106 Years of History
After living in the same house for 106 years, my grandfather died in 2020. I was tasked with helping to sort through the stuff in the house and the barn/garage. Apparently, my grandparents never threw anything away. It was like visiting a museum! Many things were either garbage or commonplace items, but there were also more than a few objects of interest, some of them quite old.
The model barn shown above was under the basement stairs and nobody knows why it exists. There were also a collection of several gas lamps, including one that had been converted to electricity. There were two towel racks of the kind that stick to the wall and splay out. There was a butter churn that I never saw before it was sold, but I am told it was the kind with crank and paddles and it was glass.
Also in the basement was a tabletop grain mill. There was a “demagnetizer.” When he was alive, my grandfather showed me how it would suck a long bolt through it and spit it out the other side.
In the storeroom was what appeared to be a model of a Victorian “fainting couch.” Only later did we find a note indicating that it was once used as a doll couch. There was also a doll in an old carriage.
Paintings found in every room in the house were painted by my mother. Most of them were of birds or landscapes. There were so many, we had to get rid of some of them.
My grandparents also had quite the collection of china sets that they never used, fancy glassware, and fancy candles, such as this snail:
In the barn were cobbling tools. My grandmother used to make clothes for the family, but no one remembers anybody making shoes. There were also milk bottles, potatoe sacks, and nail kegs from companies no one has ever heard of. There were two old metal trash cans. There was a collection of old doors in the slowly-collapsing shed.
There were railroad spikes. There was a railroad lock on the bracket of a shelf in the barn that nobody had ever been able to find a key for. My grandfather did used to work as the guy who put the crossing bar up and down, but this lock was already there when his parents bought the place.
The barn used to be a schoolhouse and we found a single desk hidden in the corner. It appears that when placed in a row and bolted to the floor, the kids would sit on the chair part of the one in back and use the desk part of the one in front. No wonder pigtails were pulled!
Then there were the numerous tools, such as the post digger, and the pitchfork, and the wheelbarrow I used to take rides in as a kid. Look at all this cool stuff!
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My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.