1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


An Empty Feeling

John McCurdy April 8, 2012


I don't know if you have an feeling like this, I expect you and everyone else has had several of these moments. I went up to the house on the hill where we had lived so many years several weeks ago with my son Robert. He and his wife were toying with the idea of buying it. I really discouraged him, I could see the work that it needed these days after several years of neglect. I felt like a dirty traitor to the place but knew it could never be as it once was. We had sold the land behind it that contained the house we had built for Pearls Mom and we also sold the 2 lots that joined Bill Simmons so it could not be reunited into one piece of property. I think what really got me was realizing I was too old and had too few years left to do any really tough jobs. -- John

I have had an empty feeling in my soul for the last few days. I know, all too well, what is the cause. I am too old to cry, although I confess I do so quite often: a story of mistreatment of a child, or an animal, an especially glorious piece of music. Certain passages of Beethovenís Ninth will do it every time, although that is a different kind of crying. That is the emotion caused be the sheer beauty of the music. This feeling Iíve had is, I think caused by a yearning for things and times past. Of things that are lost, never to again be felt! A yearning that canít and never will be filled.

Many of you likely know that after Pearl and I married and after a few years of working and school, we returned to Alderson, the town we love, later in 1962, we bought the home of Ike and Mary Bess Mitchell on the hill overlooking the town. Built around 1900 we loved the place. Our property adjoined the Cedars and the Simmons and went down and across Muddy Creek. Good neighbors all around, on a cul-de-sac, no traffic and little noise other than the sound of children playing or of the neighbors mowing their yards. A great place to raise children, a place for tree houses and tire swings and hide-outs galore! Close enough to walk to school and yet not so far as to be a wearying trek.

We loved the few times that Mary Bess and Ike came to visit, We liked hearing them say they liked the thing we had done to the house. We liked hearing of thing that had happened in that home, to the Hoy, Hancock, Caraway and Mitchell families, who had all owned it. We felt we were being good caretakers. We often wondered when the house would be known as the McCurdy house.

The memory of watching son Robert finally manage to keep his bike upright and solo, of oldest son Bryan driving down the hill for the first time alone, running to the front window to be able to keep him in sight as long as possible, knowing that a new chapter in his, and our, life had just opened.

Later, the lonely and empty feeling of the house when Bryan went off to college, marriage and a home of his own. Even later when Robert told us he had left Concord and enlisted in the Navy.

All of the hours spent by the lot of us on projects of one sort and another, the family dinners, with as many as 20 plus seated in the Dining Room, or in one of the living rooms on holidays.

Some of the heartaches we knew came flooding back just as poignantly as the good memories, maybe more vividly!

As I walked through the rooms, not ours now, seeing how the later owners had made their own changes and alterations, and how they had also neglected so much that we had loved and lavished so much attention upon, taking care to try to leave better than we found.

The roofing needs replacing immediately, the front porch roof, (always a problem), now needs rebuilt completely, there is so much that needs done, I wonder if anyone will buy it? I would like so very much to see that happen, for a young couple with kids to have the experience and the pleasure of loving it as we once did and still do!

It is for sale, for just a little more than it was in 1962 and for less than 15% of what we sold it for only a few years ago!

I am sorely tempted! But I must not give in, I am afraid I wonít last long enough and I suspect that is really what the yearning is all about, the past, and where it went so terribly fast!

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