Monday, July 4, 2011

The old home place

My grandparents house for the past 50 years.  Mom coming up the driveway.
 We met up with my mother, my aunt, my brother and our cousin for a 4th of July picnic at my grandfather's house.
None of us had been there in years, since there has been a big rift within the family over decades of hurt, that eventually resulted in a long estrangement.
My mother called everyone last week and ordered us to come.  Grandpa is in his late 80's and no one lasts for ever.

The place is an acre right smack in the middle of a very affluent suburb.
My grandparents are not fancy people and the happened to purchase this house and land at the right time, right price, and went right on living their country way, despite the posh environment all around them.   They ran the only emergency foster home in Clackamas county  for years, and were not always popular with the neighbors. From the late 1950's into the mid 1980's they cared for over 500 children in this tiny farm house.    The house itself is dinky  and not much to look at, but my grandfather keeps it clean and neat and his yard is amazing.

The pond
Lilly pads! When I was a child my grandmother made my grandfather keep the pond covered, she was terrified of someone drowning.

Giant sequoia tree- someone gave this to my grandmother as a potted plant in the mid 60's and boy has it grown! Most of my life, off to the left there was a big garden and a potato patch, it looks funny without it. Off to the right there were rows of raspberries and a swing set.  My grandmother dried all of the household's clothing on these lines, and in winter on lines in the basement with a wood burning stove.  She used a wringer washer well into the 1980's.
"the timber" We weren't allowed to play out there when I was little, just in the backyard.  When I was really small they had a little white pony for me, and my mother had a black donkey.  My grandfather has a workshop back there and he secretly used to smoke! Which was really shocking... he also had a gigantic pile of wood chips, he would meticulously trim the garden, then chip everything, and eventually the pile grew to be about 10' high, and he had to build this elaborate ramps system to carry the chips to the top.  It was very cool and I was disappointed to see it gone today.   He gave all of the mulch to neighbors and family members, he said, he just didn't want to mess with it anymore.

My cousin (who was born on my 5th birthday!) and I in the picnic area. In the mid 70's my grandfather planted a big hedgerow, so that we could have gatherings in this shaded area, nice for play and eating out, shaded from the street, and the neighbors and the timber.

My neice

Democrats! Life long Democrats, union people and idealist.  Even today grandpa was ranting about how unjust it was that the rich can build up their school, while the poor go without.  I am sure his sign in the window rankles a few of his more conservative neighbors.

The front. When grandma was alive there was a giant snowball bush, that was a big pain in the ass to mow around, when she died the bush went with her to the great beyond.

The family in the picnic area.  If you can't find something to eat here, you really aren't trying! I made two pies, macaroni salad, potato salad, eggplant salad, cole slaw, and hummus.  My cousin brought fruit and drinks and mom made baked beans and a giant cake.

Me and my baby brother!       When he was a teen, he used to walk here from school, get a ladder climb up on the roof and crawl into a window.  My grandfather would say   "what on earth are you doing?"
Jason would always tell him "I wanted something to eat!" I suppose coming in the front door was too boring?  My grandparents were just like that, no people to judge if you needed to climb in a window.

Grandpa with the youngest great grandchild

Maxwell, ready to walk down to the lake.

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