I felt a pang, no, a pain, that swept through me in an instant as I beheld the old decrepit building with its weathered facade and its old-fashioned architectural detals. The pain was one of nostalgia, a yearning of things long gone, things that made my childhood magical, things that most children will never understand in today’s fast food world.
Except for my grandkids.
As long as I can walk and talk, as long as I can get into a car, and pack them along with me, my grandchildren will be introduced to my past, my heritage – a heritage in danger of disappearing altogether under the pressures of weather, urban sprawl, industry, and . . . time.
Read on . . .
As a child, I investigated many, many old houses that dotted the railway tracks that ran back of our house. So, old houses, located in rural Canada, hold an instant attraction for me. The one showing above was discovered along Hwy 39 West in Alberta.
We had spent a couple of days roughing it in Em-Te Town, an 1800s replica Western town and campsite. It was fun, but it was contrived. This old farm house was real. And what we discovered inside was even more real.
The house had been home to a squatter who looked like he left either in a hurry or by reason, not of his own choosing. All papers and magazines strewn about the pigeon-poop-filled place, were dated 1975. But were it not for the filth, the humble home seemed to have suited the man (it was a man – his Sunday clothes, his boots, his shoes, and his workclothes were everywhere) who once lived there, probably with no one’s knowledge, or permission.
(The white stuff is not paint – it’s years and years worth of pigeon poop.)
The house was easily accessed as someone else had kicked in the door panels, and most of the window panes were broken. But the kids learned to step lightly and look before they stepped. Boards with nails sticking up, broken glass, unseen critters, and weak floorboards — all things I learned to watch out for as a kid. So, our tour through this time tunnel was without mishap.
Before we left, I stood and looked out one of the bedroom windows, a room with a sad old mouse-eaten mattress, lots of old magzines, and men’s clothing, and I wondered what a person might have seen through this window, over 30 years ago. And I wondered who the house originally belonged to, what children played here, what grandparents died here, and who called this sad old place home. I wondered, and I nearly wept. Because I know that in another 30 years, this beautiful ugly decrepit old farm house will not exist. And what a shame that will be.
If you would like to see more of my photography, and especially my tributes to days gone by, be sure to check out my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/97705796@N00/
Wishing you safe and happy travels,
PS Are you a Baby Boomer with found memories of old “haunted houses” that you once explored as a kid? Do you feel pain in knowing that a part of your heritage will soon be entirely gone? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Tags: abandoned buildings, Alberta, alberta heritage, farm houses, highway trips in Canada, northern Alberta, prairie farm history, preserving our heritage, rural landscapes, teaching grandkids, travel with children