When I was a boy, we lived on a farm in Rockbridge County. We had over 200 acres of woods and rolling hills to explore. My grandmother lived right across the road. We always enjoyed walking across the road to visit my grandmother. She always took time to talk with us and ask how we were doing and what we were interested in.
Grandmother’s house was quite small. Downstairs there was a living room and a kitchen and upstairs there was a bedroom and a bathroom.
We had to be careful how much water we used because her water supply consisted of a cistern that collected the water that ran off the roof when it rained. If we had an extended dry spell, she had to have water delivered in a truck.
In her kitchen she had a wringer washing machine that she used to wash her clothes before hanging them on the clothesline to dry. Her cookstove was a combination wood and gas stove. On the left side of the stove was a wood burning firebox. The top of it was cast iron and you lifted the burners to add wood. When there was a fire going in the woodburning side it kept the kitchen warm while it cooked your dinner. The right side had gas burners. I am not certain but I believe that the oven could be heated by either wood or gas.
At the time I was much more interested in the delicious meals that came out of the oven than the specifics of its operation. I particularly remember the mincemeat pies that my grandmother used to make. She liked to listen to opera on the radio, which I remember thinking was very strange.
In the last few years of her life, she became a baseball fan. She used to listen to the Cincinatti Reds baseball games on the radio. She could only pick up the station after dark, so she usually missed the first few innings of the ball game.
She kept meticulous stats, filling in the missed innings later from the Sporting News. A few weeks after she passed away in October of 1989, the Reds swept the World Series.
My grandmother was always fascinated by Australia. She had made several trips there after she retired, and her house was full of books and artifacts from Australia. All of this was very interesting to me.
Her front porch was partially screened in and on nice days we would sit out on the screened porch and talk. Looking out from the front porch and across the dirt road were woods that ran down to the creek. Lining the road were redbud trees which erupted in color in the springtime. They were always her favorite.
My grandmother lived alone for nearly 30 years after my grandfather passed away. She lived a rich and fulfilling life and I was privileged to know her and to benefit from her wisdom and understanding.
Thinking back to spending time at my grandmother’s house as a boy, I think about how much simpler life was in many ways. The important things in life have not changed. Taking the time to learn from those who are older and wiser than us is more important than ever. I encourage you to spend time with your loved ones. Remember that safe and accessible homes make it easier to continue to live at home throughout the course of your life.
Call Us to Get Started
If we can help make your home a safer and more comfortable place to live please give us a call at 540-384-2064.
Chris Moore is the owner of Solid Rock Enterprises and writes a regular Housing Matters column for Senior News.