Wednesday, March 28, 2018

#52Ancestors-Week 13-The Old Homestead

This may not seem like an "Old Homestead" to some, but it does to me.  My grandparents built their dream home in 1956, which is more than sixty years

ago now.  I was around eight years old and remember the house being built.  They had purchased five acres along the Illinois River.  The house was about two acres from the main road, with a railway track running through it near the road.  Then there was about three acres for the backyard, which ran to the river.

The house was a two bedroom, one bath ranch, with two big great rooms dividing the kitchen from the bedrooms.  One of the great rooms faced the front yard and had a big picture window.  The other great room faced the backyard and the back wall was almost all glass, facing the river. It was a beautiful view. There was a fireplace in this room.   The two great rooms were divided by double pocket doors.

The garage was under the house with a stairway leading up to the kitchen.  The other 3/4 of the basement was unfinished and was where my grandmother did her laundry.  I remember her using a wringer washing machine there.

For me, the outside was the most wonderful part of their "homestead".  Grandpa had a small shed where he kept tools, lawn mower, etc.  Down the hill in the
backyard was the "Gazebo", as we called it.  It was about the size of a one stall garage, with a concrete floor and was screened in.  Inside was a table that took up all of the middle of the room.  Chairs were along the table and along the walls.  Lots of people could fit in the gazebo.  When the weather was nice, we ate most of our dinners out there, with everyone helping to carry the dishes and food out there.

The property was a dream-come-true for kids.  My brother and I had all kinds of room to run and play.  We put pennies on the railroad tracks to smash them and listened for trains by putting out ears to the tracks.  We stood and waved as the trains rolled by and often the engineers would blow the whistle and wave to us.  We could go down to the river and wade in it and play.  In the winter, we ice skated on it.  In the spring we made rafts to try to sail away on adventures!

My grandfather had a pontoon boat, that was like the original party boat to us!  The kids and adults spent many afternoons out on the river on the pontoon boat.

Being the oldest grandchild, I spent many weekends at the house with my grandparents.  Even when I was in college, when I came home, I would go stay with them sometimes.

When my grandfather retired, they decided to move to Arizona for his health.  They had fifteen years in their dream home.  That doesn't seem very long to me now, but they had a wonderful time there.  Their home on the river has always been talked about in the family as where some of our very best memories were made.

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