Thursday, August 11, 2011

Windows and Walls…

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I’ve always loved my great-uncle Richard…I just always have.  Maybe it’s because he loves and shares the stories of our family like I do……

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…or maybe it’s because every time he sees me his eyes fill with tears and he tells me how much I remind him of his sweet sister-in-law, my grandmother, LaPriel…and that makes MY eyes fill with tears…

I was so thrilled to be able to help him remember one of his very own stories this summer…

In the little town of Snowflake, Arizona sits a very special house…special to me and to those I love, anyway…

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Built in the 1920’s by my great-grandparents, Asahel and Pauline Smith…

Asahel Henry & Pauline Udall Smith

…it still stands today.  Siding now covers the plaster walls…new numbers hang over the front door…new outdoor lighting lights the path for evening visitors…but the house itself…it remains the same.

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A few of us gathered around this sweet old house on a Saturday afternoon…a family portrait was taken…

Contact was previously made with the current owners.  They would be out-of-town this particular weekend, and were happy to let the Asahel and Pauline Family walk around the house and spend a little time there…something I’d never before been able to do.  So walk around, I did!

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Thoughts turned to these old worn steps…my father would have run up and down these steps as a boy…how many other beloved feet walked up these steps to the front door in by-gone days?

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Here is one of my favorite of all my family photos….Pauline (on the right) chats by the front door with Mary, her best friend and co-grandmother (LaPriel’s mother)…this was before the front porch was built…

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I’ve always loved these windows—only seen from afar and in old family photos…now I walked around to the side yard to see them up close…

LaPriel in Snowflake, Dec. 1936

…here they are again…1937.  My young and lovely grandmother, LaPriel stands between two of these windows--just months before giving birth to my father…

A few little scenes around the house…

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Coming around towards the front of the house on the other side, I found steps leading down to a cellar door…

DSC04256_edited-1 {daughter Annie goes down to investigate…}

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Being a touchy-feely bunch (they get it from me!), my daughter Sarah just had to go down the stairs and handle the leather strap hanging from the door…

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Then I looked on the stones next to the stairs, and thought I saw some carving—partially hidden by a rock…I moved that rock pretty quickly, I can tell you!

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“R.S”, it stated, in bold, block characters…R.S.  My grandfather was Rudger Smith…and his youngest brother—the only one of Asahel and Pauline’s children left—was Uncle Richard, there with us today…could it have been one of them?

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I ran to the front yard and asked him to come back to the stairs with me…I showed him the carving and asked if he knew anything about it…

Oh!  I wish I had taken a picture of him at that moment!  The twinkle in his eyes was priceless as he exclaimed—“That’s me!”

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He had chiseled his initials into the block when he was about 9 years old, he said…what a find!

DSC04268_edited-1 {my daughter Chelsea listens as Uncle Richard tells his story…}

Windows and walls…then and now… 

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…modern reflections on a much beloved old family home…

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…great-great granddaughters stand where generations have stood before…

DSC04262_edited-1 {mother and daughter—Annie and I}

…I told you we were a touchy-feely bunch!

See you soon with something new…

Julie