Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. I hope you enjoy this beautiful view from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina on 6/24/18.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Family Homes of Two Special Friends

My Childhood Home in about 1941--soon after it was built
I met NEAL about 5 years ago through blogging.  We became friends almost immediately.  Part of the reason was our love for the area of the country where we were both born and raised.  Neal was born and raised in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee and I was born and raise several miles east of there in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

When the four of us (Neal, his beautiful wife, Patti, George and I)  met this year,  we stayed at Pine Mountain State Park in Pineville,  Kentucky ---which is close to Cumberland Gap.   SO--while in that area,  Neal took us around the area of his homeplace.

Also--while there,  we drove to Kingdom Come State Park one day,  and since it was so close to my hometown,  we visited that area also...  I loved hearing the stories about his childhood which Neal shared.  AND--I loved telling my own stories about my childhood.  As you can imagine,  we had a GREAT week together.

Today I'll share with you some photos from both of our childhood home areas beginning with mine,  which we visited on Tuesday,  10/23/13.  Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them.

Above is my childhood home --right after it was built about 1941.  I lived there until after high school  days (after 1960)...  I loved that little home ---and the one thing I loved about it was watching all of the spruce, hemlock, boxwoods and big trees/shrubs grow and grow--through the years... The yard was very woodsy---which I loved.

After my Dad died in 1969,  Mom kept the house for a few more years... Sometime in the '70's,  she sold it (much to my disappointment--although I understood). She stayed in Big Stone Gap for several more years in a small home she had purchased... Later, she moved to Florida to be closer to my brothers.  I then had and still have no more close relatives (other than some cousins) living there.  But---it will always be HOME to me!

The people who first bought the home from my mother (it was sold again later to another couple)  made two big changes:  They put bright yellow siding on the house AND they cut down most of the beautiful old trees and shrubs....I was sad to hear that!

My childhood home in about 1941

My Childhood Home in 2013
Here is what 'my' home looks like NOW.  They have added on (porches, rooms, etc.) ---so the house really is hard to even recognize these days.   I was telling George that I have 'mixed feelings' about seeing my home now...   I'm sad that it looks so different --but I'm also happy that someone loves it and is taking good care of it!

Me standing in front of my home
George took this photo of me standing near the front of my childhood home.  The front door is the SAME ---so I was glad to see it!!!!  If you look back at the first photo,  you can see the door.  Ah--the memories!!

Me at the back of my childhood home
This is taken from the backyard.  Again,  it is VERY different---but that little garage (right side of the photo) is still there!! That garage was only large enough for one car --and not a big one!!!!! ha

Family Headstone at Glencoe Cemetery,  Big Stone Gap, Virginia
Besides seeing the family home,  we also visited the graves of my family members... I am the LAST person left in that immediate family.   My parents, both brothers and one sister-in-law are buried in that cemetery..

Me looking at family members buried at Glencoe Cemetery, Big Stone Gap, VA
George took this picture of me --as I sadly looked at the individual grave markers of my family members who are buried there.  From left to right: brother, Raymond;  sister-in-law, Evelyn;  Dad, Simon;  Mother, Edith; and brother, Jimmy.

All that remains of Neal's childhood home,  the chimney
The next day (10/24/13),  we visited Neal's homeplace.  His home was off the beaten track ---in the country.  I enjoyed seeing the old school (which is now a small church) ---where Neal and his brothers and sisters used to walk a long ways along the railroad track in order to get there.

The family still owns the property where his home was ---which is hidden up a dirt road back in a holler.... I kept telling Neal when we were at that property that he needs to build a little cabin there.  I would visit him there --and would love that privacy, as that area is surrounded by mountains all around!  FABULOUS!!!

Above is a picture of all that is left of Neal's childhood home.  I have seen photos of this chimney on Neal's blog ---and was thrilled to get to see the area in person.

This barn belongs to a neighbor (whom we met while there).  He recently bought the property, and is in the process of fixing up the old barn.  Neal's sister,  ROSE,  is also a special blog friend of mine.  She loves to write stories of their childhood---and some of Rose's favorite things to photograph are old barns.  She has featured this old barn several times ---so I'm sure she will be glad to see that the new owner is  renovating the barn --and wants to keep it in good shape.  (Click on Rose's name above to see her blog.)

Neal is searching for the old well on their property
Neal was searching for the old well --where his family used to get their water.  He told stories about how good that water tasted!   He also told stories about how his brothers and he would go 'skinny-dipping' in the nearby creek!!!!!  Ahhhh--more wonderful memories!

Neal and I checking out the old chimney
I loved listening to Neal tell his stories about his home and his childhood.  His Dad was disabled and the family struggled financially.  BUT--Neal remembers all of the good times they had --not the struggles!!!!!

The Family Property where Neal's childhood home was
Don't you think this would be a fantastic place for a CABIN??????  I do!

