by Anne Ruse
For years when Dad had driven by this big beautiful home and always said, "some day I'm going to own it." I don't know if he believed it or not, but "Lo and Behold!" one day he announced that he had indeed bought it.
It was fantastic to us. A large parlour with a stained glass windows and sliding doors where we hung those beautiful beaded Portier. A large sitting room with a bay window. In that room, there was a glass front book case with a drop leaf writing desk, and a jardiniere of wandering Jew falling from the top to the floor.
The Library table was always in the center of the room and held a large lamp and the Bible. A rocker and another chair was pulled up to it to read by. A wicker fernery full of ferns and a pot bellied stove, usually in use for it cost too much to heat the whole house with a hot water furnace.
A large dinning room with glass door cupboards that also opened up on the other side into the kitchen and a door with a beautiful stained glass of peacocks and flowers.
The Kitchen had its large wood cooking stove and a dumb waiter which was our only refrigeration. Milk, butter etc were lowered to the cellar where it was cool and pulled up and down with a rope.
A Library which we used for a bedroom and believe it or not, an indoor bathroom. Yes, really a built in-tined lined tub you could fill from faucets and pull a plug to let out the water. Good bye to wash tubs! A marble topped sink with a radiator nearby that I had to climb up on reach the ELECTRIC LIGHT and which usually gave me a shock. OH!! and this little room off of it. Imagine not having to go outside to that little ivy covered "Chick Sales". You just pulled a chain from overhead and got a fantastic slow flush. AND rolls of store bought paper, not Sears last years catalog.
Then there was the front hall. I will never forget the beautiful and hideous HALL Tree. When the previous owner moved, they had an auction out on the from lawn. Dad bought a few pieces but the one that stands out in my mind is the knarled, knotted oak hall tree. Varnished to a high gloss, a large mirror in it's middle and a zinc lined umbrella stand at it's base. That hall tree held many a hat. Straw hats, Easter bonnets, poke bonnets, felt hats, wide brimmed beaver hats, fur hats and tam o'shanters.
Then up to the winding stairs, but stop on the way up to look out the diamond shaped window, with its stained glass squared of blue, green, yellow, re, and purple and then on down the hall to four bedrooms and up another winding stairs to a single room that was many things. A playroom mostly, a bedroom when older and an isolation room room when I had the measles.
It also has windows on three sides, but a back window opened up onto a 2 foot ledge where you could climb out and risk life and limb seeing how far up on a steep corrugated tile roof you could climb before sliding back down to the ledge. With such audacity, I must have had a guardian angel on my shoulder for it surely was not good sense that kept me safe.
Now back down the back stairs, out the back door, up the old Russett apple tree, drop down onto a flat section of roof, in a window and round again until tired of that game.
When evening came, a gang of kids usually came because we had a big yard. We played hide and seek, tree tag, drop the handkerchief, blind man's bluff, black man, statue and many other games.
When it was dark, we'd catch lightening bugs and make rings of them. every time that you touched them, they'd glow. Then under the street light to play a couple of games and everyone would have to go home.
Come to think about it, I doubt if I had any trouble sleeping in those days. I do remember that going to bed did have its' scary moments. You were safe getting ready for bed, but it was that dark dash between the dresser and the bed after you turned off the light, that the boogie man could grab you until you were in bed and covered up. Come to think of that, I guess that's where I should have competed for the dash for the track meet. I might have won.
When we moved into town and I was to enroll in school, I'd never heard of class A&B, so when the teacher asked if I was in 3A or 3B, well, I thought I'd out-fox that teacher and skip half a grade. After all, doesn't any old hay seed know A comes before B so I said 3B. Well, I guess you all remember A&B don't you?
Today We hear a lot about racism. I remember when kids ganged up on me because I was a "hay-seed" and a "Hick" when I had to learn their ways in town and earn their respect. You know, kids can be so thoughtlessly cruel at times And so wonderfully unawares at other times of color, family, dress, habits or religious preference.
Oh, that we had their power to forgive and forget and accept so easily and so quickly.
I remember the time our Sunday School class was invited out in the country one cold winter night for home made do-nuts and hot chocolate. We met at the church and all piled unto the sled for the long ride. Straw in the bottom and blankets to help keep warm. With a slap of the lines on the rumps of the horses and a "Giddy up" from the driver, we were off on the cold star bright night.
Once out of town we sang and sang and then getting cold, some of us would pile out and run ahead of the snorting horses until our lungs ached with the cold and exertion and would wait at the side of the road, almost blanketed with the fog our our own breathing, until the sled would pull up and we'd all jump in and snuggle under the blankets. Then in the distance we'd see the farmhouse with the lamp in the window and the lantern on the fence to welcome us with friendly smiles.
Oh, how good the do-nuts and hot chocolates tasted. We gathered around the organ while the teacher played and we all sang until we could sing no more, then back to the sled once more for the long ride home. It was quieter ride now and a swifter one too, as the horses knew they would soon be rid of this burden and would be bedded down in a warm barn to rest and eat.
But I wonder, if those horses could talk, if they wouldn't tell you that they too had enjoyed the singing and gaiety and laughter of the young boys and girls as they had pulled them over the glistening, squeaky snow under a blanket of million shinning stars. MOTTO: LIVE WELL TODAY, SO YOUR TOMORROW'S WILL BECOME PLEASANT YESTERDAYS TO REMEMBER.
Submitted by Nancy Flipse - email Nancy
This home is at 405 South Center St. Bremen, IN. This is the home my grandfather John Wesley Albert bought and lived in until his death 1933. The Olin Ernsberger family bought the house from his estate in 1938 and lived there until 1952. Mrs. Hazel Ernsberger was a Senff (daughter of Levi Senff, brother to John Wesley Alberts, deceased wife, Susanna Viloa Senff. The house at 405 South Center Street was a "Dietich home", built by one of the Dietrich brothers.
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