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  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Past can continue to serve the present

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
No doubt time marches on with progress as inevitable as tomorrow's sunrise. This seems to be more evident in the rural areas as our small towns and older communities slowly disappear or change identities.

From time to time, Ruth and I note where favorite old houses or barns we have passed by and admired for years, are torn down, bulldozed into a pit and covered. We know that many families have lived within those walls for many years. We also know from experience most of these places could still be serving their owners if they had been kept in good repair.

It would be extremely interesting to know how and why the priorities changed during initial construction, remodeling changes down through the years and final demolition. Were the reasons financial, occupational, personal preferences or merely tax relief?

I know of three places on our ranch where depressions in the soil designate the location of an old dirt cellar. This structure means that at some time or another people lived nearby, using it for shelter, storage and protection. What a story these old cellars could tell if they could talk.

Our ranch home dates back to 1918 when a young man built two rooms for his new bride-to-be. When his betrothed left to marry another man, he sold the house to his brother and volunteered for service in Word War I. The brother added two more rooms and a cellar for his family.

In 1920, a nearby rancher purchased the property and used it as a cow camp for one of his employees. He also added a front and back porch along with a peaked roof of wooden shingles. A good cattle price two years later allowed building a bunkhouse, wagon sheds, salt house, feed storage and horse barns across the north side of the corrals.

My family purchased the ranch in 1949, making repairs, painting the house and outbuildings and adding a large water storage tank. In 1952, I remodeled the house for my parents, adding a second bath, bedroom, garage and enclosing the cellar entrance into the garage. We also removed the old peaked roof, replacing it with roof trusses and asphalt shingles then had Perma-Stone added to the outside walls.

In 1980, Ruth and I moved into the house, remodeling certain areas and adding a large carport and patio on the south. Later, we enclosed the front porch and placed white tin on the roof and all other out-buildings along with two new coats of paint.

For eighty-seven years, our home has served countless families through hard times and good, through tragedy and birth, for old and new owners, in every kind of weather including blizzards and tornados, yet still stands today in better condition than ever before.

When compared with photographs taken in 1949, our home place is unrecognizable. Back then there were only two small trees. Today the building are completely hidden by a beautiful grove of huge trees and shrubs. The home is proof the past does not have to be destroyed but can be preserved and continue to serve.


Delbert Trew

"It's All Trew" >
August 21, 2006 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

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