A wonderful old house and a wonderful old soul


I only achieved Lillie Bell Simpson the moment through her 98 yrs right here on the world, but I would have preferred it to have been far more than our 1 brief visit almost two several years back, a couple months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just one of the 1st issues she questioned me throughout the pay a visit to to our previous Elmira Township farmhouse was if the trapdoor in the eating space, which had long gone down to the Michigan basement, was nonetheless in use when I had purchased the home again in 1976. I laughed and told her it didn’t. I instructed her when my spouse and I moved below the only way to get down to the basement was by way of the back again measures. She laughed and I much too laughed as soon as extra. It was a warm June day and she had occur to our home with her son Charlie and daughter Kathy, two of the seven little ones she experienced elevated in city. I was interviewing her about daily life rising up on a farm. The posting appeared a couple months later on in the Herald Situations.

Lillie Bell understood about the former trapdoor in my dining room and a lot a lot more about this old house in which my wife and I had lifted our 3 youngsters and have known as household now for additional than 45 several years a single calendar year extended than Lillie Bell’s moms and dads, Ray and Ellen Moorehead, who had owned the aged homestead for 44 many years, starting close to 1917.

The purpose Lillie Bell realized so a lot about our house is simply because she came into this world Aug. 9, 1923, and was born in 1 of the 4 bedrooms which, around the years I had gutted and renovated, like a lot of the relaxation of the home. It was a very good location to elevate our three youngsters and for the future couple of several hours, through my pay a visit to with Lillie Bell, she explained to me it experienced been a very good place for her and her 7 brothers and sisters to grow up in as properly.

Michael Jones

Michael Jones

She advised me about a tiny garage by the side of the highway exactly where her father had set out metallic cans of fresh new milk to be picked up and taken to the dairy in Gaylord for bottling. She advised me about many other outbuildings which includes a potato barn and woodshed, which, like the compact garage, ended up no for a longer period a aspect of the landscape.

She advised me about the joy she had in driving with her father and his staff of horses Trevor and Topsy, which he made use of to operate the fields of the spouse and children dairy and potato farm. It made me imagine of my oldest daughter and how, as a pretty young lady, she rode with me on the orange Allis-Chalmers tractor I made use of to put together the backyard for planting in the spring.

I considered of how Lillie Bell and her sisters likely performed with dolls in one of the upstairs bedrooms, the exact rooms my two daughters played in with their Barbie dolls. The identical rooms both sets of young children most likely laughed and giggled into the evening when they must have been sleeping, creating their fathers to stand at the stair landing, informing them they needed to get to rest due to the fact there was university in the morning.

Due to the fact her visit I have at times have the emotion the soul of that minimal female who grew up listed here in the 1920s and ’30s lingers about in this century old property encouraging with the canning, doing the dishes, or choosing a basket of fresh environmentally friendly beans from the backyard garden. I confess it can be a bit comforting to assume she is continue to about.

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Lillie Bell handed away very last month in Gaylord, not far from her childhood residence below in Elmira Township, and I have to believe, based mostly on the quick sum of time I invested with her, it was a existence loaded with pleasure, pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment. Halt by whenever, Ms. Simpson you are always welcome listed here.

— Michael Jones is a columnist and contributor for the Gaylord Herald Periods. He can be achieved at [email protected].

This posting originally appeared on The Petoskey Information-Evaluate: Continue to keep it Easy: A fantastic old dwelling and a amazing previous soul


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