upper cabinets and the dishes were kept in a separate pantry known as the 'wig cabinet'. It once held a great aunts beloved wigs, and was quit sturdy.
Off the kitchen was the closed in back porch. We ate breakfast at the small table there, the dryer was removed there in my childhood, Granddaddy kept the coffee maker and toaster out there, and it was heated by a smaller gas heater. We had a long chest freezer that I loved to scrape the ice shavings from to eat. The back door was here as well, with it's concrete rectangle for a step, that was so, so, cold even in summer. Nice to sit on and eat watermelon and popsicles on a hot day!
The bath was on the other side of the house and entered through the back porch. It had a plug in heater (of no use in winter, really), a tub (later a shower was added), single sink with no cabinet (later added), and toilet. My Granny kept towels and other bath stuff in an old dresser between the tub and wall. The fuse box was located there as well.
We had a front porch with swing and glider and two metal porch chairs, painted a popular green of the era. I recall the time the swing broke, with me and my pregnant sister (12 yrs older than I) in it. It scared me so bad I began to cry. "Are you okay? Is the baby okay?" She laughed and assured me they were both fine.
I had a tire swing in later years from the Catawba tree, but started out with a swing nailed to the enormous branch of the weeping willow that dominated the back yard. It fell in a rain storm one day, after many years of rot/disease had hollowed it out. It missed the house, but not by much.
The back of the property (1/3 acre in all) was a garden, and I remember springs of Grandaddy pushing the hand plow to break up the ground. The corn that grew so tall, and the yummy watermelon that I couldn't wait to ripen. Later, he had blueberry bushes, but they perished once I got a horse. The garden became the pasture, the grapevine was devoured.
We had lost the plum trees years before to disease, but the pear tree was bowed with the weight of its fruit, and the fig tree was a thing of beauty. Granny grew the tiny pink climbing roses on a tree outside the back door, and had a round flower bed on the side of the house that she tended, wearing her sun hat (red hair, easily burned).
The aforementioned Catawba (catalpa) trees (two of them) were a bane to me. Worms! They got on the laundry, fell on you when you walked under them, and even got into the house (the one by the back door). And don't get me started on the sight of the caterpillar nests in them. YUK, GROSS! All those worms crawling around in what looked like a spider (EEEK) web. No thank you! Granddaddy loved them b/c they made excellent fishing bait.
There was no garage. We parked catty corner in the front yard to either side, or in the back yard, or the side street under the big pecan tree. We left our doors unlocked at night, or just the hook latch on. This changed as I grew older. We had an antennae, and only cable when I was a teenager.
Life was simple, nothing fancy. We often had hotdogs and homemade fries for supper, or eggs and grits, when money was tight. Granddaddy worked as a butcher in our small town at the mercantile (yes, that was it's name), and Granny was a seamstress at the local factory, until it closed down.
She made me many wonderful things, dresses and coats and doll clothes galore. I would come in from school (I walked, one block) and find her sewing away on her old cabinet sewer, patterns and cloth all over the bed. It was wonderful.
I miss that old house (but not enough to move back), and I still dream of it regularly. I hardly ever dream of the homes Dh and I have shared, it's always Granny's house where we live, and they are there with us.
We didn't have much money, but Granny's house was a warm, safe home for my mama, myself, my brother and sister. Thank you God, for grandparents that care, and sacrifice for their family! I am richly blessed to have those memories, and that family. This next Thursday, we will gather at my MIL's to celebrate Thanksgiving. We will have new family, and some will be gone from us, but I promise that Granny's House, and the people that lived there, will be high in my heart.
This post was inspired by the lovely blog at http://thelegacyofhome.blogspot.com/
Mrs. Sharon White has a new book available, about life at her mother's house, and you can find it on Amazon. Highly recommend her blog and her work.