Thursday, August 11, 2011

Windows and Walls…


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……


…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…


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.


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!


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?


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…


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…





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…}


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…


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!


“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?


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!”


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… 


…modern reflections on a much beloved old family home…

campbell girls at asahel smith house_edited-1

…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…



  1. What a fun post to read! That was such a neat experience with Uncle Richard and that look on his face really was priceless when he saw his initials. Thanks for giving that memory a little more life. Keep up the wonderful work!

  2. Julie,
    What a precious story & great photos to show the exploration of a family past by a family current. How the strings weave one into another... LOVE the twinkle in your uncles eye when you found his initials!

    I have been gone a lot this summer & MISS all my bloggy friends. GREAT TO VISIT AGAIN! Enjoy the rest of this summer. Charlene

  3. Oh wow, what an amazing story and beautiful house filled with so many memories!! XO Cindy

  4. You connected with this! I feel like this too with my family and at the church history sites. This was very special. :D

  5. Oh, you're making me tear up! What a wonderful experience to share with your family. And how very nice of the current owners to understand your family's need to connect to the past.
    Beautiful post Julie!

  6. What a lovely post Julie and a wonderful experience! Because I come from an Airforce family there are very few roots I've been able to explore but I have always loved to go to my Grandparent's home and look and remember and then my Great Grandparent's as well, although both homes are long since sold on to other people. I love that you were able to find that carving by your Uncle. How very wonderful! I love that you are a touchy feely person. You are my kind of people! xxoo

  7. Hi dear Julie, so long time since we heard from each other- summer, family- and vacations I guess,lol.
    How wonderful it have been seing this old home from your family, in real, Julie. And actually being there with many new familymembers must have been so fantastic for your uncle Richard.
    Hope you had a wonderful summer, dear.

  8. Now I've got tears in my eyes! What a special post - how lovely for you and your family - especially your Uncle Richard rediscovering the house and his initials! Lovely

  9. Julie such a sweet story. Love that you share these with us. Heritage is a wonderful treasure. Smiles...Renee

  10. What a wonderful time you had. It makes me long for my childhood home. On the sidewalk is a foot print of my brother's. I think I will contact the family and see about a visit!

    What a treasure Uncle Richard are so blessed to have him.

  11. Julie beautiful story. Thank you for sharing your family.

  12. How lovely, Julie, that you and your family were able to take this trip down memory lane together and that the new owners were kind enough to allow you to do just that. It's so wonderful to be able to compare old photos to the way the house looks today and find that so much remains the same. It's obvious that you and yours are continuing to create those cherished family moments. Have a blessed day, Tammy

  13. I just love stories such as these! What a treasure to visit and find those initials, how exciting is that! Have a lovely weekend! Xoxxoo

  14. Julie,
    i love your touchy feely family. I think we are one of those, too. What a thril to go to the old family home and actually find a place where your great uncle Richard had carved his initials. So special!

  15. How Wonderful the family home is still there! and how nice of the current owners to let you get up close!

  16. you are so blessed to know so much! lovely pictures - and LaPriel is THE most beautiful name. Period.
    fee x

  17. Wow this is just amazing and the sweet find of the RS was just spine tingling. You have such a great family there.

  18. Love the family photo's and how nice to share such beautiful memories!

  19. What a gift and a Blessing! I am with you and your family on the touchy feely thing. I am sure as your daughter held the leather strap she envisioned all the previous hands who held it. So nice of the new owners to allow your family to walk back in time.

  20. Good morning Julie!
    I haven't seen you around but thank you for coming to visit me last night. Oh the memories a place can hold. Last year I went to Los Angeles to visit what little family I have left. Wow. Just the voices bring tears. I wish I could visit my childhood home, but it is in a part of town that is really dangerous! You are fortunate to have been able to see this. What a lovely theme you have to keep vintage memories alive.

    I hope you are enjoying your summer! I go back to school on the 25th!!!!

    Fondly, Anita

  21. that is sooo cool Julie. YOu have the best stories to tell and you are such a wonderful record keeper for you family!! how lucky your future generations will be thanks to you!
    have a great weekend

  22. Hello Julie!
    What a great memory you all made together!
    Thanks for sharing!

  23. JUlie! HI! Hope you all are well! I have missed stopping by to brighten my day! I just LOVE THIS POST! So very special and the stories are so precious! I adore this house. So many wonderful memories. YOu are truly blessed my friend. Truly blessed!

  24. Oh Julie....I have tears in my lucky you all were to have this day and this house!!!!! Sandy

  25. What a beautiful post Julie and I love the pictures to match the story! What a wonderfully, blessed event this was! xox

  26. that was so very sweet of the new family living there to let you take pictures in front of their house. i love the windows. i too would be touching everything! I'm that kinda girl too :) what a treasured day!

  27. Such a nice story to share, and so lovely that you could put this all together for your family.