Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Fledgling Flight

Our Fledgling Flight

On this our fledgling flight across the way from our window to yours, R.H. and I celebrate the 22nd anniversary of first turning the key of this 1920 farmhouse that sits sweetly in a valley. We remember that morning in late September of 1990 when we drove up the long driveway of this place we love so much. A place not so easily found, but then the best things in life rarely are. May I tell you about it?

It was the day before the deadline we'd set to find a house or forget about it until spring. We'd been packed for two months, had our mortgage approved for nearly three and seen two contracts fall through due to inspection problems. Discouraged from spending four months following one house lead after another, it was no longer an exciting game to us or to our two younger sons. The week before our mortgage paperwork was due to expire, we took one last look at the dogeared MLS book.

Not wanting to waste our realtor's time again, we decided to drive by the "farmhouse with barn and 24-acres." We only found one for-sale sign on the street as we circled around a wreck by the side of the road, a car turned upside down, police car and tow truck at the scene in front of a small brown frame house, too small for us and no barn in sight. Up and down the street we searched, returning at last to the site of the car accident that had by then been cleared. We discovered that the for-sale sign was not in front of the little brown house but in the edge of the driveway that ran beside it.

We pulled in, drove slowly down the driveway, rounded a bend, and saw an old white farmhouse with a tin roof, porch across the front. Unprepossessing, no froufrou storybook cottage here, but it had a charm to it.

                                                                Christmas 1990




Small though. Would there be enough room for us? A man working in the yard told us the owners weren't at home but we could walk around outside. Everything was so still and quiet, the sun making patterns of shade through the trees overhead. We walked alongside the creek--another item on our wish list--to the back of the house, and yes, it was a small house but with a large room added on at the back. We peeked in a big window where an old round oak dining table stood, wildflowers in a vase in the middle. Wildflowers. We glimpsed a fireplace with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on each side.

By the time we stepped up on the small deck at the rear, we were in a daze. Three sugar maples formed an umbrella of green over the back yard, and to the side of the deck was a humongous tree trunk. We leaned our heads back to look up to the largest American elm tree we had ever seen, the kind we knew had been mostly wiped out by Dutch elm disease.

                                                                November 1, 1990



Right then and there R.H. mentally signed the contract.

But there was more to see. On the far side of the creek stood an old red barn with Black Angus grazing outside. It stood at the bottom of a hillside pasture.

                                                            November 1, 1990



On the other side of the house a wooded lot climbed sharply to a plateau. Built into the side of the hill was a flat-topped root cellar with sides of yellow limestone.

                                                                          1992


A concrete block smokehouse was close to the house. Behind, blocking the view to a valley, was a long chicken house. Circling the house, back around to the front we saw a stone barn built into the hillside, a lean-to woodshed attached that would make a good carport when dug out.

                                                            November 1, 1990


We knew this was our house.

We went home to call our realtor, begging him to set up an appointment to see the inside as soon as possible, getting our sons out of school to view it with us. I had only one worry as we waited the hours out. Would it be a happy house? We had been through houses where the atmosphere seemed heavy. I wanted so much for the inside of this house to feel as peaceful as the outside. I needn't have worried. That afternoon we entered a house of peace and contentment and later found out that the seller was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Think of that!

Downstairs there were two bedrooms, living room, an extra room we could use as an office for our family business, a tiny bathroom, the only one in the house, a narrow kitchen with slanted ceiling that obviously had been made from a former long porch. The cooking part of the kitchen was crowded into one end. You could stand in the middle of it, pivot and touch sink, refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. And a tiny hot water heater. In the middle of the long kitchen, at the edge of the new family room, was a bar with storage underneath, and at the opposite end was a wall of built-in cupboards, and a tiny old gas stove. The walls were all covered in daisy wallpaper. The linoleum was ancient, cracked.

The family room was large with a bead board vaulted ceiling and that large window where the dining table sat, wildflowers in a vase. There was the fireplace and the spacious bookcases.

                                                                  Christmas 1990



And in a small closet was a laundry room. Upstairs the boys rushed to claim their bedrooms with sloping ceilings and an in-the-treetops air. The boys were happy. We were happy. One bathroom? We could manage. A less than desirable kitchen? No problem. No central heat and air? Who needed it? We signed a contract immediately, angering two families that had been coming to see the property over and over and yet dragging their feet over signing a contract. 

Of course they had; the house was ours. We had come home to Valley View.

