I’ve written about abandoned houses and the corresponding abandoned dreams (here). And I realized that our family farm house in Nebraska would probably join those ranks – too big, too old, too expensive to remodel. It made me sad but I began to see how it could all happen. It would happen. People move, people die, families grow somewhere else. Very common in rural areas.
The other day I was researching a post for my genealogy blog and checked Google Earth for the location of the old school near the family farm. Found it. Scrolled over to see the farm and was shocked to see all the building were demolished. Empty cellar pit left from the house and dark scars where they had burned the horse barn and workshop.
When we met in Wayne for Uncle George’s burial a couple of years ago, we were allowed into the house – it was up for sale then. We took lots of photos. Then we wandered through the barnyard venturing carefully into the old barns. I admit I took a couple of hasps that had fallen off and found an old curry comb that certainly looked as if it had been there for 50 or 60 years. It felt a little strange to take things, but now that I know they burned everything, I wish I’d taken more. I certainly hope someone salvaged things from the house – doors, fixtures, hardware.
I had expected to watch the slow demise of the house, not to have it just vanish. And the strange thing is that I think this affected me more than the loss of my childhood house would (it’s still occupied). I felt connected to Wayne even though I never lived there. The family owned the farm from 1916 to 1984. Most houses haven’t stayed in the family that long. I heard a lot of stories about the house and farm, saw hundreds of photos, and visited many times – walked that land. Now the buildings exist only in those photos and memories. And an old curry comb.