I wish I had been home when they came. I was at work, but Doug was out front working in the yard. Two precious elder women got out of their car and stood in front of our house.
“I grew up here,” one of them reminisced.
I wrote on my other blog when we were first moving to this house that I had researched the family that owned this home for seventy-five years until 2000, when it slipped away into a collage of other quick owners and bank possessions. I knew that a large family lived here in the one main room before the rest was built on in 1952. I delighted in the names, Elmer, Leslie, Wesley, Dorothy, Ruth, Donelda. Mama was Jane and daddy was Leslie. We knew it had been loved for every nook of the yard holds a memory of some sort. Old fashioned roses held on. A single lilac clung to life. Unknown trees and a lovely old home whispered secrets of its history. But there was more.
One of the elder women was a daughter of Jane and Leslie, and by my calculations, she had to have been Dorothy. And the other spry woman was her sister-in-law. They remembered fondly the home and surroundings. The house was built in 1925, we knew that, but it was already built when they moved in that year. A one room house and only one of two on the entire street. Daddy worked at the steel mill. They owned ten of these lots (we sit on four remaining) and had cows. When the city outlawed cows, they sold part of their land to their friend who built a home down the way. The daughter recalled to Doug that her mother had gardens everywhere, lilacs bloomed fervently in the back yard, and the roses are her memory. They canned a great deal of food, and hand dug the root cellar (our basement).
Now here’s the interesting part relating to us. They grew many, many pumpkins. And when they had canned enough they would invite the children from the old orphanage down the street to come and pick out a pumpkin. Just like we were at our old place, I bet they were known as the pumpkin people! Imagine their response when they pulled up and saw our sign, Pumpkin Hollow!
They told us how they ordered the two Walnut trees from a catalogue. they confirmed that the front trees are a walnut and a crabapple. They laughed as they recalled her brother tying a line between two trees across the lake down the street and ziplining across, falling into the water, the local swimming hole.
I am sure they were devastated when the family home was lost to the bank. But as if a nod from Mama Jane from heaven propelled us to this place, it will again be filled with roses, gardens, chickens, canned goods filling the root cellar, and pumpkins. Lots of pumpkins and the love of a big family.