Jack’s Mid-Missouri Memories: “The Old House”
The poetry part of “The Old House” was published in Country Folks Magazine in July of 1999.
The Old House
When I was growing up in Sedalia, Mo. in the 40s and 50s, my family, like many others, lived in rented houses. It was always exciting as a child to move into a new house with all its hidden secrets to discover, but a little sad too that we were moving from the old one that had become such a familiar place. It was almost like losing a friend.
When I was six years old, we moved into an old house at the corner of Fifth Street and Emmit Avenue, where I was to spend a good part of my childhood. A lot of happiness happened in that house, along with the sadness of losing my father when I was nine, so it is a place I could never forget. I guess I bonded with that house more then any other before or since, and I drove by it often after I was grown for a tug of nostalgia.
It was an old house even in the 40s, and was built for the most part from railroad car lumber, as a lot of houses on the east side of Sedalia were back then. The reclaimed boards were considerably cheaper than new lumber. The floors of the old house were so uneven, that when my mother mopped them, the water would run to which ever corner she was the closest to at the time. The doors opened and closed on their own, and cracks at the top and bottom had to be dealt with every winter to keep out the cold wind. The roof had the look of a swaybacked horse even back then, but it only succumbed to the weight of snow a few years before they tore it down.
I still drive by the corner where it stood and remember my childhood there, but it’s not the same without the house.
I wrote this Poem for that old house after It was gone, which may seem silly to some, but I’ll bet there are lots of people who are emotionally attached to some old house in their past.
The vacant lot I passed today, is where my old house stood.
A place some memories could stay, a home for my childhood.
I knew someday it had to go, that vacant window stare,
the fallen roof from winters’ snow, and walls the wind stripped bare.
An awful sight some would say, those glad it’s gone at last.
But I saw beauty there each day, my eyes could see its past.
I crawled beneath its creaky floors, and planned great battles there.
I hid behind its’ fortress doors, to ambush “Monster” chair.
It gave me warmth when winter came, in summer cooled the sun.
No house has ever felt the same, no playground quite as fun.
Tune in to Jack Miller on Newstalk 1050 KSIS every Monday morning to hear excerpts from his book of Mid-Missouri memories, titled ‘Unhurried Days.’