The Reluctant Farmer, her mother and I were cruising down the road on our way to Coronado Heights when suddenly I heard The Reluctant Farmer exclaim: "Oh, honey! Look at that house!" (She knows I love all things old and abandoned...) I looked up and I think my heart stopped. There in the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere, sat this beauty. The Reluctant Farmer quickly pulled over so I could snap a few pictures, but a zoom lens wasn't good enough for me. I wanted a driveway!
It took a few moments, but we located where the driveway once was. I quickly stuffed an extra lens in my pocket and hustled up the dirt tracks that were now mostly covered by prairie. I was up to my arm pits in the meadow with grass hoppers hopping all around me like popcorn kernels on a stove, but I kept advancing, taking pictures as I went.
When I got up close to her, I simply said: "Hello. You're beautiful, and you look like you have been alone for a long time."
I swear when I closed my eyes I heard her whisper back: "It has been a long time. Thank you for stopping by."
In my head, as I was going behind the house, I was thinking: "Wow! I wonder how long it has been since someone has lived here?!" And then I stumbled across this part of the puzzle....
A refrigerator from the mid 1930's - early 1940's. It had just been tossed out the door and into the backyard, where it lay for God knows how long. It was here that I had to stop, because something about this house moved me. I placed one hand on the refrigerator, feeling the cold metal under my finger tips and audibly asked: "What makes someone just up and leave their home?"
I moved on the the east side of the house, which is the side that had the most damage, and again I stopped. I closed my eyes for a moment, and let the prairie winds blow through me, and I swear for a moment I heard the slam of the front door, and children laughing. It was obvious at some point this house was very loved. And for a moment I wished those walls could talk.
I continued taking pictures as I walked around the house, and after I was done I thanked her for allowing me to visit. I carefully listened for the sound of rattlesnakes as I fought my way back to the car, and for the remainder of the afternoon I was in awe. My mind raced wondering about that astute woman. Why was she alone?
The only explanation that we could come up with was that during The Great Depression, when The Dust Bowl hit the Great Plains region, over 400,000 people quickly left the Great Plains to find work, food and a place to live. Our guess is she lost her family then, and no one ever came back to live inside her loving shelter again.
What I would give to hear her walls talk....