Back to the Old Farmstead

Yesterday I went to visit my Mom.  At 79 she is still living in a house looking out at the fields and outbuildings of the old hilltop farm she moved to when she married my Dad.   The place was my grandfather’s before them.  He too brought my grandmother there as a bride.

When I was born times were tough but my birth certificate says I am a farmer’s daughter.  By the time my brother was born, four years later, Dad is listed as a laborer.  The 1960s had brought regulations that these small farms could not support adopting.   The farm land remained but selling cream from a small herd of cows to a creamery had come to an end.  Dad worked by the day for others when asked.  He brought in some more money selling his hay, or lumber when the lower pastures turned to forest.   It was a time when this area was also flooded with “back to the landers.”   Passer-bys who admired the setting made offers on the farm but my Dad held on as best he could.  Dad died in October a few years back when fall foliage was at its peak for his funeral & burial.  Now I watch my Mom continuing to scrape by & hold on in hopes my sister & her children can inherit.  But the cost of owning a place like this is more each year and all the building show their age.  Land does not remain picturesque farmland without being worked, and I can not believe that my nephews will be able to do so.  My niece loves the farm too but she is already a social worker without the time or physical strength for working the land.

I have been told my great-grandfather actually inherited a farm on the other side of the town but he and another farmer traded land & houses.  Part of the land from that other farm became the town cemetery.   My Dad even held the part-time position of  sexton for this cemetery for a few years.  My great-grand parents are resting in the back rows of a rather old section but my grandparents, my grandmother’s older spinster sister, a son who died far too young  & my Dad have been buried in front row plots.  One space remains for my Mom.

Where my siblings & I will come to rest when we leave this world who knows.  But it will not be adjacent to the two generations that rest side by side.

I love the details of the native marble stones erected in the 1st half of the 20th century for my ancestors. 

Nothing elaborate (like in the communities where immigrants from Italy came to work in the stone quarries) but speaking of an era we will not see again.

My Mom and niece decided on a stone bench after my Dad was buried.   I believe, in spite of living in a region with our own marble & granite, the stone is from Asia & craving is now done through some computerization that can take a photo and adapt lines for laser etching.

I guess it suits the 21st century, but it does not make me react the same way  as the older stones.    

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