My father loved history and modeled his absorption so that I might find some love for history, as well.
And, it worked.
One of our family’s favorite things to do was taking drives through the countryside to seek the abandoned structures or properties. This included old abandoned homes, schools, factories, and especially, cemeteries; the older, the better.
On vacations, it was expected that we would break away from the focal point of our visit to head deep into the countryside in search of abandoned or older structures. My parents would even ask hotel clerks, waitresses, or others about such places. Sometimes, my parents received peculiar looks.
At a very young age, I was engaged in such searches and loved traipsing through tall grass of unkempt cemeteries. Often, my parents would carry me due to grass that might be hiding potential dangers. For some very old pioneer burial grounds, it was not uncommon to find sunken graves where the wood from the coffin had simply rotted away, allowing the earth to cave in on the remains. My parents always shielded me from some of these sights.
When we came upon an abandoned structure, we never entered, but stand off the property to examine.
On the family property south of Elwood was an abandoned house at the north end of my Uncle Danny’s fields. During family gatherings, a large group would walk back, or fill up the back of a few pickup trucks to venture into the property. In the early 1970s, the structure was still pretty sound but decaying rapidly.
My parents retrieved old lanterns, lamps, large wooden picture frames, and several other items which they restored. Sadly, a large beam had crashed through the upright piano that prohibited any restoration.
Our home was filled with antiques, many of which were family heirlooms, and a number of wonderful pieces that were purchased on our family trips.
Some things, once abandoned, cannot be reclaimed; however, some things can be salvaged for use or decor.