I grew up in California in a farmhouse built in the late 1800's, about an hour north east of Sacramento. My mother fell in love with this house in the 70's, when she used to do the paper route for the Sacramento Bee and drove by it every morning. One day, she drove by and the top story of the house had burned. The house was old, overgrown, and under-loved. But beneath the weeds and the peeling paint and the ash, she saw it's beauty.
Her and my father purchased the house (and it's accompany 2 acres) in 1980 and immediately began restoring it. Lucky for my mother, my dad is an incredibly talented carpenter. They took years to rebuild and restore as much of the original house as they could. If an old house or hotel or business was being demolished, they would take as many of the original doors, bricks, windows, hardware, flooring, trim, moulding, shelving, as they would be allowed.
They found multiple "dump sites" on the property and my mom spent days digging and sifting through the rubble. The above bottle collection is just a fraction of the goods she found. There were forks, the soles of leather shoes, fragments of china, pieces of porcelain and metal toys, perfume and prescription bottles, beer and alcohol bottles, tin cups, plates and bowls, cast iron pans and pots.
They've never had a dishwasher, and they still don't. Our Christmas dinner is cooked on this little stove every year (and then we spend an hour and a half washing the damn dishes by hand...). It's a small kitchen, but it contains some of my fondest memories, and (as is the case with many homes) finds itself packed with too many family members at our get togethers.
They hacked back the blackberry bushes and discovered a creek and a spring (my mom tells of how they could hear the water, so they knew it was there, they just didn't know where). They uncovered pear trees, apple trees, and grape vines as old as the house.
Daniel and I are getting married on my parent's property in May and I could not have thought of a more perfect place. My childhood home is a lovely symbol of the hard work my parent's have put into their life, their marriage and their children and that is something I can only hope to reflect throughout my life.