Edit: This SHOULD be the House That Mac BOUGHT, but that doesn't sound NEARLY as good. Geroge Sylvester BUILT it, he was Mac's dad, my GREAT grandpa!!! The house was built either in the late 1800's or the very early 1900's - - - so it is a centenarian.
Ten of the fifteen babies were born right in this house. My Uncle Ron (6) was the first one born here, and then all the rest followed suit in pretty rapid succession.
I had to come back to this post and add this edit - - - I have some cousins whose initials are BOB JR and GEORGE RICHARD and they would have given me FITS if I left this information incorrect. They are already accusing me of trying to become the "matriarch" of the family, which I am not - - - though they could do worse for matriarchs than moi.
These are my paternal grandparents, Mac and Vera, as they looked in the 1950's and in my earliest remembrances of them.
Grandpa Mac, being a master carpenter, built this home for his family. Most of their babies were born right here- - - and there were fifteen babies, thirteen of which grew to be adults. My dad, number 9, is one of the six boys and seven girls who lived to grow up.
In this house, 3740 South Nebraska Street, those children were raised to work, play, love, and laugh. They spent long evenings sitting around the oval dining room table doing their homework or playing around the wooden Monopoly board that Grandpa Mac made for them, or gathered around the piano in the parlor singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness" or "Wonderful Grace of Jesus."
Once during his boyhood school days, my dad remembers seeing smoke billowing in the sky ahead of him as he walked home from school. The closer he got to home, the closer he was to the smoke. He began to run - - - fearing it was his house, THIS house that was on fire. Sure enough, the second floor, the bedroom floor was burning. The fire was put out, and Grandpa Mac rebuilt the second floor.
In my earliest memories, this house was dusky yellow. Later, when I was a young adult, it morphed into a sea foam green. Still later, when my own children were nearly grown, it was covered in this gray vinyl siding.
I didn't inherit the love of Monopoly - - - but the rest of those home place images are burned into my memory because all the way into my adulthood, we continued to gather there as an extended family. Sometimes we came back, formed a Tent City in the side yard, and stayed for a week or more to paint or roof the house. There was always a meal or two where as many of the original 13 as were present still sat around that same oval dining room table, grandpa Mac at one end and Grandma Vera at the other, later with just Grandma Vera at the head. The rest of us crowded as near as we could around satellite tables in the living room. It became a "rite of passage" to be old enough to be deemed ready to sit at the main table.
Once when I was a small girl and only our family was seated around that table with my grandparents, I saw Grandpa Mac get a large scoop of ice cream instead of milk on his cereal in the morning. I remember asking why I couldn't have ice cream too and therewith learned the valuable lesson that in this world we do not all receive exactly the same things, and that some privileges come with age and experience.
Once when there was a large crowd of us, far too many to all be seated in the dining room, my brother-in-law Joe and Uncle Ben out at the satellite tables suddenly began to laugh. At first it was just a silent shaking of the shoulders kind of laugh - - - but as the rest of us around those satellite tables began to try to discover what was funny, they disintegrated into tears-rolling-down-the-cheeks laughter - - -and all of us with them, though to this day none of the REST of us know what was so funny.
I have so many more memories: card games around the dining room table, sitting on the window box seat learning cat's in the cradle from three of my cousins, climbing on the ladder to "help" paint, smelling the wonderful blend of hardwood and cooking as I walked in the front door - - - which odor said, "This is grandma's house."
But all good things (and praise God, bad things too!) must come to an end. Grandpa Mac moved from 3740 South Nebraska Street to heaven first. For many years Grandma lived on alone in her house.
When she was in her late eighties, it became too difficult for her to live alone. My parents, who lived in the same town, moved in with her. My Uncle Ron, one of dad's brothers, and his wife, Alice Mae, came from California to help. At first, they flew back and forth spelling my parents at intervals. Eventually, Uncle Ron moved here permanently, bought the house, and after Grandma's death (by this time she was in her nineties) completely restored and renovated the house.
When Uncle Ron passed on to heaven, Aunt Alice Mae lived here alone - - - until Memorial Day. This Memorial Day - - - when she too went on to join the other members of the family who were waiting for her around the dining table in the new mansion, where there are many rooms, and where they sing with the heavenly host - - - and I imagine they are still singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness"
Though our family is very large, there is no one in a position to purchase the house and keep it. In fact, my father being the trustee, already has sold it. It will move into new hands on or near July 15.
I can tell you that there is great conflict in my soul over this loss. We in America are becoming a rootless society. We move frequently and far. Items of family remembrance have a way of slipping through our fingertips. (I think this is why we all love and gravitate to antiques - - - but that is the subject of another post.)
3740 South Nebraska was our last tangible family root, and now it is being severed from our illusive tree. My heart breaks. I've racked my brain trying to come up with a way to buy "our" house and keep it forever. As if I would last forever.
Then yesterday, in her "Sunday Favorites" repost, Podso told a story about her grandmother's house, only her story is from the perspective of 38 years after the house was no longer theirs. Somehow in her words, which you can find here, I found a little balm for my rootless soul. Things are just things, afterall, and while they can pass into new hands, the memories that they imparted will live on in my heart.
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NEWS FLASH ADDENDUM: The new owner contacted me in my comments. She is a BLOGGER, and low and behold I've buzzed through her blog in the past. How amazing is that? You can find her and her blog here.
Sing with me: "It's a small bloggyworld after all, it's a small bloggyworld after all . . ."