                                                                         2012






54 comments:

  1. Oh my, you are quite the eloquent writer! I enjoyed this immensely. You may find yourself on something of mine tomorrow. I want to share you with the world. Congrats on your first very well written post (and I was a professional writing major in college, so I think this gives me the right to say so!)
    Brenda

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  2. My goodness, Brenda! Thank you so much, and you know I could not have done this without your help. This is very exciting for me. After visiting your blogging blog again today, I realize there is much more for me to learn. I am grateful for this opportunity to join the other bloggers I have enjoyed over the past two years. Your comment is so gracious.
    Dewena

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  3. Great job mom! I know how long you have been preparing for this so now have fun! Looking forward to reading more from the best writer I know!
    You're son, Gurn

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    1. Oh, you're so sweet, Gurn! Thank you, and Happy Birthday tomorrow! And thank you for patiently answering my computer questions.
      Love you,
      Mom

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  4. I found this through Brenda's blog. Your writing style reminds me of Little House On The Prairie books.....cozy and somehow drawing a person in. Gorgeous property!

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    1. Wow! To be reminded of the books I read our daughter when she was little is a lovely comment. Thank you so much.

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  5. Thanks for sharing the story of your home, I really enjoyed it.

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    1. Thank you so much. It's great to share a story that means a lot to our family.

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  6. Hi DeWena- I found you through Brenda and I am entranced. I am your newest follower. I see your son found you, too. How wonderful is that...and I am so glad Brenda helped you get started. I SOOOO understand the "finding the right house" process. You did good-very, very good. Pop by and see me when you can- I post a little nonsense to make people smile- xo Diana

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    1. Thank you for following me, Diana! And yes, I'm thrilled to have 2 sons following me. The 3rd son tried last night to leave a long comment for me only to have it disappear because of not choosing a google account. How frustrating for him and how I wish I could have read it. Maybe he'll try again. I visited you and those costumes are amazing. What fun! I'll look forward to reading you too. And yes, God bless Brenda at Cozy Little House!

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  7. Welcome to the world of blogging, Dewena! You are a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    xo
    Claudia

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    1. Thank you for your welcome, Claudia. Especially when your heart is heavy for all that Sandy has done. I have always loved when you and Brenda write about the charms of small house living. You both bring it down to enjoying the simple things of life--like that sweet potato of yours. I'm glad you didn't throw it away.

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  8. Oh, I've added you to my blog roll, as well. Happy Blogging!

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  9. Looks so cozy! !! Well im a new reader so ill be adding you to my blog roll!

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    1. Thank you again, Andy, and I've added you too. I'll enjoy reading about your family and your labs!

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  10. Dewena - Welcom!! Your first post was just wonderful. I love the story of your house hunting. What a beautiful story. I came from Brenda's Cozy Little House. I am fairly new also and Brenda is responsible for me too!! She helped me so much and I couldn't do my blog without her expertise!!

    Look forward to reading your blogs.

    Judy

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    1. Thank you so much, Judy! I don't think I'll ever get over being amazed at how patient and willing to help that Brenda has been. And I think those white and green plates with the cherries on them that you found recently will be so much fun to use. I've never seen ones like them. R.H. and I enjoyed this morning visiting a couple of Goodwill stores and found a stack of plain little cream colored plates, made in America, that just spoke to me. So much fun and the best kind of recycling, don't you think?

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  11. I loved this story ! I hope that you intend to write often! I'll be back! :)

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    1. Thank you! I am beyond excited about writing often! And R.H. is hoping that some day he'll become as proficient with photography for our blog that Brenda is.

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  12. Sigh....I simply love your farmhouse cottage and the story along with it! We felt similar about our own house. (Love at first drive by!) You write wonderfully! Welcome to the blogging world!
    Blessings,
    Leslie

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    1. Thank you, Leslie! And I have often visited your cooking blog. Your writing and pictures are so good. And the way you rescued your cookies looks delicious. Reminded me of the time my fruitcake fell apart. The chunks of it in layers with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top was a hit, even with people who claim to hate fruitcake.

      I love the pictures of your Kentucky home too.

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  13. Welcome to blogland! Loved your story.

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    1. Thank you so much, that's so nice of you!

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  14. What a sweet, sweet story of love. Welcome to blogging. I look so forward to your posts!

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    1. Thank you, Lottie. I'll look forward to reading about your life in the Blue Cottage.

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  15. Welcome to the blog world! What a lovely home you have. I am going to follow you in my reader and look forward to more posts.

    I still remember my first view of our home too. I was so excited because it had TWO bathrooms instead of one, and it also had a finished laundry room instead of a "dungeon." Lol!

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    1. Thank you so much. Don't you wonder how families with 8 children ever made it with one bathroom, or an outhouse? I was so happy that our house had a laundry room in the house, even if it was in a closet because I dreaded climbing the steep stairs down to the dungeon/basement, especially after I fell head first down them carrying a ham in a roasting pan that I was carrying down to the extra refrigerator.

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  16. Yes, it was meant to be yours - how delightful a setting! Can't wait to read more posts in the future, I found you at Brenda's Welcome Wagon. Hugs ~ Mary

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    1. Thank you so much, again! And super thanks to Brenda!

