Monday, March 29, 2010

Only Memories Remain

Memories keep both people and places alive. Without memories, our families and the places they lived would cease to exist.

In the 1940s my grandfather bought a house in Salem, Kentucky. He also owned the Salem Feed Mill, just up the alley from the house. Both of my grandparents died in that house. After their deaths, my parents bought it, remodeled it and moved in. I was grown by then and never lived in the house, but spent vacations there. Going to Salem and visiting the grandparents were favorite times for my children. We lived in the metropolitan area of a large city with all of its dangers of traffic and crime so the only time my children were free to run and play with no supervision was in Salem.

This house in Salem had been around for a long time. Mother believed the house was the former home of "Old Doc Elder," who had lived there in the 1890s. I suspect it was older with its wide baseboards and tall ceilings.

My parent's home in 1987

And from the back yard in 1980:

Several years after my father died in 1975, Mother decided it was time to downsize and leave the maintenance of an old house to someone else. The house became home to another family, but we all kept an eye on it as former residents tend to do.

The house was bought and sold several times and eventually ended up as a rental property. Windows weren't as shiny, flower beds weren't tended and it took on a forlorn appearance. Then came the ice storm of January 2009. A large tree branch fell through the roof. When no attempts were made to remove the branch or repair the damage, we knew the old house was doomed.

This winter the old fireplace, doors and window frames were removed, then the hardwood flooring was taken out. Finally, the house was demolished and became nothing more than a pile of rubble.

All that remained 20 March 2010

The house was located just one block off US 60, the main road through Salem, and easily seen as you head south toward Burna, Smithland and Paducah. While I know the house is no longer there, it remains forever in my memories.

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