The Old Homeplace

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I wonder how we managed.

There were six of us living in a two bedroom house. My mom said the house was completed in January 1937 or 1939. She couldn't remember the exact date.

I can remember feeling extremely proud of that new house.

It had one bath, no shower.

A door from each bedroom opened into the small bathroom. If you opened both doors, they folded back almost touching and hid the tub which was behind the opened doors.

The tub was very deep, unlike the tubs of today. It still exists in that old house I call the homeplace in Missouri. Today my mom and dad are deceased and the house is owned by my youngest brother. He doesn't live there, but I'm glad it stayed in the family.

The white sink was one of those old fashioned bathroom sinks with no cabinet beneath. The water pipes were exposed beneath the small round sink, nothing fancy by today's standard.

There was a small medicine cabinet on the wall above the sink.

I wonder now how we managed to share that one small bathroom. I don't recall any major conflicts as we "took turns" in the bathroom on school mornings.

I know that we didn't take baths in the mornings. That was reserved for nighttimes or weekends.

My dad was first in line because he left the house ahead of the rest of us. He had usually shaved and left for work before the rest of us got up.

My sister and I both had to brush our teeth and wash up at the one sink and so did my older brother. During my school years, my younger brother was home with my mother because he was a late in life baby. He was the only one of us born in the old homeplace.

My sister and I shared a double bed in the back bedroom. My older brother slept on a half bed in the corner. Mom and dad and my younger brother shared the other bedroom.

There was a big gas furnace in the front room. Sometimes in the winter when our bedroom was so cold, my sister and I would grab our clothes and dress in the front room by the warmth of the furnace. Our bedroom was always cold and our bed coverings heavy. Sometimes mom piled so many heavy quilts on the bed that we could hardly turn over during the night.

There were five rooms in the house, including a dining room.

The crown molding and the baseboards in the living room and dining room were wide, probably six inches wide. An opening between the front room and dining room was also framed with wide facing.

The kitchen was small, but there was a food pantry, the size of a small closet. There, my mother stacked her canned goods, and non perishables. Often stored there would be unshelled pecans, towsacks of them that had fallen from our two pecan trees.

We lived on a gravel road, heavily traveled because it was a direct route to Brown Shoe Company where many townspeople worked. The shoe factory has been closed for many years, due to business being shipped overseas.

Dust was usually flying through the air during the daylight hours, settling into the small homes that lined the busy road.

We were kept busy fighting the dust and dirt that settled onto tables, furniture, floors and everywhere.

The dust rag and straw broom got a daily workout.

We had one black and white television set, a console record player and radio for entertainment.

Also we had games, like checkers, Monopoly, dominoes, and cards. As youngsters, after dark we would sometimes go outside and play hide and seek, kick the can, or keep out of the ditch.

Later on, my brothers had a makeshift basketball court where they shot baskets.

There was one black rotary telephone that sat on a table in the front room.

Actually, the phone wasn't used that much. It sat silent most of the time.

Mom was always uncomfortable dialing the phone and would ask me to dial a number for her. I don't think she got comfortable with a phone until after all the kids grew up and left home.

Can we ever really go home again?

I don't think so. Sometimes I drive past the old homeplace and I get melancholy when I remember. Time has taken its toll on the place I called home. It isn't the same.

But it could never be the same, not with mom and dad gone.

Too many years have gone by.

Maybe it's okay to reminisce.

But I can't go back.