The Family Farm

A woman's visit to the old farmhouse that had belonged to her great-grandparents sparked childhood memories.

| Summer 2017

  • The old farmhouse that belonged to the author's great-grandparents, as it looked more than 40 years later, when she visited it.
    Photo courtesy Darlene J. Gage
  • The family farm owned by the author's great-grandparents, as it looked in the 1940s.
    Photo courtesy Darlene J. Gage

 It had been 42 years since I'd last seen my great-grandparents' farm. It was where my mom's side of our family would gather from time to time during my childhood. It was a haven for my siblings and me. My father was a minister, and we moved often, so the farm provided us children with a sense of belonging, a sense of roots.

The farm was later owned by my mom's uncle, who was an old bachelor when he finally married. When he passed away many years ago, the farm went to his stepson.

Before visiting the farm a few years ago, I contacted my great-uncle's stepson to make sure he didn't care if we visited and took a look around the old place. He said it was fine and he would unlock the gate for us. He was a farmer, and harvest was in full swing, so he needed to be in the fields. I was actually happy about that, because I preferred it just be my husband and me, so we could take our time.

This was the first time my husband would see the place I'd talked about for years. The farm was nestled between two rugged hills, reached only by traveling on gravel roads. I couldn't believe it was still so secluded from the modern world.

First Glimpse

When we arrived, my husband got out of the car and opened the old rusted gate. You had to grab the end of the gate, lift up, and then swing it inward toward the old barn that sat nearby.

The driveway into the farmyard hadn't changed a bit. It was constructed of dirt, and was still full of potholes. Gone, however, was the little building that used to house the new chicks in spring. Most of the outbuildings were gone. The barn, or what was left of it, was still there, though.

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