There is a beautiful old farm house that sits on a crossroads near the town of Annville, Pa. It was my childhood home, where my dad rented a farm to do his dairy farming business until 1956 when he stepped out in faith and bought his own farm in Gettysburg, Pa. Two of my younger sisters and 3 of my living older siblings have fond memories of this old house. We recently were invited to view the house as it had been updated and restored to farm house beauty.
It wasn’t so beautiful in the 1950’s. It was just a farm house, where a man was making a living with his wife beside him raising nine children. One exciting day happened in July 1953 when the local newspaper came to the farm and took pictures of the many activities going on around the busy farm.
We always had time for supper back then, and each evening, except for Sunday we would gather around the table and share our meal and our day. Dad fed the youngest child, mom was ready to jump up to grab a towel to clean up the, at least one glass of milk that had been tipped, or bumped over during the meal. “No use crying over spilled milk,” was an often heard statement at our house. Mom gave birth to the ninth child in August of 1953. Do you see the radio on the window sill behind the youngest children? I sat in that sill listening to my favorite music station. When we moved to Gettysburg I was sorely disappointed when I learned that the same radio would not broadcast that same station.
This is the corner in the kitchen where the table sat for the 10 years we lived there. Sunday evenings were different because we always had our big meal after Church on Sundays, then back to church in the evening with no supper. After church mom would fry us egg sandwiches to eat before going to bed. Today, about the only time I get hungry for an egg sandwich is a Sunday evening.
Another kitchen place was the old sink where my sister and I learned to wash dishes, we washed stacks of them with no few tears, arguments or laughter.
There is a funny twist to this story as we also had a chance to visit the farm back in 2006, exactly 50 years from when we moved from there. We took some pictures on that visit as well. The most surprising thing about that visit is that virtually nothing had changed in 50 years. When I walked into the house in 2006, I literally was 11 years old. Everything including the linoleum on the kitchen floor and the paint on the living room wall were the same. It was well worn, but we recognized it. Still being rented, the house was not well taken care of.
Here is the living room today.
Another much loved place in this house were the two staircases. The one in the hallway went up three stories and had a wonderful Bannister.
The one in the kitchen holds memories of sitting on the steps singing with Dad while he played his harmonica and also during Hurricane Hazel to keep the fear factor at a low level.
This is the door opposite the kitchen entrance, and what greeted us in 2006.
Thankfully this is what it looks like today.
Outside had it’s pleasures as well. Plenty of yard to play in, ride bike and even a small woods to climb trees. These posts were there in the 50’s with a hedge around the entire yard. I think I remember that Dad hated that hedge for it had to be trimmed too often to suit him.
It was a nicer day when we visited in 2006. This is the front yard with the stone summer house, where in the warm weather Saturday night bathing took place in washtubs. How else do you raise 9 kids with one bathroom?
This is the front yard from across the road. There is a set of cement steps on the back that went down to the mailbox. We would hold school and Sunday School on those steps as kids, and we could name every car that went past from 1949 to 1956. The steps to the mailbox in the Gettysburg house were too close to a busy road, so those games came to an end.
These walls do a lot more talking in my book “A Wish Called Wanda,” still available in digital form. Check it out by clicking the link above. It’s the story of my life from birth till marriage. If you enjoy reading happy stories from days gone by, set in a functional family tradition, you will like this book.