Friday, November 14, 2014

Connected to the Past


Over the last few months, Reece and I have been slowly making our way through the Little House series, following the Ingalls family through the trials of moving west into unknown territory. Each night we read a few chapters as we snuggle in Reece's bed. As I read the struggles the Ingalls, and the other families, faced I am connected to the past in a strange sort of way. Most of you know that we live in an old schoolhouse, circa 1878. At the time it was schoolhouse number 20, also known as New Park School. As I read about Mary, Laura and Carrie attending school in the little schoolhouse my mind is transported back to the days of our old schoolhouse. The long walk made daily by children attending school, the wagons that must have passed by in front each day, the farming that was done on the land that surrounds us. It all happened here, and we are connected to it through our home.

We have had the honour of meeting the man, who as a boy had the responsibility of keeping the fire going during the school day, and we have met the man who used to ring the bell each day. We have family names written down showing the land they used to live on and farm. We have photos of a teacher and her students taken in front of the schoolhouse (our home!) in 1930. We have visitors drop in to say hi, and check in on the old schoolhouse. At first it was elderly men and women who attended school here, now it is grandchildren and great grandchildren of those people. Reading the Little House series has given me a deeper connection to the past, a past that I never asked to be connected to, but I am.

They say when you start a family, and find your home, that you put down roots. The roots were here already, they ran deep and were, and still are, solid and strong. We didn't need to put roots down. Instead we have entwined our roots among theirs, connecting to the past in a way we never dreamed of.

38 comments:

  1. I did know you lived in an old schoolhouse and I think it's awesome. Having roots to connect to is a good thing. I moved around as a child [21 times by the age 18], but ever since Mike and I moved to SC we have tried to put down our own roots and make a home for our children to always come back to, something that was so important to me.
    Happy weekend.

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    1. Wow that is a lot of moving Tracey. I bet your children love coming back home :) My parents still live in my childhood home, and it is a very special place. I am happy to be able to share it with Reece too :)

      Happy weekend my friend. xo

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  2. You sure have found a wonderful spot to put down roots...how great it must be to have pictures and stories of those who have passed through your home !!!

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    1. We got pretty lucky with this find. It is pretty awesome. I remember clearly the first time one of the elderly gentlemen stopped in. It was our first summer here, he was visiting the cemetery up the road and decided to stop in to see the old schoolhouse. It was pretty awesome!

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  3. I love this post-- we, too, love the Little House books and have read and reread them all (my kids fall asleep each night listening to the audio version). We also have an old school house, built in 1840) next to our home and we've been told that for many years, one of the teachers roomed in our craft room/office. :) The last teacher we know of who taught at that school just passed away at the age of 101.
    That is so neat that you were able to meet people who attended there and have learned so much about the school and nearby farms.

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    1. I think I am going to pick up the audio series too, Reece is loving the books, and I think the audios will be perfect for our drive south in March :)

      The photo of the teacher and her students has all the names written on the back, and as of 2001, 13 of those people were still alive. I am sure that has changed now, but when we first received that photo it was nice to know some of them were still alive.

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  4. I love history the older I get and the stories that are tucked behind old homes and in your case, a school house. I love that you are connected to a community that is present and past.

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    1. I am the same way Karen. It seems as I get older this kind of stuff matters more to me. Maybe it is a desire to be connected, or understand a little more life before our time. Whatever it is, I enjoy it.

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  5. Such a wonderful post!! I have such great memories of reading the Little House books and watching the show every week. I had no idea that you live in an old schoolhouse!! What a great lesson for your son to be able to speak with people associated with your home's history. For you, too!! Have a beautiful weekend!! : )

    ~ Wendy
    http://Crickleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you Wendy. It is awesome reading the books with Reece now, and the fact that he is enjoying them so much is the icing on the cake.

      Yes, an old schoolhouse was always my dream home, and Justin found it, seventeen and half years ago while I was out of town working. He brought me here as soon as I got back, and we put an offer in that day :)

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  6. That is so cool! It makes your home all the more special. I love your words in the last paragraph.
    My kiddies love the Little House books and Patrick loves Farmer Boy the best ;) Happy Friday!!

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    1. It definitely does Carrie. One day you will be here for tea, right? I will look forward to showing you around. Thank you.

      Ah, yes, Farmer Boy was very much enjoyed by Reece. Do you know there is another one about Almanzo called Farmer Boy Goes West. It wasn't written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I just picked it up, we will read it once we finish with the Little House books.

