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.