Sunday, August 5, 2012

There's More Than Corn in Indiana...

A few weeks ago my husband and I took a staycation, by staying close to home and traveling in Indiana just for the day.  We drove a couple of hours south down Route 41 until we decided we saw enough corn and crops for one day.  The ride was definitely quiet and the lack of traffic on the road was peaceful.

The highlight of the trip was stopping by The Farm that my grandparents owned when I was growing up.  Today would have been my grandfather's birthday, so I thought it was a perfect day to share this story.

I would have loved to walk to the door and ask to look around, but the land was now closed off by a privacy gate.  We pulled up along the road and my husband suggested I take a couple of pictures anyway.  At first I looked stupidly at phone doesn't have a camera on it and I didn't bring the actual camera with me.  My husband looked at my iPad and said, "Doesn't that thing take pictures?"  Well, duh...I forgot about that.  Maybe one day I'll catch up with technology.

Even though we couldn't get very close, these pictures brought back lots of memories.  The area in the picture above used to be a thriving orchard.  My sister and I once used it as a speedway when driving a golf cart until we slipped off our made-up road and hit a tree!

This area would be stocked with year my grandparents had horses, but because of a terrible accident, they never had horses again.  After that, cows and sheep were usually the animals of  choice. 

My grandparents' house...
as I look at it I can remember the various holidays we celebrated there.  The delicious meals Grandma cooked that we ate in their dining room.  The bedrooms upstairs for all of us when we spent the night.  How I would have loved to see the backyard so I could find out if the in-ground pool was still there.  What happy memories!

It's funny though, while the property is still kept up now,  it seems to be lacking "life".  We've traveled to The Farm a few times over the past 20 years and there has never been any signs of life.  No animals, no cars, no people. 

The part that stood out the most to me was that next to the garage used to be a big dog pen that housed the best dog in the world when I was growing up.  His name was Lum.  He was one month older than I was...or in dogs years maybe that would be 7 months?  Anyway, he was a great dog and now it just seemed like another sign that there is no life there. 


I guess it goes to show you, it's not the house that makes the home, but the love that comes from within.


Here is an excerpt of my description of The Farm from my book.  

Life on the Farm

From the time I was old enough to have memories, my grandparents lived on a farm in Indiana. They had a wonderful, spacious house on sixty acres of land. The first floor had a den right off their roomy kitchen, a living room with a fireplace and piano, a dining room that wasn’t saved for holidays only, but was used for dinner anytime we were together and ate indoors. There was also a bathroom on the first floor and a small room that could have been a bedroom, but instead mainly served as a place for Grandpa to store his hunting rifles and other outdoor things. The basement had a pool table that Grandpa used to teach me the game. While he was quite good at it, I was more of a sloppy player, even hitting the cue ball off the table on occasion. Regardless of my lack of style, we did have lots of fun playing. 

The second floor housed the full bathroom and all of the bedrooms. My grandparents, of course, had the largest room. It was their house, after all. There was a room with twin beds where my sister and I stayed when we were there. The third bedroom was for my great-grandfather when he lived there, and afterwards that was the room my parents used. The fourth room was more of a TV room with a sofa-bed, but was also used by my parents when the need arose.

If you looked out the front of my grandparents’ house to the west, they had a thriving orchard, to the east a barn with livestock and a pasture. This pasture also served as my first driver’s education training course. Grandpa took me out in his jeep and had me complete varied driving tasks from turns to stops to driving in reverse. This was quite helpful when I had to take my first real driving test on the road.

Looking into their yard towards the west was a vineyard. The grapes produced here were not wine grapes but jelly grapes. When homemade wine became a staple on The Farm Grandpa bought a nice glucose meter that he would take with him to the markets in Chicago to check that he was getting the perfect grapes to make his perfect wine. The grapes in his vineyard were already quite tasty and for years my mom and grandma would make homemade grape jelly. Store bought jellies had nothing on them.

Directly in line with the house was the in-ground pool that Grandpa had put in. To the east was a vegetable garden that was worked by both of my grandparents. The majority of the sixty acres north of their house was used for crops. For years Grandpa tilled those fields himself, but as the years wore on, he hired other local farmers to help out. About forty acres away from the house was a natural spring that ran through the property. In this area it was extremely hard to sustain any crops. So, leave it to the ingenuity of a Ding to come up with a plan. What does one do with a constant, fresh flowing supply of water in a barren area of land that can’t be used to farm? Well, you build a lake, of course.

For many years we spent most weekends at my grandparent’s house. We’d go there on Saturday afternoon after The Store closed and returned home on Sunday evening either early enough so as to get home before The Lawrence Welk Show came on TV, or late enough that we watched Lawrence Welk all together. Going to The Farm was like going on mini-vacations. I appreciate it much more today than I did growing up, especially during my teenage years. Who wanted to spend all this quality time with the family when I could be out there with my friends somewhere doing something? Looking back now, I’m glad I was blessed with spending all that time with my grandparents.

Lisa A. Tortorello Copyright 2009

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I love the pictures. Sounds like a wonderful time that provided many wonderful memories. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.

    Paul R. Hewlett