Ben and Minnie's house

2 abandoned houses were along our dirt road growing up. One was a spooky looking old farmhouse with an apple tree, broken windows, and grey rotten clapboards. This spooky house terrified me. It was torn down when I was still quite young. So I never got over the fear of "the haunted house." The other one was surrounded by out buildings (for storing farm equipment) and had calendars from the 1970's and early 80's on the walls, mouse and raccoon poop in piles on the floor, dusty lace curtains on the front door, and piles of mail all around. As the last two people to live in this old farmhouse were "Ben and Minnie that's what we called it "Ben and Minnie's" (I vaguely remember Minnie living there and when she was put into a nursing home I remember visiting her once with my Grandmother).

As a girl and then as an early teen I would ride my bike up to Ben and Minnie's house. It was there that I discovered a garden that had been. With vines of grapes, raspberries, rhubarb, roses, and more I felt like I had my secret world to explore. I could play four hours in those gardens. My imagination was opened by them. I watched baby birds hatch, discovered how fiercely red and large the brown thrasher (a bird) could be, I escaped from the emotional torment of early adolescence and home.

I dreamed of living in this funky old farmhouse someday. I wanted to tend those gardens and harvest those berries. One day, in high school I returned to find that the entire farm and outbuildings had been taken down. Minnie had finally died and the farmer (her son) wanted to farm the space. I grieve for that garden, for Ben and Minnie, for the sad reality that I never got to say goodbye to a place I loved.

So I won't wrap this up in a pretty bow or make meaning of this experience. Because just like that, the house had been destroyed. Just like that.


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