Headstone showing where Neal's parents were buried
Besides checking out the property where Neal's childhood home was,  we also checked out the cemetery where his parents (and some other family members) were buried. 

Nearby Barn--photo was taken from the cemetery where Neal's parents are buried
Here is another barn  (which Neal and Rose-his sister, have made 'famous' on their blogs).   The power lines were in the way when I took the photo--but I used my 'zapper' to get rid of them!!!! Isn't that a neat barn???  I'm sure that Rose will enjoy seeing this photo!!

Neal standing in front of what is left of his childhood home
Here is one last photo showing Neal at his homeplace.  Wish you all could hear some of his stories telling about his life growing up in Cumberland Gap, TN.  They are SO interesting!!!!!  I truly enjoyed visiting the area where our good friend grew up....

Hope you enjoyed seeing photos showing both of our childhood homes.  As you can imagine,  we all had a wonderful week together.

Be sure to check out my Photo Blog for a great picture of Autumn on the Cumberland Plateau.. Click HERE.



Twilight Man said...

What a sweet and sentimental post shared about your growing up years as well as Neal's. I can imagine the mixed feelings to see the old house and family's graves. I always loved to see the American homes that often have nice attic rooms built above.

Ms. A said...

Betsy, if you hadn't told me that 2013 photo was your childhood home, I would never have recognized it! Aren't you glad it's still standing and in loved condition. It must make Neal sad that his home didn't do as well, but the property is gorgeous! Definitely a great place for a cabin... or a home.

Our photos said...

Beautiful photos of your Childhood Home.Betsy!
Greetings, RW & SK

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Betsy I loved reading about Neal and your journeys' 'home' and seeing how everything looks nowadays. it must have been a very special voyage for you both and I thank you for sharing such a personal journey.

eileeninmd said...

Betsy, your old home is cute. What a nice look back. Thanks for sharing! Have a happy day!

Ann said...

what a nice trip down memory lane that was for all of you.

Fun60 said...

What an interesting post. We are all shaped by our childhood and I can see where your love of the outdoors comes from. How wonderful that the house is still standing and being used as a family home today.

Sandra said...

Hi Betsy!
What an amazing post! your family home is so beautiful and huge! it must have been lovely growing up there, our childhood homes are a strong memory (I remember vivid purple wallpaper!)also visiting our family who have passed is a poignant and touching moment.
Neal's remaining chimney is amazing! and how great to have a spring in order to get water!
I have loved reading this post x x x

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a lovely post filled with wonderful memories.

I think your childhood home looks lovely even now, and the owners obviously love the place.

Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

Arkansas Patti said...

Your old home does not look the same but it obviously looks loved and that is important.
When I was an adult, I got a tour of my grandmother's house where I lived in Key West for several years. The new owner had changed it into a House Beautiful candidate but I couldn't even find my bed room. Change can be startling.
Sounds like you had a great time.

Sharon said...

I love exploring the rural areas of Southwest Virgina..such a beautiful and simple place to have lived although one should never assume simple meant easy! We share something in common - my mother's name is also Edith!

Karin said...

Very interesting post! Such a beautiful area of the country where you grew up and still enjoy living!

Rose said...

I wish you had had more time there...there is so much to see.

I am glad to see the barn is being repaired...I don't know why I love that particular barn so much but I do.

You just cannot imagine how stuff has changed....anyway you look there is places we played....

Busy Bee Suz said...

I think your childhood home is just lovely still....and the fact that someone is enjoying it is great!
I suppose the tradition of family burial areas is not as popular as it used to be. I've never even been to my brothers grave since he died. :( And it seems everyone else has been cremated.
Poor Neal, he only gets to visit the grounds of his home.....but that chimney is really cool!

Sandra said...

love that chimney photo, and looks like you all had a great time travel to the past and back.

Joy said...

Wonderful memories Betsy:)

Happyone said...

Sounds like a mixed emotion time. So nice that you got to meet another blogger friend and enjoyed some time together.

I Am Woody said...

Such a wonderful trip!! All that exploring looks like so much fun!!

Small City Scenes said...

I love seeing your childhood home. Memories memories. I'm glad you went but sometimes the changes are just too much.
Rose and I follow each others blogs and I knew she had a brother Neal but I never put two and two together. thank you for that.

Linda said...

I'm feeling very nostalgic now. Your home was beautiful then, and it's beautiful now. It doesn't look the same, but it's still beautiful. Neal's chimney and property are very pretty, too. Yes, a cabin would go nicely there.

RoeH said...

I love this post so much I'm going back and read it again. But I have to ask....wasn't Meriweather Lewis born in the Big Stone Gap, Virginia area? I think I read that in Undaunted Courage.

RoeH said...

After reading it a second time I would have loved to have been with you.

Daisy said...

How neat to see your childhood home, Betsy. Even if it no longer looks the way you remembered it, at least it has been well taken care of and maintained. Sweet post.

