The Many Changes to My Childhood Home

I grew up in the small town of Molino, Florida, which is located north of Pensacola, Florida in Escambia County.  The population as of July 1, 2019 was 1,394.1 Although I could not locate anything to back it up, I would have to estimate back in 1967 when I was born, the population was probably under 500. It was a town where everyone knew everybody.

The house that was my childhood home has been in my dad’s family since 1937. The house was built in 1928. My grandfather used to take the train from Chicago, Illinois to Barrineau Park, Florida where he met my grandmother. He made many trips back and forth, eventually marrying my grandmother and moving her to Chicago where my dad was born. By the time, my dad was a year old, his parents had purchased the family home which was occupied by my grandparents, my dad and his one and only sibling, an older brother, Richard.

Over the next 80 plus years, the home would change many times, not only on the inside, but also on the outside. Currently the home is unrecognizable from what I remember as a child. The one thing that hasn’t changed since I was born is the back porch. The bricks leading up to that concrete porch have busted many lips over the years.

I remember and wish the front of the house was still like it was when I was a child. There was a big porch all the way across the front with big white columns and the longest sidewalk I had ever seen that as kids we had to walk down to get to the road to catch the bus to go to school. I’m sure my love of front porches is because of my childhood home.

This home has been the backbone of my family. The place that I could always go to no matter where I lived or who I was married to or what was going on in my life. It was the most stable thing I’ve ever had. It provided a safe place for my children as they were growing up and a place they could always go “home” too as well. It’s a place where many weddings and family gatherings have taken place. A familiar and steady place that everyone feels love and comfort.

The oldest pictures I have are from 1938; although the house was built in 1928. The people here would be my grandmother, my dad and uncle.

The fireplace in the front was taken out by Hurricane Frederick in September 1979. We reused them to build a new fireplace (shown in a more current picture below). Not sure when the back fireplace was removed; although it was not there when I was a child. The room on the back of the house is where my dad used to sleep as a child. It was later converted to an “inside” back porch and the current back porch.

By 1967 the front of the house had changed as some of the surrounding brick had been removed and the front columns had been changed.

This pic from Easter 1970 shows a different view of the porch where you can see where the original brick had been removed. On the left above the bushes you can see where the brick had originally been.

It would have been after Hurricane Frederick when the chimney fell that daddy changed the front of the house and closed in the front porch turning that area into a den with a much bigger fireplace. The front had cedar siding.

The building to the left is the garage and it changed colors many times as well. I have seen pics of it being silver, brown, red, and most recently yellow. (I always like the red color the most).

The back-porch area, which has been this way more than 50 years. The only thing that changes is the chairs.

The house wasn’t the only thing that changed through the years, the grounds did to. Somewhere along the way a pond was added, which we all love to fish in. It’s probably been there around 10-15 years as of the posting of this story.

This pic shows the house before the most recent renovations along with the red garage, the red barn (on the left) and the yellow building (which use to be part of the chicken pens back in the day).

During the most recent renovation, the cedar siding on the front was covered by vinyl and the front door was removed. The old fireplace from the 1930’s was removed, and a door was put in for a side entry. A new roof was added and other minor updates. The only thing that now looks like “home” is the back porch as the rest of the house looks nothing like my childhood home.

 

The magnolia trees that had been there my entire life were recently cut down changing up the appearance of the grounds even more than when all the bushes were removed around the house. The yard is still immaculate as dad insists on mowing the grass every week.

All of these changes are hard to accept, but it also shows that time changes everything and all we have left are the memories we make. I wish now that I had taken more pictures of our lives as we were growing up so I would have more memories to share with my children and grandchildren.

My hope is that if you take anything from this post that it would be to cherish every memory you have growing up, take pics of all the changes that take place in your life as that is all you will have when the world changes and life keeps moving on.

One of the most precious memories of all from this childhood home is the family pics we took for my parents 50th anniversary in 2011. This pic is just another reminder that things change every day.

The Original 5

The grandkids, 3 of which are my children

The great-grandchildren, (my grandson)

The last pic of me and my children together!

