Life has changed at the old farmhouse in the last few weeks. My children started school, and for the first time in 14 years, I do not have a child home with me most of the day. My fourth baby started 1st grade this year, and my first baby started high school. It feels like a new stage in life for me. It's a new era and I'm excited to explore what my life is going to be from now on.
I've spent many days, since the start of school, pondering my next steps. Life has changed so much, not only this milestone of all of the kids in school, but a new house, a new state, and a new career for my husband - a career which takes him on the road much of the time. I am left with this odd sense of freedom and time and trying to figure out what exactly I should be doing with it.
I've explored pursuing photography - going back to school, studying it, and make a career of it, but the only way to make money being a photographer is to take portraits and I don't like taking portraits. I prefer landscapes, architecture, and taking pictures of people as life is happening in candid moments. I don't like setting up shots and telling people how to pose. It's just not something I enjoy. So, photography will just remain a really fun hobby. Besides photography, I have explored getting a degree in early American history. I've explored pursuing many, many of my interests. However, it came down to this, on my death bed, what would I regret not doing? There was only one thing, and it sprang immediately to mind. The one thing I would regret not doing is pursuing my writing. I've said that I've wanted to be a writer since I was 5. It is part of my soul and I must go after it. Even if I am never published, I must try. That's all that matters.
I've thought about writing a memoir, which is something that has been on my mind for a couple of years now. I've always wanted to reach out and help fellow survivors of childhood abuse. I've also thought about writing straight fiction, or a combination of both - my true story interwoven into a fictional story. I haven't come to a conclusion quite yet, but something strange happened as I was pondering all of this last week. I suddenly had the thought that I needed to find out the history of my house, the history of the people who lived here. I had the sense that the answer to my writing may lie in discovering the mysteries of this house.
No one could quite tell me the history of this house or exactly when it was built. However, the owners of this home from 1976-2009 left a big, fat folder of paperwork pertaining to this house. To make a long story short, after contacting my town's historical society and going through paperwork and information on the web, I discovered that the man who built our house was Deacon John Craig (deacon in the presbyterian church for 30 years) who lived from 1762 to 1837. I also discovered that our house once sat 2 miles from here in a neighboring town and was moved to its current location in 1976. His wife was named Janet or Jenet, spelling varies from record to record. Her maiden name was Gilmore, which means that this house originally belonged to a Gilmore girl! He was 9 years her senior and they married in 1794, and at least 4 of their babies were born in my home. Not only was he a deacon in the church, but he also served on the board of selectmen of his town and in records he was called a yeoman. Doesn't that sound positively medieval? In 18th and 19th century America, a yeoman was a small family farmer. He was a dairy farmer and most likely farmed fruit, as well. So, my house is an honest-to-goodness farmhouse! Something I've always wanted. Everyone that lived in this house was listed as a farmer at least through the early 20th century.
I still do not know the date of construction, but through a lot of research I believe it was built in the early 1790's, though I still plan on researching until I find out for sure. The odd thing about all of this is that I discovered a plethora of information about John last Saturday, the 10th. All of this information just came pouring out on that day. Then, at the end of the day, I found out the date of his birth. It was September 10th, the exact same day! It was John's 249th birthday when I found out all about him. Gave me the chills. I also found out where he was buried. So, on Sunday we visited him in a quaint old graveyard, surrounded by lush green farmland, and wished him a happy birthday.
I am now addicted and plan to dig deeper into the history of my home and the people who spent their lives in it. I feel that it will lead to something, and if nothing else I feel a deeper bond to those people who loved my home; who lived here, who were born here, and who died here.