I always slow to take in an old homestead, even if it’s just a chimney,
I like to picture who lived there and what they wore. The ma is always sitting of the porch shelling peas and the children are chasing each other and the pa is working on the tractor and the dog is sleeping in the dusty drive in the sun.
Last time I stopped at this old chimney there were sweet peas climbing wild and blooming. Today they were ankle high sprouts. The beautiful spireas bloomed in sprays arching out.
I found this poem by a gentleman, written at the turn of the century but is still just as relevant had it been written yesterday. I feel just the way he did. Enjoy.
The House with Nobody in It
Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
I suppose I’ve passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute
And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.
I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things;
That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings.
I know this house isn’t haunted, and I wish it were, I do;
For it wouldn’t be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.
This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass,
And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied;
But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside.
If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
I’d put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.
I’d buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be
And I’d find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.
Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door,
Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.
But there’s nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But a house that has done what a house should do,
a house that has sheltered life,
That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a baby’s laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
Is the saddest sight, when it’s left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.
So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track
I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,
Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart,
For I can’t help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.
Beautiful Katey, just like you! You have a gift. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Thank you sweet Nancy!
Katey, thank you for this. I often feel the exact way, wondering about the family that lived there, the children playing, love overflowing, Bible being read at the knees of dad at night. Pretty much like my life with mom snd dad when we were young. Hard work, but together! Thanks for the memories. You are amazing! Love you. Jo
That was a good life back then. Thank you Jo.
I always wonder about old homesteads too.
Gay Lynn, this poem was written 100 years ago so you can imagine the type houses he was seeing!! Thank you. Have a great week. Katey
another “something to reflect on” sent by your caring hand (and heart!) Bless you my dear for sharing the works of your hands and the intentions of your heart! love you, mom
Thank you Mom. I love your words and have read them several times. Intentions of your heart. such a beautiful phrase. Love you.
I know exactly what you mean. I use to live in Atlanta and would take the bus home and there was this lovely old southern Annabella house that a fire had apparently occurred in . The house looked fine but the windows were boarded up. The wood over the windows made it look like it had big sad eyes. You knew it must have held a large family and had a huge yard. It made me sad every time I went buy which was for several years. If I had the money I would have fixed it up.. Thanks for sharing.
Carole, thank you for sharing such a dear memory. Some houses do get saved. We have stayed in a B&B in Inman Park in Atlanta for several years. This whole area has been restored. The B&B was brought back from devastation, within the pocket doors between the living and foyer you can see charred wood from a fire in it’s past. So thankfully there are those with the means to take it on. Thank you again for reading and commenting. katey
Katey, loved this so much! What beautiful pics & what a perfectly wonderful poem. Funny, I have a chimney photo so similar from my recent roadtrip “home” that I’ll be posting on IG soon! Thank you for this!
Thank you Lori, I have really enjoyed your pictures from your trip back home. Katey
Dear Katey, We lived next door to such a place up in the Goldrush country. It was deserted and so dark at night, just crumbling away. A brick house. My mother in law said when she was small it was full of a big happy noisy family and the mother was always cooking, and there was so much life in it. I thought of them every time I walked by; and in the back down the hill two enormous old pear trees.
Julie, Thank you so very much for checking in. I enjoyed your story and can just picture the children running down the hill to the pear trees…the house was once happy. I check EVERY Friday with etsy at your lovely pieces. One day I will check at the “golden” moment and be a lucky person. Thank you again. Katey
I just found your blog over the Thanksgiving weekend, and I love it!
Jennifer, thank you so much!! That is very encouraging to me! Katey