Friday, June 4, 2021

Goodbye to an Era

After having been away for more than 30 years, it was an emotional experience to be at my Ohio grandparent's farm again, where many of my best childhood memories were made.

Nine of us grandchildren, along with spouses, and several great-grandchildren, gathered at the farm over Memorial Day weekend to finish cleaning out the house. During two previous visits in 2019, cousins began the laborious task of sorting through and purging decades of accumulation.

Grandma and Grampa raised five children at the end of this quarter-mile-long lane. My mother, who passed away 19 years ago, grew up here, the youngest of five children.

Since I'm the oldest of nine grandchildren, and lived in Ohio until I was 14 years old, I have good memories of several summer weeks spent with Grandma and Grampa who passed away in 1990 and 1975 respectively.

While sorting through the detritus of 150 years of family keepsakes (including books and Bibles written in German from the mid-1800s), we came across a scrapbook with pictures of the house being build in the fall of 1946. It was beautiful!

Until a few years ago, a bachelor uncle lived here, until the age of 93. The property was neglected for many years. My grandmother was known for her beautiful gardens - flowers, vegetables, grapevines, and fruit trees. The structure attached to the right side of the house was her greenhouse that was added later. Grandma's iris that were found blooming were dug up to be relocated near family.

As a kid, I remember running up the concrete walkway to this side door into the house. It makes me sad to know the house will be razed.

Though it may not look like it in this picture, the barn, which was built in 1948, is still in good condition.

It was constructed with sturdy lumber and hand-hewn timbers.

Now it's being dismantled to reuse in other structures.

I watched Grandma hand-milk dairy cows in this space.

This was Grandma's chicken coop... where I wasn't allowed to go because I might unsettle the chickens so they wouldn't lay! A neighbor stopped by and shared that she remembered Grandma, and paid $1 for three dozen eggs.

Two finished quilts were found in the house... and tossed on the burn pile! But wait. They were not burned. Because this one has holes, it was used to protect a piece of furniture removed from the house and put in a trailer to be relocated. According to the third edition of Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Blocks, this is Monkey Wrench (Ohio Farmer 1898 - seems appropriate!)

I convinced my cousin to take this one. Those indigo colors are lovely, and the design is very interesting - four patches set in a diagonal block. According to the third edition of Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Blocks, it's a version of the "Radio Windmill" block called "Arabic Lattice" (Kansas City Star 1941). Both quilts are tied.

She has already washed it and sent me a picture taken after soaking and rinsing it three times! She said, "It was brown with dirt!" 

So, what about those 44 items I made from Grandma's vintage scraps? See previous blog post. My siblings, spouses, cousins, and cousins once-removed took them all. They couldn't have made me any happier. 

I also gave away two quilts. This "Plaid-ish" quilt, made from my scraps, is for the cousin who has been dealing with legal matters over the past two years. We are very grateful for everything he's done.

Another of my quilts was given to this sweet one month-old from my dad's side of the family. She's technically my first cousin twice-removed... a little doll.

I didn't bring too many things home with me from the farm because storage space is at a premium. Thankfully, a shirttail relative is taking Grandma's Singer treadle machine.

But I brought home whatever fabric items remained - several pieces of old clothing (like children's embroidered rompers) and embroidery - that were in a very old trunk. All those things are being sent to a Texas friend who will appreciate and use them.

Among the fabric items were 91 embroidery blocks, 9" X 9". Some had been embroidered - mostly redwork - and some had not. 

This clothesline peg apron design tickled me. Check out the bright aqua color of those peg people!

I kept these few things. Nothing is valuable; only sentimental.   

Living in nine different states, us nine cousins will likely not meet again. So, I've said goodbye to family, the farm, and an era my family will not experience again. Linda


  1. It is bittersweet, isn't it, the passing of the generations and their homes. Time marches on, but the memories remain.

  2. Oh Linda, I loved reading your story. You are amazing, making all those little pieces from your Grandma's collection, and giving them to family members. I bet you felt good! I love the plaidish quilt, and a great thought to give it to the one with all the legal headaches, of which I'm sure there were a few! My sister and I went to our childhood home in another town from where both of us now live, only to find it totally gone, and a truck stop in its place. My sister was very upset, I....well life goes on, and the house would have been very old. ( Not by US standards) Excuse my ignorance, but what is a first cousin twice removed?

