In 2013, my grandparents’ house is on its last legs. We briefly explored the exterior of the house, and it is not in the state that it was when my grandparents were living. I’ve lived away from home for many years now, so it is still easy for me to conjure up memories of how the house looked in my childhood: surrounded by utopian vegetable gardens and an array of floral spectacles.
We lived next door to my grandparents, so I spent a lot of time there, especially with my brother during our teen years, when we often played games on Friday nights with my grandparents. When I was younger, I often visited Grandma by myself. Occasionally, she would walk me through the house and tell me stories about how it was laid out before, when Grandpa’s grandmother lived there. She used to tell me that my great-great grandmother was always kind to her, when she used to walk by on the laneway on her way to Morpeth. I am not sure when the house was originally built, but some degree of it must have been built in the 1880s or earlier. I’m not sure who is pictured in the photo, below, or what year it was taken. I do wonder if that is Great-great grandmother, Mary (Coll) Duck. She is alone in the photo (actually, the white area in front of her kind of looks like a baby when I zoom in, but it could also be a pet. It looks like a baby’s head shape).
This photo may come up fairly often, because I wish I knew who this lady is with the chickens. I’ve figured out where it was taken, from comparing some old photos. The barn behind the woman is the same one behind the three young men in the next photo. Those three men are sitting by the fairly newly-built barn that still stands on my parents’ farm, which we called “The Shed.” I believe this lady with the chickens is standing on the laneway behind my grandparents’ house. Is it great great grandma? I don’t know, but I like to imagine it is, because the story behind the twelve place settings dish set that I inherited is that she saved her egg money to buy those dishes.