      Enjoy your weekend my friend. xo

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  7. What a great story to share and now be a part of such an experience – very cool! We too, have been reading the Little House series and are quite enamoured with it. You start talking in the older english after a while - from time to time the boys still say ‘boughten’ instead of ‘bought’. We’ve read up to and finished On the Banks of Plum Creek but we are also reading the Mysterious Benedict Society so we tend to alternate between modern lit and classical.

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    1. Thanks, it feels pretty cool! Reece loves it, and can't wait each night to read a little more. It is super easy to get him to go to bed these days. We have read through and finished up to The Long Winter, and are just getting started with Little Town on the Prairie. Mary has just gone off to the college for the blind.

      Enjoy your reading :)

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  8. Beautifully and powerfully written Kim. Thank you for sharing this, it made my heart smile.

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  9. What an amazing connection to the past!

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  10. Our house, though not a school house, is a very old house too, and so often I think about how the people who lived here 200 years ago must have gone about their lives, and those who lived here in the years between too. There are clues and interesting features within the building itself but we have very little else to go on. How wonderful that you have so many personal connections to your home's past. It's making me think we should put a bit more effort into digging up information on those who were here before us.

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    1. It is fun to think about it, isn't it? We know quite a bit about our little home, and often learn little tidbits here and there when people stop in. Always so exciting.

      You should do that, how wonderful it would be to learn a little more about the people who came before you. England is so rich with history. Go for it!

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  11. How wonderful to be living in an old schoolhouse, and to know all of the history. I just bought the Little House books for the girls for Christmas, and your post has made me want to start them right now. Oh well, my husband has them hooked on Harry Potter for the moment. Have a great weekend and stay warm.

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    1. It feels pretty special to have a little bit of the history. How exciting, you guys will have such a great time reading through it. Enjoy!

      Thank you, you too! It is chilly here, currently snowing :)

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  12. This is just beautiful. I love the picture. What a special place for you to raise your little one!

    I love delving into the past. I think it's great that you've gotten to meet people who've played a role at your very own house in the past. That's amazing.

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    1. Thank you. It feels pretty special.

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  13. So wonderful and beautiful! Neat to know a little more about your house. We love the Little House On The Prairie Series! Such a great thing that Laura Ingalls Wilder decided to write that all down and publish it. :)

    Hope that you have a great weekend friend! :)

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    1. It is such a wonderful thing that she did, sharing her life with all of us. Forever grateful.

      Wishing you a lovely weekend too.

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  14. I think that is pretty amazing. What a cool thing to live in such a richly historic home! Especially for your little man, being homeschooled in an old school house. :)

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    1. Yes, the coolness of that is never lost on me :)

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  15. We are also reading the little house series! The girls love the stories and are amazed at how much work was accomplished each day. I am so grateful that Laura Ingalls shared her story. It is both fascinating and a joy to read.

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    1. I am amazed at how much they did in a day, it really is amazing, and with none of the luxuries we have today. So happy too that Laura shared her story, it is fascinating to read, both a a child and as an adult.

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  16. Love seeing the class picture in this post! That is so neat! I totally understand what you mean about being entwined with the roots put down here. Our house was built in 1890 and from the moment we first set foot inside it I felt a deep connection to those who had lived hear before us. While my own babies weren't born in this house (though I wish they had been) I am sure that many others were. And I would wager a guess that, like my girls, many were homeschooled here as well! I feel such a deep connection to the families who lived here before us it's incredible. We are so honored to get to entwine our roots within the roots of this sweet old farmhouse. Such a special place we call home! xo

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    1. Thanks Shel! It is pretty amazing to think of the past, and the people who have walked through the doors of our homes, isn't it? Sounds like your home has much history in it too, have you ever done any digging to find out more about it? xo

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  17. Beautiful post. We feel the same way in our little home. Almost 100 years old now. We have hand written deeds going back to the first time it was sold in the 1940s. Stories of how the house has changed and grown, how the land around us has changed and grown as well. It felt cozy, lived in and inviting when we first moved in. Most people that came to visit said they felt at home. Like they had been here before and often. It's why, no matter how many little weird things go on with it, I could never imagine leaving.

    Than you for sharing your story and poking mine awake...

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    1. Thanks Yanic. We have paper work too, from when the school board purchased the land in 1877 for $60...crazy. It remained part of the school board until the 1960's and then was purchased and converted into a home. It went through about 5 or 6 owners before us, and we have now been here for 17.5 years.

      We don't have plans to leave this little spot either, it is our first home, and we see it as our forever home.

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  18. Beautiful and interesting post, it has touched me :)

    Lluisa

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    1. Thank you, that makes me smile :)

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