Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Walls Talked

Sometimes things happen in my life that are almost too good to be true.
Bacon is one - 
Clarence "Buddy" and Marilyn are another.

A while ago, more than a month - we noticed a pick up truck driving slowly back and forth in front of our house.  This isn't much of an odd occurrence, it happens often, and makes me think that I need to stop dashing around the house nude with all of these windows.

The pick up truck finally pulled in the driveway, and I just assumed that they were honey customers.

It was then that this man told me "My grandfather built this house."

When he found out how nice I was : -) and excited to meet him, he called his wife Marilyn out of the truck.

I cannot begin to tell you how I love these two.  They stayed a good hour, telling us all about the house, how he was born here, upstairs in 1927.  They also told us all about how they met, and so much about their lives.  They felt like family by the time they left.  I may or may not have traumatized them a little, as you know how exuberant I can get at times.  I think at one point I asked them if they would adopt me.

They only have one daughter, and I think that they need at least one more.

Buddy and Marilyn are in their 80's.
They are so spry, full of life and seem totally smitten with each other.  You should have seen the way she looked at him as he told his stories.  It was like the first time she'd ever heard them.

We hugged, I gave them my phone number - told them to please come back for supper so that I could hear more of their stories.

You just never know - I didn't know if they'd ever come back.

But they did.  They phoned the other day and came out.

This time they stayed three hours.

I'm officially in love with them.

They brought photos and stories.

It was all a bit overwhelming for me, and you know how I've been lately - so of course there were tears.
Buddy cried a little too.  He said how nice it was to see someone in the house taking care of it, and that loved it so.

I was getting so confused about who was who, and trying to piece the puzzle together.

I finally got it straight.
I won't bore you with all of those details, but here are the photos, and I'll share my thoughts at the end.

Mathias Weis - built this house in 1869 when he was 21 years old.
He married Elizabeth Pinter, from Germany in 1880.  They told me she was a really crabby woman, but after I read their family history - she has every right to be - this is her son Matthew.

This photo totally haunts me.  It's so crazy to see the house like this, original brick.  To think those are the very windows I look out everyday.  Now, when I look out the window, I think of this photo.  The woman bent over is Mathias and Elizabeth's daughter Anna.  I've thought of her so much since seeing these photos.
Anna and her father Mathias (man that built the house)

Is it me, or does this dog seem like a handful?
  Every photo that it's in, the people seem to be trying to hold on to it!

Mathias and his daughter Anna (Clarence's mother).  Notice the awesome log structure attached to the barn - how I wish it were all still here.

I have to be honest and say that seeing these photos and hearing the history have really affected me in a very unexpected way.  It seems important for some reason.  Perhaps if I myself hadn't been in such an emotionally fragile state for the last month, it wouldn't have been so.

I've always wondered about the people that lived here before, and had always assumed that people had surely been born and died here, but now I know.

Thinking and knowing are two different things.

Elizabeth Mathias gave birth to 8 children here.  
I can't even imagine two children in the house, let alone 8.  10 living in this little house?

Her first born died at the age of 21.
She had a seven year old daughter die here in 1901.
In 1885, two of her children died within two days of each other - one at three years old, the other at one.
I'm assuming it was an influenza outbreak.

It's brought a sobering feeling to the house for me - this house that has always felt like nothing but happy.
I find myself now wondering what room it was that her babies were lying sick.
I find myself wondering how in the world someone could overcome the grief of losing half her children.

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love this house, and feel that it's almost an entity in and of itself.  I felt that I was born to live here, and I have no plan on leaving it - unless it's feet first.
Unless of course you ask me in May, and then I'm out condo shopping because the initial yard work is overwhelming.
: -)

If you want to see photos of the house when we got it, click on the link to the right under 'labels' and read 'This Old House'.

I'll end by saying this.
Y'all know I've had a really hard summer.
For my usually non eventful life - it was hard - compared to the things other people have gone through, and are going through - it's silliness.
I love my problems, I do.  I'll take mine back at the end of the day when I think of what other's are going through.

Meeting Clarence and Marilyn, and learning about the house and those that have lived and loved here before I found the old place - well, it's girded me with an incredibly feeling of strength and gratitude.

A home is built in 1869.
It's nearly falling down in 1988.
We came.
We saw.
We conquered.

We loved it back to life - and that love was with hammers, nails, paint, sweat, and at times blood.
And now it stands strong again, and beautiful.

To me - it's such a testimony of love - of hard work - of perseverance.

Nothing is a lost cause.
No one.
I believe that with enough hammering, love, sweat and perseverance anything that is broken can be restored.

I love my home, and those who live in it.
I hope you feel the same about yours.


  1. I nearly cried myself seeing the folks in front of the window, I have no idea why other than I also love your house, you know that. What a great story and I love the pics of when you and Glen found it and how it looks now. I've been there many times for many meals and some foolishness, lol. I've loved how the aromas filled the rooms and the music that was always perfect for whatever we were doing at the time. The tears and laughs and secrets we've shared there. It's a great place for sure. Have you thought of looking into making it a historical site type of thing? You might want to do that. Thanks for sharing yet another Jayme adventure, hugs and tears, love you. Me

  2. oh my doesn't Buddy look just like his grandfather? What a lovely story and oh so glad you got to hear it. You are one very lucky woman Jayme. Fondly, Nancy Settel

  3. An incredibly moving post, Jayme! LOVED it!

  4. We're really just caretakers, aren't we? We don't own these old houses, they own us. And sharing the history of a house with prior caretakers, I would imagine makes you feel like family to each other. What a blessing for you!

