Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shady Rest (in Fall)

This year's fall colors in my part of rural Virginia aren't as colorful as they might be. The other day, I took some pictures at the Brown Farm. (When the Browns owned it, they called it Shady Rest.) The colors in these pictures are muted, not vibrant. They're not far from looking like old, sepia-toned photographs of a by-gone era.

The barn at Shady Rest was most likely built of lumber that my grandfather, Joe Smith, sawed at his sawmill up the road. The area has—or at least had— several barns identical to this.

The house is falling in—victim of age, rot, termites, and weather. But from a distance, it still looks like a house. One of the big maples that long ago provided shade is dying.

In the picture below, at the left, you can just barely see the shape of one of the sheds. now it's covered with Virginia creeper and poison oak.

Three-quarters of a century ago, when Shady Rest was a working farm and home to the John Thomas Brown family, the shed looked like this:

The man in the middle, Guy Brown (JT Brown's son) married Louise Mattox, my first cousin once removed, who lived not far away. She was the daughter of my Great-Aunt Tokay, the younger sister of Joe Smith.

Guy and Louise lived in Roanoke, less than a mile from where I grew up. He worked for a Pontiac dealership on Williamson Road. When I graduated from college and secured a teaching job, I bought my first "new" car—a brand-new 1967 Firebird—from him.

JTB, as an older man, stands by the corner of his house—the same house that appears in the first two photos on this entry. The house corner looks strong and sturdy and solid—as if it could last forever.

As a young man, Brown was handsome. Here he is with three of his children:

The house was handsome in its hey-day, too. But nothing lasts forever.

Autumn's falling leaves are proof of that.
Thanks to Patricia Martin for providing the old photos.

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Blogger Amy Tate said...

Oh wow - what incredible photos! You sure do have a wonderful collection!

5:07 PM  

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