Elmhurst has always been a
fascination for me. It was the home of Sid and Eva Skaggs and their family
until they bought a house in Alderson! Just before one gets to the Wolf
Creek Post Office, a road goes meandering to the right toward Johnson's
Crossroads, just a little ways up that road , at one time was the
world-famous, Wolf-Creek Skating Rink. If one cares too, one can, after a
few miles, get to the road between Greenville and Alderson.
Even after buying a house and moving to town, Sid continued to go out to
Wolf Creek daily to tend to his cattle and other farming operations. I
don't think Sid was too interested in the farming life and the hard work
that it required. He had been a Deputy Sheriff of Monroe County for
several years and that wasn't exactly hard work! His wife, Eva (Nelson),
the sister of Mamie Lobban and Stella Nelson, was a school teacher much of
her life, A little stout, as her sister were, she might not have been the
greatest housekeeper, but at the more important things in life, like being
a good mother, and a friend to everyone, she excelled.
I often, in the summer, along with Sid's youngest daughter Elinor, (my
first love), accompanied him to the farm near Johnson's Crossroads. Elinor
and I would explore the fields and outcroppings of rock, which contained
millions of fossils of prehistoric times when these mountains were covered
with the oceans of history. We would fill our pockets to "collect" them. I
wonder where they might be now.
We would wander through the vacant house, from the cobwebby basement to
the cavernous attic above the third floor. I don't know if anyone ever
lived in the house after the Skaggs family moved to Alderson. Perhaps that
is why I feel so sad when I drive past the house these days. I often stop
and walk up and around the house, once a few years ago, I went in.
Trees now sprout from the gutters that have mostly caved in, the tin roof
still sheds most of the rain, but not all. Several of the porch roofs have
started to sag and fall and one has completely fallen! The windows
apparently have been removed by intruders and the doors now are either
gone or hang askance from broken casings. The yard is full of stickweeds
and other weedy plants and broken farm utensils and pieces of roof blown
off by the winter winds and the summer storms lie everywhere one looks.
Yet, in spite of the indignities heaped on it by age and neglect, the
walls and corners are plumb, the roofline does not sag and after more than
a half century of misuse the house stands defiantly as though it were
daring nature to do it's worst!
I wish I had the time and money and skill, I would bring the house back to
being a home once again. Not as the Skaggs home or the McCurdy home, but
someone's home. Hopefully someone with a bunch of wild indian's for kids,
who could holler and yell and fight and play among themselves until they
fell asleep worn out at bedtime.
I know I am sort of goofy, even for thinking that such a thing could
happen, but big, old empty farmhouses do that to me, even though my mind
knows why they were abandoned. The days of women like my grandmothers worn
out by childbirth and hard work and dead at thirty five, the days of
second and third wives still continues with us, but for different
reasons! We moved to town, to new jobs, new house with all the
conveniences we think we must have, we needed fewer sons and daughters to
help with the work. Life may be much easier, I don't think it is much
Are there old houses in your memory?