Old Barn in Maggie Valley North Carolina
Old Barn in Florida
Anhttps://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/25/cees-fun-foto-challenge-houses-andor-barns/other old Barn in Florida
It began with an idea and a dream; start a family, build a house and barn and turn them in to a home. The babies came one by one and what was once boards and nails became a home filled with laughter and yes, some tears. Then the children grew up. They left for college or distance jobs. Their life journeys no longer needed the small frame house and old barn. It was forgotten and left to end its journey in neglect and disrepair.
Life on the creek was not too bad; at least I survived. Or did I?
I was in elementary school when they sold the farm and we moved to the outskirts of town. There would be no more freshly plowed fields to walk through crunching clods of dirt just to feel them crumble under our bare feet; no more deep well to draw cool water; no more faded gray barn that always smelled of dust and hay. But worst of all no more Hay-Burner to live in that barn. Momma was allowed to bring along a few chickens and the others were left to the people who bought our house. Momma and I cried because we didn’t want to leave our home but Daddy kept a stiff upper-lip. It was years later that I realized his heart was also breaking. Farming was his life and now the doctor said he could not do it anymore. So he gave up his dream, moved us to a house that wasn’t too bad at the start and he went to work as a night security guard at a sawmill.
Everything went well for a few years. We were the first family on the street to get a television. All the kids from several blocks gathered in our living-room every afternoon Monday through Friday to watch Circle-Six Ranch. They were sprawled on every place to sit and some lay with their elbows on the floor and heads resting in their hands almost hypnotized by the phony cowboy on the small black and white screen. They waited patiently for the cartoons. Momma gladly welcomed them and often served Vanilla Wafer cookies and Kool-Aid. She would hustle them out the door before dark and dinner time. If it was cold she would have a smile on her face as she bundled the little ones in sweaters, coats and some had hats, as she instructed the older kids to make sure everyone got home safely.
Then our lives changed completely. It was his birthday and when Daddy got home from work just as the sky was turning light gray with streaks of yellow from the sun that was trying to peep over the tree line behind our house we sang Happy Birthday. Momma had made his favorite Coconut Cake. I was promised a big slice when I got home. Then with a quick hug, kiss and “I love you” I was hustled off to school.
Those were the last words my Daddy and I said to each other. He had a heart attack and died later that morning.
All the neighbors gathered to console us and they brought food; which I later learned was The Creek Folks way to show they cared. I had never seen so many cakes, pies and fried chicken. But the huge lumps in my throat and stomach would not let me eat a bite. Momma couldn’t eat either. She stayed busy making and serving coffee and sweet iced tea and thanking everyone.
Yes, our life on the Creek changed and maybe some would view it as worse and some as better; the truth is up to the individual. We were soon to learn what the Creek life was really like.
Thank you for stopping by and of course there will be more Creek tales in the future.
Many would look down their noses at the place where I grew up. It was then and is today affectionately known as “The Creek.” If you are from there or ever stayed there then you will know it even though I won’t name the town or even the state.
The Creek is a neighborhood of struggling working class folks. The houses aren’t large or fancy and most are simple frame homes. Some are filled to the brim with growing children where both parents have to work to make ends meet. Most of the yards have huge old oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and in the back or on the side will be a place designated for a vegetable garden which usually has something growing in it year round. There are clothes lines strung across the back yard where the women hang the laundry out to dry. It is a beautiful sight to see the large, usually white, sheets flapping in a summer breeze. Now you can buy and add to your wash all the fancy fabric softeners you want but you will never have the fresh clean scent you get from clothes hanging on a line and drying in the fresh air and sunshine. As a child you learn early that unless you want your fanny tanned you better stay clear of the clothes hanging on the line. If Momma finds tiny prints from your dirty little hands you will regret the day.
As I said all the neighbors who are physically able usually have a garden growing year round. The Creek people share what they grow; some might have collards, others peas, others beans and almost all have a tomato plant or two. They plant Marigolds in with the vegetables because it keeps the insects away without chemicals. The folks on the Creek were organic before anyone knew what organic meant. Now when they go to share they will say “C’mon on over and get you a mess of collards (or what have you.)” It is never “some” or “enough for a meal.” If you are truly from the south you know it always has been and always will be “a mess.” And the evening meal isn’t dinner it is supper and what most call lunch in the south we call dinner.
Neighbors watch out for neighbors and all keep their eyes on the kids. If a mom knows that both parents are at work at a meal time she will have her kids run over and tell their kids to “C’mon and eat.” On the other hand if any kid needs his fanny popped for getting into something he shouldn’t any neighbor that sees him will happily oblige. And the worse part, they will tell your parents so you get it again when you get home. We played baseball in the street, which was red clay, and a passing car slowed as the game stopped and resumed once the dust had settled. In the early evening we gathered under the street light and played hide-and-seek while our parents sat on the front porches and visited with each other. The older children usually helped the younger children find a good hiding spot and all looked out for each other. We were more like family than neighbors.
There will be more Creek stories in the future. It was a poor neighborhood but a wonderful place to raise children. We were taught to love God and thank Him for all our blessings. Parents might be busy making a living but they took time to listen to their kids and visit for a few minutes with their neighbors. Today people live beside each other for years and don’t even know who lives next door.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing some of my memories. As I’ve told you before some are good and some are bad but the good out weighs the bad. God Bless.
Last week I went on a ride in search of abandoned buildings to take photos. There is one particular house on the main street of Thonotosassa that has stood empty and is slowly falling apart and I wanted to get a photo of it before it becomes history. After taking that picture I saw this lovely little house close by. It seems to invite someone to move in and love it. Then I just drove around in the country and found several places that are interesting and has so much charm and personality. These wonderful places are being torn down and huge mansions, that have about as much character as a hangnail, are taking their place. It is a shame. So many of the new homes look just like the one beside it. Would I feel this way if I could afford one of the mansions? I believe the answer is “yes.” I prefer the older homes with personalities and stories they could tell if only they could talk. I suppose some would say the new homes are progress but what a price for progress. Are we losing our individuality in order to keep up with society in general? I think this is a good question to ponder so I’ll think about it. In the mean time I will keep searching for the interesting old places and keep taking photos so when they all become history at least their memory will mean something to someone.
Thanks for stopping by. Please come back soon.
notes from a Swedish amateur photographer © Ulrika Undén
Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)
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