The Old House

Autumn, Part 4: The Old House


Somewhere in rural South Carolina there is a house nestled on the side of a hill surrounded by trees, with an old barn still standing, and where blue jays flit in the trees and deer walk unafraid in its shadows. A house my great-great-grandfather built, where my great-grandparents had a farm, where my grandmother lived, and where I used to go in summer. It’s my mom’s house now and my parents are planting fruit trees and grape vines. I’ve told them to add rose bushes.

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I don’t really know how old the house is. We have family stories on this side of the family stretching back to the Civil War. According to genealogical records, an ancestor of mine who fought in the Revolutionary War lies buried in a nearby churchyard. My family emigrated to South Carolina in the eighteenth century and didn’t really leave until the twentieth with WWII. But our roots are here, the Old House is here, and it draws us back. I can travel the world, live in distant countries and walk on distant shores, but still one of my most favourite places on this earth is that front porch, looking out at the trees. I may never have lived in the Old House, but seeped into the bones of that old house are the memories of my family for generations. Just as I can stand in an ancient, crumbling castle on the other side of the sea and feel the history of that place, so too do I feel the history of the Old House — simpler, less grand, but mine. The Old House is home in a way few other places can be.