    And yes, I sure do feel the same way about the home I was given the opportunity to look after. : ) I love it and those who dwell, past, present and future.

  5. LOVE this! We live in a house built in 1897. We'd lived here only a few months when I found myself walking down the staircase, holding my seven-year-old daughter's hand, and saying out loud, "I don't think we're the first mother/daughter to live here. That summer, an older woman stopped by with a handful of b/w photos and informed me that my house was also hers! I adore sharing a house with others and with the past.

  6. I still can not get over the fact that you know have the on the house. I may have missed it, but how far away to Buddy and Marilyn live now? Did you watch you bring it back to life?

  7. Jayme, what a wonderful story. Please tell Buddy and Marilyn that their story has touched MANY people in this brought tears to my eyes..I am sooooooo very happy that he finally stopped and that you and Glen own the home and have cared for it back to live.

    Bless both of you and as always, THANK YOU for sharing your life with us.

  8. I love this. I think about my house and the people who have lived and died here often. My house was built in 1954 and when we got it in 2003 it was so sad. Many tears sweat and yes blood have gone into this house. I completely get where you are coming from. One of my very favorite children's books ever is The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. It basically makes me cry every time I read it to my kids. You need to read it.

  9. i love this ... wow, what a lovely meeting. glad you learned so much. so fun & very very interesting. ( :

  10. What an incredible story! And to think that you get to share in it!! I love everything about it ...and I hope that that sweet couple will return and you will have many suppers together. What a blessing!

  11. Our home is newer and we are only the second owners, so not a lot of history here... Really neat that they spent time with you and brought family photos and stories as well. Glad you are feeling a bit better too!! xox

  12. What a wonderful, heartwarming story. That couple is just adorable. I really love to hear stories about older homes and what happened in them. We lived in two homes built in the 1800's and I always felt honored to have brought them back to life. One house had a very sad history, too, and it always bothered me to think of the sadness those walls had seen- xo Diana

  13. You know I do... what I wouldn't give for photographs of This Old House like the ones you've just been given of your homestead.

    Amazing, this. And.... amazing that these folks showed up at this particular part of your life after such a difficult summer. As if the previous occupants of the house felt your struggle and sent their relatives your way, a comfort. - you are not alone - you loved the house, and it looks like the house is loving you back.

  14. My mom and I have discussed at length about long ago times with several of your children dying (statistically)and how on earth you could lose so many of your children without going insane. I guess that back then everyone lose at least one child, you just knew that death was a part of life. What a blessing to know about your house what you do, now. I LOVED the picture of the brick without the paint. That would be a weird feeling that these people actually lived in your house, and that you look out those same windows. Thanks for sharing, as always.

  15. Your walls talked. How awesome is that. You are so blessed.

  16. What an incredible opportunity and such a lovely couple. I hope you'll continue to stay in touch with them. Our house isn't quite as old as yours (built in 1899), but I've often wondered about the people that built and lived here before us. They are all dead and gone, but I keep hoping that perhaps one of their grandchildren might stop by. How cool that you were able to meet them!

  17. Incredibly moving Jayme . . .Catching me at my core.

    A few themes, (more, I am sure . . . )
    - Thinking and knowing are two different things.
    - Anything broken can be restored . . .
    - How could anyone overcome the grief of half of their children . . .

    You move me woman . . .

  18. . . . of losing half of their children . . .

  19. This is amazing that you get to talk to some folks and learn about the house. Was the house vacant when you bought it? Wondering how many owners before you got it? GOD sure sent this couple your way.

  20. How this story has touched me! You were meant to have this blessing Jayme. I love my little house the same way. What I would give to know more of its history! When I look around I can feel our home's pride at being restored and lived in and loved as we do. Thanks so much for sharing this sweet story, what an incredible experience.
    xo, Andrea

  21. This is so cool! What a joy to meet these wonderful people and hear the story of your home. :) I love the old pictures. Judging by some of my old family photos I've seen and stories I've heard I think a lot of the women were crabby back then. ;) And I love what you said about loving your problems. This has been my thought rather frequently. As I sat and listened to burdens during prayer request time in Sunday School yesterday all I could think is that I wouldn't trade my problems for someone elses ever. Obviously, God is in control and He knows what to bring into our lives. :) Thanks for sharing this precious couple. :)

  22. What a beautiful story! I love old houses and the families that make them a home. How wonderful to know the history and see what lives were lived before you. I would be emotional as well.

  23. Don't you want to pinch yourself? You got your own history lesson about your home. This is just amazing!

  24. Fabulous post, Jayme! The story of your home and how you came to find out about it, well, that's beautiful. And you are a helluva writer!

