Thursday, May 19, 2016
Those Places Thursday - Grandma Bell's House
Obviously I'm not an architect, but that is the floor plan of my maternal Grandparent's house as I remember it. Certainly not to scale or proportioned well. It's the farm house Stan and Vi Bell moved into years before I was born. I have vague memories of Grandpa there before he died. Grandma lived there until I was in my teens, then she moved into town. So my memories of this house are from my childhood.
The front door was on the North, the East side of the house faced the road. There was an honest-to-goodness real American white picket fence that went most of the way around the yard. The front porch was enclosed and pine wood lined the inside walls. I remember the "secretary" desk that was kept in that room, I thought all the little cubbies in it were so cool. There was a window between the front porch and the living room like the porch had been added on later.
This was the living room. Maybe the furniture was new here so they took a picture. That looks like the sofa bed I slept in a few times. It was a burgundy red color. The guy who got cut off there sitting in the rocking chair is my Grandpa in his bib overalls. That chair is either red or blue, there was one of each color and I have them both. I also have the picture above the couch. It's a "Helmscene" and lights up - you can see the cord. It still works! Grandma also had a lamp with a shade that had a forest fire scene which turned making it look realistic. My sister has that. The coffee table and end tables originally belonged to Grandma's brother and sister-in-law. Each piece has a glass top; the coffee table glass has been broken and replaced at least once that I know of. One of my brothers had this set for a while, then my sister, now a cousin has it.
There's a bedroom behind the wall there and the kitchen is just to the right. That's the fridge behind Grandpa. There's a heating stove beside him and then another door into the kitchen. For family dinners, a table was set up there in the living room. Most likely a few people still ate in the kitchen. The food, I'm sure, was fabulous, but food has never been my favorite thing. I liked scalloped corn, and Grandma always had it. Dinner rolls were what I was known for eating and they were best at Grandma's because she had REAL butter to put on them!
I remember Grandma having a wood cook stove and using it some, but she also had a modern stove that she used more. There wasn't much counter space, only about 3 feet, to the left of the stove. The table was in front of a big window looking out into the back yard, left of that was the fridge. Between both doors into the living room was the cook stove, then the sink was between the Pantry and bathroom doors. That bathroom door was where I remember my brother getting a tooth pulled once. Someone tied one end of a string to the closed door and the other end to my brother's loose tooth, then opened the door.
Along with canned goods, paper supplies and the washer & dryer, the Pantry was where the bird cage was kept. I had almost completely forgotten about Grandma's parakeet, I think his name was Sam. She taught him to say "Sam (?) is a dirty bird." She didn't have him very long.
The pool room was a bedroom before my time, but I only remember it with the pool table in it. It was fun as kids to roll the balls around on the table - until one of them smashed a small finger that was holding onto the side.
The East porch was originally a screen porch which you can see a little of in the black & white photo taken in February, 1960. (And a little of the picket fence). But I remember it like in the color photo which was taken the day of the sale in September, 1991. Grandma's old treadle sewing machine was kept in there I think. Again, she had a modern sewing machine too. I have a vague memory of playing the card game Crazy 8's in that room for some reason. We used to play that game quite a bit, I don't know why my visual is of playing in that room. For most of the years I remember, that room was used generally for storage.
A porch swing hung from a tree in the yard on the north side of the house and a tire swing in another tree. There was a barbecue that Grandpa had made, out of concrete I think. Out in the southeast corner of the yard there was a can in the ground like a golf hole. I don't remember ever seeing anyone practice putting out there. We used to play croquet sometimes.
The house is gone now. My cousin posted pictures on Facebook of it being torn down. They were so sad to see. It's been years since I was inside. My crude floor plan may not be perfect. In my mind I know it's just an average Nebraska farmhouse. In my heart it was not average, it was Grandma Bell's house.