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Friday, September 28, 2012

The last house in Anna



Laura pushes one cat or another down the sofa each night and opens her homework.  Last night Uncle Tom, passing by, stopped and swiveled her book around.  “Anna, Ohio!  I grew up there.  I grew up right here!”  He pointed to the corner of a picture of an aerial photo of the Honda plant outside Anna.

He did grow up there, the last house in town and right next door to a huge farm.  The farm continued after the children left, right up to the deaths of both parents.  The son wanted to keep on farming, the daughter wanted her inheritance in cold hard cash and voila, the farm became a housing development and a Honda plant.

We visited Anna for a reunion of Tom’s family some thirty years ago.  It was fall and haying time and I wandered next door to help out at the farm.  I climbed on a flat bed of bales of hay.  One fellow handed a bale off to Tom, who handed the bale off to me to put on the conveyor belt up to the hay mow. Two childhood friends on the flat bed and another in the haymow, unloading bales from the conveyor belt and stacking them.

You know what happened.  The two fellows handing off to me speeded up so gradually I didn’t notice until I didn’t have time to wipe the sweat from my face.  I thought they wanted to see if the girl would cry “Uncle,” and of course I wouldn’t.  But they did get what they were waiting for—their friend stuck his head out the window up there to say slow down you fools, but saw he was being paced by a girl!  Oh, the indignity of it.  I let it go a couple more minutes, then did cry “Uncle” so the poor fellow unloading and stacking wouldn’t have heat stroke.

And now it’s a Honda plant.

I cannot fault the sister who was not seeking an investment or pity the brother who could not obtain financing for his farm.  It is what it is.  That Honda plant was built in 1982, and now in thirty years is in a fifth grade social studies book as an example of transportation in America.

The plant provided decent jobs for the community.  It gave young people a reason to put down roots and stay where they grew up.  Although Tom wound up in the opposite corner of the state, the plant and associated employment in the community kept his younger brothers close to home and to their dad.  Tom’s brother-in-law, a retired federal prison system official, even settled down for a few years and as city manager helped Anna manage its new found prosperity.

Tom’s childhood home, the last house in Anna, was as run down as Tom’s dad a dozen or so years ago.  Dad knew it was time to find more suitable living quarters, and he went to live with his daughter and the city manager of Anna.  Dad knew a young couple in town, just starting out, who often stopped by to talk to the old man and say, “If you ever think of selling this house, we hope you will think of us.”   Dad did, and the lovely old Craftsman home has been restored for another family. 

There is a beautiful picture of the front of that restored house, the couple and their three stair step children tucked away in our house.  If Tom finds it, I’ll change out that Craftsman for this.



18 comments:

  1. what a beautiful old house. so happy that it got restored and is still sheltering families.

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  2. You have a lot of family history in that little town! I would love to see the inside of that craftsman house! I'll bet it's a treasure.

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  3. I think your "memory" posts are some of my favorites...

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  4. That is an amazing house, and a lovely family story from you as well. Thank you.

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  5. Time marches on and few things remain the same. Nice though to know that the house has been restored to a home for another family.

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  6. It is sad to see good farm land paved over. Too bad we can't have it both ways. Good for you to keep up with the guys on stacking the hay. heh heh. I'm so glad someone who appreciated the house bought it and cared for it.

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  7. It's hard to stop progress. At least it provided a living for many people.

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  8. wonderful and sadly poignant,what a wonderful example of a craftsman, they paved over a parking lot, joni mitchell.

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  9. So glad that beautiful house has been restored. You were very fit (and determined) to keep pace with those men. You showed them!

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  10. How wonderful to see such a wonderful house so beautifully restored. Your description of bringing in the hay is wonderful -- until about 5 years ago our neighbour and farmer in France did it much the same way -- with his whole family turned out! My husband was so enthralled on year he climbed over the fence and joined in -- I took pictures and videos!

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  11. What a gorgeous home.

    I love the story about your girls getting pay rises in the last post. Marvellous.

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  12. The delicate balance of industry moving into neighborhoods is tough. I recently read about Three Rivers Gorge Dam in China that destroyed countless villages and many cities. That is something serious there. They had absolutely no say in the matter at all. Craftsman style houses are one of my favorite styles of houses. But I am over old houses. Our old house has nearly killed me. hugs, olive

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  13. great looking house - curb appeal as they say. A Honda or any big plant brings changes. Most are good but a few might not be good for everyone.

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  14. That's a beautiful house. I've always loved that style.

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