Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Old House

I live in an old farm house. (An old, SMALL farm house!) Actually, our house is not old by New England standards - ours is the newest house in the neighborhood. We live a block away from the center of town, and the other houses are mostly mid-1800's; some are older.

The house I live in was built in 1917 by Mr. Cole, shortly after his marriage to Miss Barter. It sits on the corner of the property, which consists of 8.5 acres. Mr. and Mrs. Cole lost their first child, a daughter, who died around the age of 18 months. I don't know for sure, but I've wondered if the flu epidemic of 1917-1919 might have taken her.

Time passed, and the couple had another child. A healthy little girl, who grew up happily playing in the fields and woods of the property.

Fast forward many years. When Mr. and Mrs. Cole were in their 80's, with a move to a nursing home in their immediate future, they sold this house that they had built themselves and lived in for so long. The year was 1978; my husband, not long out of college, bought it from them.

Fast forward again. In October of 1993 I moved here to marry The Hubs. I found a job in another town soon after arriving. A coworker, who lived much closer to Boston, invited me to her house for a home party to sell hand-made jewelry. The woman who made the jewelry gave her presentation, we made our choices, and then spent time visiting. Guess who the jewelry-maker was? The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cole, who built our house! What a surprise. She told me how happy she was growing up here, and filled me in as to when the house was remodeled to accomodate electricity and indoor plumbing. (The outhouse imploded many years ago, but the remains can still be found on the property, covered in vines and brambles)

Fast forward to 2008. I recently started a new job in a big church in a much larger town; it's about a 20 minute commute. Everyone is very nice, and they've made me feel welcome.

Are you wondering where I'm going with this? Ready for the next coincidence?

The life partner of the very talented Music Director at my new place of employment, is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Cole!

I find it interesting that in 91 years, only two families have lived in this house; and each family consisted of a mother, a father, and an "only child," a daughter.

I can't help but wonder at the way the Cole family and mine have a history of reconnecting. We seem to bump up against each other's lives every few years. I look forward to the next chapter of This Old House.


Tee said...

Love, love, love this post. We are history buffs, we love New England and all the old houses. How neat to be the second family to live in that house and your paths cross with the original family's children and grandchildren!!!! We build a reproduction of an old house, even the UPS man thought it was old. We loved it. Unfortunately, there are very, very few old houses in Georgia. Sherman burned most of the structures standing when he came through. There is one town east of Atlanta, Monroe, GA that has big, old, beautiful homes and the only reason they weren't burned Sherman went to West Point with someone from Monroe and he spared the town. I understand many of the homes were taken over used as headquarters and hospitals. The south lost most of their heritage when Sherman came through. If you read accounts of his distruction he even killed all the animals. So unnecessary.

Jean at Penny Lane said...

That is really a great story to go with your house!

The relatives all come out of the woodwork.

The house sounds like a lucky find for your husband, then you.

noble pig said...

That is really neat and do wonder what your next meeting will be.

Sue said...

That is really cool!

RiverPoet said...

Wow, Kathy! That is a great story! I think it's fascinating how you and this family are so intertwined. Houses like that don't exist around my neck of the woods, at least until you get into historic downtown.

Peace - D

Queen Mommy said...

This is so very cool! We only have a 1/2 acre, but the history is deep. I want to come see!!! Maybe when I get back?