Chatty Crone said...

Don't we have a lot of good memories about home. They say you can't go home again, but I am not sure. Home is where the heart is. Sandie

Dee said...

Dear Betsy, I so enjoyed visiting your home and Neal's. The house where I grew up was three miles from town, so out in the country. It was built on 20 acres of farm land. But when my dad died, all the acreage was sold to a development company and they demolished the house and never built anything there. So when I drive past now--on Kentucky Road--all I see are weeds and shrubs and a few trees. Peace.

David said...

Betsy, Despite the changes, it must be somewhat nice to be able to visit a home that you lived in for such a long period of time... I can't point to such a place as I've lived in 34 or so different places over the years...3 different homes in the 4th grade alone! I can spend half a day touring the closest thing to a home town that I have, (Jackson MI), just looking at various homes and home sites where we lived. The family burial plots are scattered too. Mother in MI, brother in KS and father in a military cemetery in France. Despite my scattered background, I must admit I do like going by my old houses...wherever they might be! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Janie said...

Both of you were lucky to grow up in such a beautiful area.
Betsy, your home appears to be very well loved and cared for. The arched door is a unique touch. I'm glad that much, at least, has remained the same.

Neal said...

Betsy, it was so good to see you so happy about seeing your old home and getting to go inside. I really enjoyed getting to see where you lived and hung out as a kid. I could see you in my mind as a kid having fun in all those places you showed us. Thanks a bunch for sharing your early life with Patti and I.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful opportunity for you and Neal. That front door is gorgeous. I'm happy that some family loves and cares for your home and is making new memories.
I enjoyed this very much.

Ginny said...

Your parents had a REALLY nice house! I knw it is sad for you that you cannot look at the very same house, but I think the yellow and the changes they made are beautiful! BUT it is too bad they took down so many trees! Poor Neal, he doesn't even have a house!!!

LV said...

Thank you for this grand visit to your old home place. I truly enjoyed it, but have to say the new one is absolutely gorgeous. Nothing is left from my family homes but the land. I am had you had a nice visit, but also that you are back home.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I like visiting home also...I know you have good memories of it

DeniseinVA said...

Another wonderful and very sweet post Betsy, so nice to learn of Neal and his sister Rose's blogs also. I shall go visit. I went back to my childhood home not so long ago but only on Google Earth. Wow, some things change and some things stay the same :)

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I can imagine the laughs and the reminiscing that happened during this week.

Jazzmin said...

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this post. You always write with such a wonderful spirit of nostalgia that is so neat to read and see your photos.

I can just imagine the rush of emotions you both had visiting places where you made so many memories with your families during your childhoods. Such beautiful places also.

Hugs and blessings,

diane b said...

A good read. I love reading about other peoples lives. Neal sounds like he would be fun to listen to. It was great that you could get to see your old home being kept nice and to bring back happy memories.

Shug said...

What a gorgeous door.... Wouldn't you love to have it now? This is such a beautiful area and the pictures you captured are wonderful.
It's always nice to go back and revisit your childhood area. Precious memories.
Glad you got to visit with blogging friends...This is Neat!!

Miss Debbie said...

Wow! That was some trip down memory lane! I think your childhood home looks great. As you said, so glad someone is taking care of it!

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

So neat that you found these friends and could explore your pasts together!

Carletta said...

What a wonderful trip down memory lane for both of you.
I second that Neal should build a cabin. :)
It may not be as it was but how wonderful your home is still standing and you could visit. Love the heavy wooden door.

Anonymous said...

So many great memories. Love those old houses.

Susie Swanson said...

Aww, this is such a touching post. it stirred up so many childhood memories for me. You and Neal's old home place look so homey and inviting. I to, hate to see things change. I love that old barn. So much history and stories in those walls. Thanks for sharing this. Happy Halloween.

Connie Arnold said...

It always seems rather bitter sweet to visit old homeplaces, reviving fond memories but there is always change. Thanks for sharing your experiences and great photos, Betsy!

Terry and Linda said...

My childhood home is rather run down and sad...I think I would love to see it added on to if it were loved.


amy @ Life in Pink Hi-Tops said...

What a great post. And a terrific trip. I love hearing other people's childhood stories--especially since I don't have any good stories of my own! :) Had a very boring childhood!

Betty Manousos said...

what an adorable trip down memory lane, betsy; for both of you!
thank you for sharing your precious memories with us.
your home was/is beautiful. how wonderful to see your childhood home, dear betsy.
i too love visiting home, but alas, there is always change.

big big hugs!

Mary said...

Nice to see your childhood home. Mine is now a parking lot for the Indianapolis airport properties. I hated what the people who bought it did to it anyway....like you, they tore out all the lovely bushes and trees and hedge. I love that chimney shot and the barn.

Pat Tillett said...

Great post Betsy! It's nice that the house brings back some of your history. I think just about everywhere I lived as a kid has been torn down.