The farmhouse

I grew up in the United States on a dairy farm in the state of Pennsylvania, in pastoral Chester County. Lots of trees, grass and streams running through meadows with many Holstein cows were all part of my childhood.

My house was a three-story square house with a basement. Although it had a front door, I was the only one who used it with any regularity and that was to get to my tree house more quickly, or to go out and practice walking on the top of the white board fence that surrounded the yard. The rest of the family always used the side entrance, through the screen porch. The screen porch was used as a sleeping porch in the summertime. Air conditioning was not something that was ever used back then and the porch was welcome relief from the heat of the second and third floors of the house.

As you came into the house, the kitchen was the first room, with only a countertop dividing it from the dining room. Interestingly, I learned the difference between right and left in that kitchen. While Mom was outside milking the cows in the afternoon, I often got dinner on the table and made a lot of cakes and cookies. I used our Mixmaster mixer, and the right beater always had to be on the right side (because it was curved to match the bowl) and I could remember that the right side was the side the barn was on. We ate breakfast at the kitchen table, but lunch and dinner were served on the dining room table probably because it was a lot lighter from the three windows in the dining room. I remember a lilac bush outside the two west windows that during spring bloom time blew sweet scent into the house.

During my earlier childhood, the house had two enclosed porches on the front of the house that were closed-off and unused. By the time I was twelve years old, the one on the first floor had been made into a bright pine-paneled room where the stereo and piano resided. It was a pleasant place to practice. There was a wide opening to the living room which was on the east and north side of the house. That’s where the family gathered to watch Ed Sullivan and yes, Mom loved Lawrence Welk.

The stairs to the upper floors were in the middle of the house. They creaked with almost every step. I often could not sleep during a full moon and would sneak down the steps and wander around outside. It never occurred to me to be afraid; there were no close neighbors. I still can’t sleep well with bright moonlight outside. I knew where every creak and squeak in the steps would happen.

By the time I was twelve, the second enclosed porch had been renovated into a bedroom, making four bedrooms and one bathroom (with a claw footed tub), and a large storage closet on the second floor. Leading up to Christmas one year, I had discovered that Mom hid our presents in that closet. It took me several days, but I pried the scotch tape loose and saw every one of my gifts; I was disappointed on Christmas though when nothing new had been added to my stack. I had slept in each of the three kid bedrooms by that time, but when the porch was completed above the piano room, it became my bedroom.

I still dream about that farm, which makes me wonder what nightmares some kids must have that didn’t have that kind of idyllic childhood. I also probably have some 35mm slides of the farm, but nothing digital to put in this post.

Writing 101: Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?


Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

10 Replies to “The farmhouse”

  1. We’ve been gone a bit, so I haven’t gotten to read all your posts as they come in. What a good time I have had today catching up!! It makes me miss you, my friend. I am so glad that you are enjoying retirement – at least it seems that you are! “Oh, the places we’ll go and the things we will see!” I have run into a problem that I just haven’t taken the time to sort out (me and computers and all). I can’t post a comment thru the wordpress – something about being registered, but then it doesn’t go thru. Like I said, I just haven’t looked at it in depth. So sometimes they get read sooner than other times. Always, they are enjoyed. (but Carma was a little above me!) Good to read your “stories”. Love, Bren


    1. Thanks, Bren, my cousin has the same problem- although this one came through. There are times I need someone to talk to, so I usually go to my favorite coffee shop (where I have some prints hanging), chit-chat very briefly, then sit and listen as I work on a blog post, it’s enough to make me feel not so hermit-like. There’s a scrabble group that I keep telling myself to join, but when the day comes, I forget or have something else to do. Most days it’s good though. It’s so beautiful here with many flattish roads for biking. I keep telling the ranch manager I’ll be out to ride one day, haven’t done that either. Where have you been? I just got good Internet, can actually see FB now.


  2. I occasionally dream about that house too! And your Mom making me me wash my hair when I stayed with you. I was “reluctant” but she wouldn’t let me go home with dirty hair!


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