Thursday, August 25

Mama Kat Thursday: My Childhood Neighborhood

The Mama Kat prompt for today is, "share a post inspired by your childhood neighborhood."

I grew up in Indiana, way out in the country. This forest photo is what my back yard looked like. And across the road. And pretty much my whole neighborhood. 

Our house sat off a State Road in a cleared top corner of 22 acres of heavily forested valley with a creek. That road ran past our house, down a moderately steep hill into a valley, across the bottom, then up the other side. If you kept going west, the land gradually flattened out into cornfields and cattle farms, but where we lived and east, was nothing but rolling hills.

The area was sparsely settled with either people already retired or by families with Dad's willing to make the 88 mile round-trip commute to Indianapolis to work.
Aside from a small corner grocery that had a cafe and a volunteer fire station, there just was very little around.

For years and years, the only thing across the road from my house was heavy woods and a interesting old-fashioned, hand-hewn, split-log cabin set far back in the trees. It was a hunters cabin, I think.  It had cement filling the chinks between logs and two long, narrow, tall plate glass windows. I saw the inside once. It was just a single room with a fire place one on end and an open loft above for a bedroom on the other. A deer rack was mounted up high on the thick log beam the supported the loft.
I don't recall now who showed us the inside, but I remember that cabin was always a great curiosity to me.

Gradually, more people started moving into the area, seeking the
"good country life," and willing to commute to have it. One family bought the property with the old cabin across the road and built a large, single-story orange brick house. They didn' t do anything with the old cabin. 
That's when we met their daughter, Berrita.
 Ever know one of those families where neighborhood kids seem to prefer hanging out at their house rather then their own homes?
My family was that family other kids liked to adopt.
 Berrita was very freckled, had brown hair, a distinct over-bite and always seemed to be walking up our driveway to see what we were doing. It might've been because all her older siblings were grown and gone, and her folks were more focused on building their dream "country home" for retirement then her.
As I last recall, Berrita met a boy employed as a carnival worker , and went off with him to live the carnie life.
I guess her folks retirement dream didn't quite work out, since they sold the orange brick house to a family with young kids before I finished high school.
 They didn't do anything with the cabin, either.

Then there was Judy, another neighborhood kid who spent more time at our house then her own.
Her parents bought some land in the valley below us, then built a house far from the road, up on a tall hill with a wicked steep gravel driveway.
 Judy had an older sister, who was a grade ahead of me, I think. and I believe Judy was a grade behind my middle sister. Judy was also the youngest child, with two way older brothers already grown and gone. Then her older sister also graduated and left, her parents abruptly divorced and her Dad was working long shifts, leaving Judy home alone most of the time. So she found company and solace with us.
A blonde and bubbly, talkative social personality, we had many growing-up adventures with Judy and she was a regular part of our family.  Still is, in many ways. We invited her to come to a family reunion one time, a few years ago she met all of us Olive Garden in Terre Haute while Hubby and I were home visiting and she recently connected with Hubby on Facebook.
So, what was your neighborhood like growing up?

Thanks for Visiting!
(Someone asked what happened to the old log cabin.  So, let me put question that to my sisters: do either one of you know what happened to that old log cabin in the woods across the road?)


Angie Ballard said...

My family farm is much like you described, right down to the creek and the old log cabin. The cabin, sadly, had to be torn down before it fell on the new house. It leaned a bit more each year :(

KatBouska said...

That's fascinating! Whatever happened to the old cabin?

Paula Kiger said...

What a fun post - you painted a vivid picture of it (and holy heck what a commute!). Thanks for sharing!

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