 

 

1https://florida.hometownlocator.com/fl/escambia/molino.cfm

Childhood Memories

Childhood memories can be good and bad. I have several memories from when I was 4 and 5 that really stand out to me still today. I don’t know if it was due to the fun the memory provided or the trauma that ensued that keeps these fresh in my mind, or if it’s the pictures that I have of these memories that I can look at and remember the good ole’ days.

When I was five years old, I remember getting my first puppy. It was a red short-haired dachshund that we named Duchess. I remember her being so tiny when we first got her. This would be what started my love for this remarkable little breed. At some point in her life, my parents bred her, but she only had 1 puppy. It was a boy and we named him Duke. When I left home at 19 my parents still had them both. Duchess passed first. She was around 18 years old when she passed away. She had arthritis and couldn’t move fast and unfortunately got under the car one day and was run over. The veterinarian said due to her age and health my parents should let her go, so they did. She was buried in a handmade box close to the house. Within a couple years, Duke met the same fate by the same person, who will go unnamed, but I will say it was not my parents that run over them. He was buried in a handmade box as well.

My first puppy, Duchess.

Momma and son, Duchess and Duke

Another memory I have from when I was around 5 was feeding the calves with a bottle. When one of the mommas would quit feeding or couldn’t produce enough milk, we would have to feed the baby with a bottle. I always thought that was the coolest thing to feed them with this big bottle and nipple. I always had to help everybody else out because I didn’t think they knew what they were doing.

Me trying to help feed the baby.

At Christmas, my parents give all three of us kids a go-cart. Only problem was I was not quite 5 years old. The boys were 9 and 11 so they were much better drivers than I was. By the end of the day I had crashed it into the side of the house which was made of brick. Needless to say, it damaged the front so bad that dad had to take it to a friend to get some welding done on it to fix the problem. It wouldn’t be long before it was back at the house. I don’t know how many years we had that thing, but the best part was riding it through the pecan orchard which also served as the cow field and try to avoid hitting the cow paddies.  To my recollection I never hit a tree, only the house.

Christmas morning getting my first ride.

Another day enjoying the ride after it was repaired.


My next memory is when I had a knife pulled through my hand that ended up almost cutting 3 fingers off at the tips (no pictures of that). Mom and Dad had left to go to the store and in our house the rule was you didn’t use the phone unless you had Dad’s permission, but if Dad wasn’t there you couldn’t ask him so that meant you couldn’t use the phone. My brothers were supposed to clean the kitchen up as they were older than me. The younger of the two was playing with a knife trying to cut the top off a salt box, but didn’t finish the job so me being me, I picked up the knife and tried to finish it. While doing so he asked for the knife and when I said, NO! He proceeded to snatch it out of my hand by the handle while pulling the 10-11-inch blade through my hand. The three fingers from middle to pinky were cut, pinky almost to the bone. I was bleeding everywhere. The oldest brother grabbed a kitchen towel and wrapped it around my hand. After it got full of blood, he wrapped another one. Nobody could use the phone to call for help, so I just sat there until my parents got home.

We had a couch in our kitchen, which is where I was sitting when my parents finally came back from the store. They immediately saw the blood and asked what happened. They were not happy. They looked at my hand and called my aunt who was a nurse to ask what they should do. She had them bring me to her house so she could look at it and then bandage it enough to get me to the hospital. I ended up having 5 stitches in each finger. The doctor said if he had pulled the knife just a little harder, he would have severed my pinky right off. I still remember the stories my parents told of the horror in the hospital. I screamed so loud my mom couldn’t get far enough down the hallway to not hear me. My dad had to help the nurses hold me down while the doctor sewed me up. I don’t know how many times I have told this story over the years, but it still makes me laugh when I do. I can still see the scars on each finger.

I have other wonderful childhood memories as well, but I’ll save those for another day. Feel free to share one of your favorite childhood memories in the comments below.

Duke in the forefront and Duchess is hiding behind him.

Duchess begging to come inside.