  25. What a wonderful story. Made me miss my great aunt and uncle. My great aunt always would tell me stories about her life and give me advise and words of wisdom. I carry those with me to this day.

  26. I find this whole story fascinating. I love old houses and their history. I think each old house should come with a book of it's there was that fantastic barn on your property?

  27. A joy for you, a joy for them. How wonderful to be able to learn so much about your charming property. So grateful for those old polaroid days as well as our new technical world that bring Clarence and Jayme our story tellers to us...Thank you for the share..


  28. OH MY!! What a wonderful story.So happy for you! Our Acadian cottage was built in 1901.We purchased it in 2000.Renovation,lots of blood,sweat & tears for 4 years before we could move in!What we wouldn't give to know more about the house & the family who built it.We do have a little history of the original family who built it. Your story has renewed my curiosity and I am going to make every effort to find out the "story" of our home and hopefully aquire a few photos,too. This is my first time leaving a comment but just wanted you to know that I LOVE your blog and have been praying for you. You have been a joy and true inspiration to me for many reasons! Sorry I didn't let you know sooner. I do not have a blog myself, but am grateful for the beautiful souls, like you, who do!! Looking forward to more wonderful Tales from The Coop Keeper :) Be Blessed!!


  29. What an incredible gift you've been given in meeting Buddy and Marilyn! I have no doubt that you were just as much a blessing to them as they were to you!

    Many Blessings,

  30. Jayme, how fortunate you are to learn the history of your old house. My house turned one hundred years old this year(I had a party) and I would dearly love to know the history of it, who built it and who lived in it before us. Old houses hold such a wealth of history if one can only discover it as you have yours. I love my old house and intend to leave it "feet first" also. I've grown very deep roots in this soil around this place.

  31. You have no idea how much I love and respect you for this post alone. I've always loved old houses and am heartbroken each and every time I see one torn down or left to rot. People who purchase and take care of old homes are heros to me. When I was younger I dreamed of buying old homes and restoring them to their original glory. Sometimes when I drive past an old house I can see what it was peeking out at me from under all the wear and tear, all the neglect. Being sick all the time has limited my options in life severely and so I have spent the last 8 years in my little 60+ year old cottage hoping to bring it back to life a little and trying to build a beautiful garden in the back. I learned a few weeks ago that I can't do that anymore. It's too much work for my body to handle and being on disability I just don't have to money to hire help.
    I hope you get many more visits with your new friends.
    love & blessings

  32. What a wonderful gift!

    Through the 15 years we've lived in our 1927 house, we've had a couple visits from family of the first owners. First there was the granddaughter, then the son. I too love hearing their stories, and I think about that history each time we work on a restoration project to the point of emotional breakdowns.

  33. Oh Jayme, what a great story for you. Such a rich history of those who built your house and lived and died in it. You should make a time capsule with those photos and any before/after photos of when you purchased and rehabbed the house for future owners. I purchased my 1929 house from the original owners. Unfortunately Clarence died 9 months before I purchased it and his wife Sally was in her early dementia phase and required a power of attorney to represent her. I was disappointed that I never got to meet them. I so wanted to let both of them know that I would love this home just like they did. When I moved in in 92 there were still folks in the neighborhood who knew Clarence and Sally so they told me about them. Rather a sad life. Their only son dying from cancer when he was a young man. There are things around the house that Clarence has done that I've never changed, and he's written sayings on the header beams in the basement that still remain. His business cards are still in their container on a shelf near his work bench, and each of the names of the Bue family are written on the post in the garage. There's also a height chart in the garage for their son Robert. I could never remove them, it would be like wiping out the homes history. I just hope future owners decide these things are important and leave them as well.
    Thanks for sharing the story.


  34. It is so interesting to read of your house's history. It is so good to hear you so happy! Carry on....

  35. I've been reading your blog for years. I don't normally leave a comment, but I had to write. Nothing just happens. The stars line up and what is meant to happen does. There is a reason that you needed to know these things about the house and it's past residents. Maybe they see you sad and struggling with your life at times and they love you and want to tell you that they are there, clearing the way for you. Maybe they lead these people into your life, so that somehow, you all become one with the house and it's energy. Don't fight it. Embrace it. I think you are going through MENOPAUSE. I have and like aging, it's not for sissy's. It's hard to go through, but one day you just pop out of that bubble and your world evens itself out. It's just a normal progression in life, God only knows the reasons. Do not try to figure out why you cry, don't cry, feel, don't feel, why some days you feel as if someone just hit the light switch to off. We are human, it's our progression, it is how God meant it to be. Peace and love to you. I think your life is awesome.

  36. Awe, this is such a sweet story, I agree nothing happens that there is not a reason for it. I wish you joy and happiness, have a great weekend. Hugs, Lynn

  37. I really enjoyed your story and can understand how it affected you. We have lived in our old farmhouse (in West Lafayette, IN) since 1976. We bought it, after it was a rental for many years, from the man whose father built it in the 20's. There had been an older brick house here that was torn down. Sadly the man was not very friendly or talkative so we didn't get much information. We didn't think we'd stay, but the place just grew on us. I can't think of living any where else!

    Thanks for sharing all this with us. Take care, Cindy

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