March 21 • 06:09 AM

Time to downsize, leave 'Queen' behind

July 11, 2007
By now, probably most of you have heard that Daisy and I plan on moving. It was not a snap decision, it was not an easy decision. After all, I have lived here for 75 years.

I fell in love with this big, Victorian farmhome the very first time my parents, brother Roy and I went through it. Roy and I even got lost in the big upstairs. A steep staircase from the back part of the house to the two room servants quarters; a large front hallway with a beautiful winding oak staircase leading to three bedrooms. A door that locks, separates the two back rooms from the front three bedrooms. I chose the large front bedroom with its walk-in closet. That was my thirteen dollies' bedroom. Except, usually all thirteen slept with me. Each night I would rotate so each had a turn to sleep beside me.

As a little girl I named our home Queen. She seemed so regal. Before there were so many trees between Hough's hill and our home on the corner of Hough and Shoemaker roads, I could see Queen as we broke over the hill. She seemed to be sending a message that she expected her occupants to be God-fearing, honest and upright. She also liked the happy sounds of chidren playing upstairs or out on the large lawn. My Mom always said, "You can't have a well-kept lawn and kids too." She preferred seeing the neighborhood kids playing on it. Lots of kids. Messers, Marion Johnson, Houghs, Hough's hired man's kids, the Evelys. Seven of them in a little house and not much lawn. Our lawn was the meeting place at noon while our parents napped. We played anti-I over the milk house, hide-and-seek and that ball game where the pitcher throws the ball, you bat it and run to one base and back to place before being tagged out. Many afternoons it was down to Messer's creek (crick) for a swim. Our moms had a motto, "First we work and then we play." We did our chores in the morning.

Our own children, Lee, Carol and Alan had much the same fun but not so many neighbor kids.

So, Daisy and I decided it was time to downsize and go to Independence Village in Frankenmuth. I can take Daisy because she is a companion dog from Paws-with-a-Cause. I will only be 18 miles from Lee. I have bugged Carol and Alan for 10 years, now I'll bug Lee for the next 10 years.

Of course, that meant cleaning out 79 years of gathering 'stuff.' My parents bought this farm in 1928. Two weekends ago my family all arrived complete with trailers and tents, a dumpster was delivered and they started throwing that 'stuff' out an upstairs window. I had set aside a few things I thought I could not survive without and made a list of things that were 'up for grabs.'

I stayed downstairs so I could not see what was being thrown out. I am such a sentimentalist and can't throw memories away. Carol is smart and doesn't save anything. For instance, the horse blankets. "Mother, what in the world were you saving them for, they were in terrible condition.!" I just shrugged my shoulders.

'Way-back-when,' the model T Ford was put up on blocks and we went to church with the horse and cutter. We were kept cozy warm beneath the horse blankets. We attended the old Baptist Church on East St. Clair Street There was a shed sort of at the side and back of the church where the horses waited until church was over. When we went to Port Huron to Grandma and Grandpa Miller's for Thanksgiving weekend, soapstones were warmed in the Range Eternal's oven, wrapped in flannel and put at our feet. We were snugly tucked in with the horse blankets. Wonderful horse blanket memories.

But, a word of advice. Don't save 'STUFF.'

—Country Cousin

P.S. Put Thursday evening, July 19, on your calendar. It is the annual Ice Cream Social from 6-8 p.m. at the West Berlin United Methodist Church on Holmes Road in Allenton.

Gertie is an Almont native and historian. She has been writing a local column for us for over 30 years. You'll enjoy her friendly and colorful style of writing.
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