  3. Great way to share your family history both in pictures and word. Great job. Thanks for sharing. See you soon I understand.

  4. Your story is lovely and full of wonderful memories and photos. It is hard to let those things go. Loved the house and the "don't bother the chickens" info. Those of us who were fortunate to have fabulous grandparents never really lose them. They live on through us. Peace.

  5. What a wonderful story Linda! You have documented the family history so beautifully in this post. Your family are sure to appreciate your generosity and crafting. I especially love the peg apron! it says something about the era, I think with the naive but cheerful pegs dancing across the pocket. The watches also look very special!

  6. Wow, how amazing that you could all meet up together at the farm. I'm so glad you have all those wonderful memories and what a wonderful way to share your Grandma's vintage scraps. You're a legend, Linda!

  7. We are so fortunate to have wonderful memories of growing up with our grandmothers and their lives of gardening at home, raising chickens and beef, making jam and chocolates, celebrating Christmas as a large family. It leaves sadness, but lots of great memories.

  8. Lovely post of your childhood memories on the farm with your grandparents. Glad you were able to be there with your family. New memories were made then too. My grandma's farm dates back to the late 1800s. They built a new barn in 1919 and then had a barn dance to celebrate. I have two window sashes from that barn as well as a copy of the advertisement for the dance. Sadly it's mostly all gone now.

  9. Such a precious time and very heartwarming to read of your memories. I’m so glad you had this family time together. My family is in just about this same phase.

  10. Thank you for a look at the final chapter of your grandparent's farm. I love that your family members shared the items you made from your grandmother's scraps. Giving a quilt to your cousin who handled the legal matters and to the newest baby really completes the circle for the farm.

  11. So happy that you had this last trip to the farm with cousins..... for generations there will be stories told when folks tell about the items they got from you. To my genealogy heart this is a special post.

  12. So nice to see your cousins selecting keepsakes you stitched from your grandmother's vintage fabric scraps. And oh, those wonderful redwork stitcheries! And did you get to keep the vintage peg apron, such treasures.

  13. How nice to have everyone together. On another topic, by happy coincidence I am teaching Plaidish next week. It’s great for learning about color vs value.

  14. Glad that you were able to make the trip to visit your extended family and the farm one last time, Linda! I'm sure you collected some wonderful new memories. You brought home some sweet treasures, as well!!

  15. Linda, what a treasured legacy you have with your words, your pictures, cousins and all the cousins that were able to share your stories and memories. You truly have a wonderful talent for sharing. I loved reading your story and seeing all the memories you discovered. My grandparents raised 12 children on the farm, but there is not the cohesiveness among the cousins to pull off this kind of cooperation. I had 35 first cousins at one time while growing up with 2 wonderful grandparents. Thanks for sharing.

  16. This has been a lovely journey. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. An end of an era indeed! But what great memories.

  17. I enjoyed reading this post so much. So glad you were able to join the rest of your family for this special time of sorting & sharing. I'm sure your family will treasure the keepsakes you made with your Grandmother's fabrics. So many memories & pics now all written down too.

  18. Loved hearing about this - what a treasure to be able to all get together to visit one last time!

  19. Oh my, what a "sentimental journey" for all of you. But a wonderful opportunity to gather with your family. Good you rescued those quilts off the burn pile. And they got to take home some of your pieces- also good. And no, sadly, we can't hold onto those things. But a last visit is a great memory for all.

  20. Thanks for sharing your family history with us.

    1. Thank YOU for taking the time to read this post! (I hope you read this so you know you're a "noreply-commenter." I am unable to reply because no email address is associated with your Google profile.)

  21. what a touching post. The barn is still beautiful and as you say, the good condition. The bones are strong.
    I'm happy some quilts were saved. Great penny squares! Love to see the different subjects.
    The farm may be gone, but you'll have fond memories forever!

  22. What a bittersweet trip down memory lane. I so enjoyed reading this. How lovely to be together with family.


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