Aunt Ader’s House was reminiscent of the two pictured here.
I had no idea who Aunt Ader was, or that her name should actually have been pronounced Ada, but her old farm house was a wonder. Uncle C H, my Aunt Jenny’s on-again off-again husband apparently enjoyed some claim to it, because over the course of my childhood, several of my relatives rented it, probably when they’d fallen on hard times. It stood high on a hill surrounded by several huge oaks. A rutted red-dirt drive curved its way up toward the house, dusty in summer and rutted deeply in rainy weather. In the spring and early summer weeds sprigged up between the tire tracks, kept short courtesy of the undercarriage of the vehicles making their way up the hill. Though Aunt Ader’s forebears had been prosperous landowners a couple of generations back, the land had been subdivided and sold off long before I came to know it. To the eyes of a small child, it was welcoming with its deep front and back porches and wide dogtrot. An enormous living room and kitchen opened off one side and three bedrooms on the other. Fireplaces on either side furnished the only heat. Bare lightbulbs dangling on cords sufficed to light the big, high-ceilinged rooms, welcoming ghosts to the shadowy corners. Rain on the tin-roof could be pleasant or deafening, depending on the intensity of the storm. I was never tempted to stray far from the light, though the sunshine from the huge windows flooded those rooms in the daytime.
A water heater stood in the corner of the enormous kitchen next to the galvanized bathtub on the wall. The old wood stove was still in use, though the only indoor plumbing was water piped in to the sink in the one piece enamel cabinet with a built in sink standing before the window, looking out on a large field with several pear and fig trees. Several unpainted shelves served as storage, for everything that couldn’t fit into the sink cabinet and pie safe. A cord exiting the round-topped refrigerator was plugged into an extension cord connected to bare light bulb dangling from the center of the kitchen ceiling. The light was turned off and on by a long string. Strips of well-populated fly-paper hung near the windows. An unpainted toilet stood slightly downhill about three hundred yards off to the left of an old barn. Kids were always warned away from the hand dug-well, enclosed in a wooden frame with a heavy wooden trap cover stood a few feet from the back porch. Mother was so adamant we not go near, I was sure it was surrounded by quicksand, just waiting to suck a foolish child in. A bucket hung from a chain from the roof of the creaky structure. Pigs were pinned up near the barn, though not far enough away to miss their smell, explaining the fly problem.
To be continued