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  17. I really enjoyed reading about your home. You have a gift in writing for sure. Loved the pictures of your home even at the beginning. Brenda is so sweet to help everyone.
    Come visit me at Cozy Blanket. I am signing up to be a new follower. Welcome.

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    1. Hi Debby, thank you so much, and I just visited you at Cozy Blanket--that's something we all need, wish we could provide warm blankets for everyone in northeast who don't have power. Your DIL's party foods for the kids are so creative, and I pray for the best for her mother.

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  18. What a wonderful, wonderful post... so glad you started blogging, and hope to read many more of your stories!

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    1. Hi Mary Ann, happy birthday to your son too. Thank you so much for reading my post, I look forward to reading yours.

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  19. What a wonderful story....and welcome to Blog land! I came over from Cozy Little House, Brenda said we would all love to meet you...and she was right! Please stop by anytime and say hello! Sandy @ 521 Lake Street.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sandy! Glad to meet you too, and I enjoyed reading about your trip and will visit again.

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  20. Popped over from Cozy Little House and so glad I did. Love your blog, your home, and that barn and root cellar. Welcome to the blog neighborhood!

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    1. Thank you so much, Peggy. I will be visiting your blog too.

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  21. Welcome to the world of blogging! I'm here from Brenda's Cozy Little House blog. I loved your story on finding your home, it looks so cozy. Come visit me when you get a chance. I am now following you :)

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    1. Hi Teresa, thank you for reading my story and I will definitely visit you too!

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  22. What a lovely story of finding your home! I am following you, and can't wait to read more. Welcome to blogland!

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    1. Hi Sandra, thank you so much. I see on your blog that you have a Great Pyrenees. We have a wonderful dog who walked into our lives up the driveway a year or so ago, skin and bones, with double dew claws. The vet says he is Great Pyrenees and lab. He is such a sweetheart, thinks he's a lapdog, and I've heard this is typical of the Greats.

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  23. What a treat! I am delighted to discover your newborn blog, thanks to Brenda at Cozy Little House. I was, immediately, drawn into your wonderful story about your beginnings in your darling farmhouse. I feel like I have been transported back to a time when life was a bit simpler. My grandparents always had cozy little farmhouses when I was growing up and my favorite place to be was at their house....always!
    I wish you the very best and many many new and wonderful friendships.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Carolynn

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    1. Carolynn, I just visited your charming blog and will travel back through it as soon as I can. I told Brenda that I really do feel as if I've gained new friends today.

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  24. Hi, Brenda sent me and after reading the 1st three posts, I'm already hooked on your new adventure in blogdom. ~Sandy~

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    1. Brenda is amazing! We spent time this morning in girl talk and I loved it. Wish OK wasn't so far away. But it is so good to visit in blogs.

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  25. Such a beautiful story! I am so happy I am here!

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    1. I'm happy you're here too, and that you enjoyed the story. Looking forward to reading more of yours too.

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  26. you knocked it out of the park with your first post Dewena..well done ..Jeff

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm really glad you liked it.

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  27. Welcome!!!
    have read all your posts!
    am ready for more!
    will be following you!
    big smiles and happy hugs..
    Loui♥

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    1. Thank you so much, Loui! That is nice of you, and I'm enjoying yours too. Your birthday thoughts were lovely. So many blessings in our lives, aren't there?

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  28. Loved reading this!! I believe you are right about the 'vibes' of a house. The fireplace/bookshelves area is just wonderful. I think I'd spend a lot of time there. It feels very 'British cottage-y.' The picture of the outside at Christmastime feels very much like the house in The Waltons. And the picture of the roofs is very beautiful and artistic. Thank you for leading me back here. I expect there are more posts and photos about the house that I need to catch up on. I love seeing people's houses!

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  29. Dewena,

    Happy 23rd Anniversary at Valley View!

    What an adventure it's been for you, R.H. and your family! Somehow, I missed this post on my track backs at Across the Way, but while visiting you at your One Year blog anniversary today, I clicked on the link and here I am, at the beginning of it all, and what a discovery your little 'froufrouless', fine farmhouse was! Your debut on to the blog scene, in this most eloquent post, is, one year later, just as vibrant and passionate and I am so glad Brenda found you and shared your talent with her readers. Well, back to the future I go now, to your one year anniversary post. See you there!

    xo
    Poppy

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  30. I'm so glad I clicked on the link and came back to read this post. What a beautiful story of a magical property. I'm so glad you didn't hesitate and bought it immediately. I can tell it is and was perfect for you and your family. What a fortuitous day that was. I love these photos of the property. It looks so picturesque. And to think that a Nobel Peace Prize nominee lived there! How exciting that is. laurie

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