I remember a big rambling house with a wrap around porch.
Within the house were large rooms, dark wood floors, overstuffed furniture, a fireplace surrounded with shelves that held their treasure, a hall washroom tucked under the stairs in the entry hall where I perched often looking through the stair rail watching grandpa Johnnie shave. Upstairs were the bedrooms and a large walk-in attic accessed through one bedroom. How I loved to wander around in the attic. At the rear of the house was a large kitchen where grandma baked her rhubarb, apple and lemon meringue pies. Her handmade calico aprons are forever etched in my memory.
At the rear of the house was a smokehouse constructed of limestone. Past this smokehouse was a large yard and a large white and yellow barn. Hollyhocks grew along the side of the barn. I remember making hollyhock dolls and playing in the cornfields. I also remember a small peach orchard and currants that grew in profusion on the fence beyond. On the other side of the house were apple and pear trees.
I have many photographs that include portions of my grandparents home; primarily a large wraparound porch. Because of the porch I believed the home might be a "victorian". I've been searching for months to discover whether the house is still standing and today...success! This time when I searched an article in "The Batavian", a newspaper from Batavia NY. popped up. An article on historic home renovation awards for 2010 included a photo of the house today as well as a brief history detailing ownership and facts about the architecure and restoration process..
The home I remember so fondly was built in 1863 by a man named John Tyrell. It had several owners not named until 1943 when my grandfather purchased it. It was a farm at the time and owned by my grandfather until he sold it to a local realtor in 1952 shortly after the entire family - my grandparents, parents and brother, sister and I moved to Florida.
I remember vividly thinking (hoping) that I was dreaming. Soon I would awake and life would return to normal. It was not a dream. In November it will be 60 years since our family left Western New York state for sunny Florida. I was meant to be here, I finally have concluded.
I look at the photo found yesterday of what once I played in, prayed in and felt safe in and though it doesn't look any thing like my memories I'm thrilled it's been restored. Yes, restored to it's original beauty; before my grandfather purchased it. The only part of the house I can recognize is the front door and what I believe to be a branch from one of the trees from the side yard . It turns out that the home I supposed to be victorian because of all the photos of that wrap around porch is "Italiante Style" and the arched front door , commonly know as "Italian Romatic" design, is the house's most unique feature. They removed the porch; seems a blind carpenter built it and its foundation, and it was added at an undetermined time and it was not in the original architectural style. As a matter of fact it covered up the architectural details. Of special interest was the limestone foundation of the house.
The couple who renovated the house also rehabilitated the interior. The original trim and moldings are intact and the staircase stripped and refinished. The original pocket doors were found in the attic. All the doors in the home are original; they"ve been restored and are functional.
It warms my heart to know that someone lovingly and painstakingly brought this home with so much life lived in it "back to life" for more families to make their own unique stories.
The mystery of my grandparents house has been solved. It is has been restored and now new life is taking place.
My heart is happy and I'm so grateful. Thank you Lord for bringing happy memories back to life in my heart and mind. Your word is true:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
What about you, friend? What gift are you thanking God for? Would you tell me about it?
It's my prayer.