I spent most of my young growing up years in Central Oregon, in a (then) little town high in the Cascade Mountains. Bend, Oregon was nestled on the banks of the Deschutes River. When the pioneers came to that spot they named it Bend because there is a big bend in the river there and it was a good way to describe their location. I loved living in Bend. I was four-and-a-half years old when we moved there and eleven years old when we moved away. My father was a minister at one of the churches and I felt at home almost the moment we moved into the parsonage next door to the church. I loved that house! I still love that house and I would love
to build a little craftsman style home just like it. The home was built in nineteen-twenty five and several pastors' families had called it home before us. It is now on the National Historic Register of Homes in the Historic Downtown area of Bend. I'd love to share a bit of my childhood home with you as it was then. These photos are from my mother's photo album. I treasure the memories that these photos bring.
Without further adieu - welcome to the home of my childhood. It was a happy home, a home where laughter and joy welcomed all who entered. It was a peace-filled home where prayer and faith were lived out every day. It was a home where the door was always open and there was always room at the table for more. It was a home where I learned what homekeeping was all about and where I learned how to be a thoughtful, giving, loving person. It was a home that knew loss and grief but that sheltered us safe together inside through tough times. It was home - my home - and it will always be a special place to me. Welcome to my childhood home!
I thought the yard and porch were very big and I remember the first time I returned when I was a young adult only to discover that everything really was quite small. But, in my young life the front porch became a playhouse that was filled with dolls and tea sets and things that make pretending seem real. The front yard was quite small but there was a larger side yard that became my playground. It was on a hill and it was the perfect place to lie down and roll side-over-side all the way down near the rock wall at the bottom. Above the side yard were two rock terraces that weren't landscaped. A bath was always required after I played on the terraces.
That was my house in the late Spring, Summer and early Fall months. It was great but it became a magical place - a winter wonderland - in the Winter! Snow angels, snow forts, snow balls, sliding down the side yard on whatever I could find that became a makeshift sled.
My father faithfully shoveled snow from the front walk every day through the winter. You can see the snow coming down. I wouldn't be surprised if he had to shovel it again later in the day.
If you look closely at the photo of my house in the snow you will see a 'little person' standing in the driveway. That's me! All bundled up for the weather.
That's my dad's car. I don't remember what make or year, but I remember that car. It took us to places near and far and I thought it was the finest car ever. My mother had to bundle up for the cold, too. That's the next car we owned. It was a ninety-fifty-something Ford. Light green.
Here's a glimpse of the side yard. Laundry day meant hanging the clothes on the line outside no matter what the weather was like. My mother said she hung things out to dry and it didn't take long because they ended up being freeze-dried! That's a very dear friend who stayed with us for awhile. She was a very helpful person and always did what she could to help with daily tasks.
Oh, there I am again! Wonder what I was doing. I didn't have my hood or gloves on so I must not have gone far.
I didn't copy many photos from inside my house. This one has special memories. It was taken on Christmas morning. There was no fireplace or mantel so my Christmas stocking was always hung on the French doors that were between the dining room and kitchen. This Christmas stands out in my memory because there was a large paper bag thumb-tacked beside my stocking on Christmas morning. Late on Christmas Eve my father realized he hadn't done his Christmas stocking shopping so he quickly went to a nearby store and bought something for my mother's stocking and for mine. Late that night my mother pointed out to him that what he had bought for my stocking was w-a-y too large to fit so he left it in the bag and tacked it up beside my stocking. It was a little, red, round doll suitcase that I used for a long time to store my dolls clothes. Oh, how I wish I still had that little suitcase today!
This picture always makes me smile. Not just because of my dad's 'silly' Christmas stocking gift but because it shows the French doors I always loved. And it shows my dear, little mother's desk that was always so special to me. I have this desk in my home now. Someday I'll share it's story. And that chair beside the desk? Not such happy memories there. I spent what felt like hours and hours sitting on that chair. It became my timeout chair! I didn't like sitting there but I learned a lot of life lessons on that chair so I think it played an important role in my life - and my childhood home.
I hope you enjoyed your visit to my childhood home. My sweetheart and I recently visited Bend and when we drove by this little home I was surprised by what I found there. I'll share that with you soon. I think you'll be amazed, too.
My dear mother taught me to love poetry. This is a favorite that she quoted through the years. It perfectly describes my childhood home.
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ’preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.
Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ‘em up t’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used—they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door.
Ye’ve got t’ weep t’ make it home, ye’ve got t’ sit an’ sigh
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed, an’ know that Death is nigh;
An’ in the stillness o’ the night t’ see Death’s angel come,
An’ close the eyes o’ her that smiled, an’ leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an’ when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an’ sanctified;
An’ tuggin’ at ye always are the pleasant memories
O’ her that was an’ is no more—ye can’t escape from these.
Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’ love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses ’round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they ’come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear
Who used t’ love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em jes’ t’ run
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun;
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’ dome:
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.
Poem: 'Home' by Edgar Albert Guest