By Pat Edwards
(Written in 1991 when Lane County proposed to tear down or move our home when the restructure of Lorane Highway was being planned… We won, by the way! The house now belongs to our daughter Michele and her husband Brian Kau where they raised their 3 girls, Stephanie, Linsey and Hayley)
No one knows how old she really is. A good guess would be 80 or 90 years. For the 25 years that Her family has known Her, She has been all tomboy ‒ definitely not the debutante sort. Her exterior is rather scruffy and pretty much devoid of makeup. But, there has always been a life and gaiety within Her. For the past 25 years She has embraced those who love Her ‒ sheltering them from not only Mother Nature’s storms, but the storms of life as well. Only recently has She begun to take on some adornments. There has been so little time until now.
Life around Her has never been dull. There were four children to raise into adulthood. Over the years, in addition to those kids and their parents, She has taken to Her bosom the cousin who was expelled from school for smoking marijuana; the foreign exchange student who spent a school year with them; the two huge football players from California who stayed with them while going to college; two teenage girls who needed a home; and a whole variety of friends who “spent the night.”
When They first came, those 26 years ago, They slapped a coat of paint on Her and got most of the trim done. They planted a couple of trees in the yards surrounding Her and tried to grow a few flowers. But in the early years, the care and feeding of four kids, tending the huge vegetable garden, doing the farm chores, canning in the summer, and many other activities left little time for helping Her to gain much charm or beauty. And then there was Brigitte, that beautiful, gentle St. Bernard, like Peter Pan’s Nana, who helped to take care of the kids and to keep the peace, but who also had no awareness of or respect for those few flowers and shrubs surrounding Her. Then there were the succession of 4-H animals ‒ steers, heifers, rabbits, and sheep ‒ who were brought into Her yards for their baths, grooming and training sessions, not to mention the ponies and horses that became members of the family. All contributed to Her tomboy appearance. But, oh, how much love permeated through Her and around Her!
The children are all grown now. The days of the hectic schedules of football, volleyball, and basketball games, track meets, gymnastic and music lessons, 4-H meetings and fairs, booster club meetings, school board meetings, P.T.C. and Parent Network meetings have passed.
It has only been in the past few years that They have been able to concentrate their efforts in making a swan out of the ugly duckling. She has been given a new exterior and awaits Her new coat of paint. Plans have been drawn for a new kitchen; new carpeting was planned. She has new windows and a new front door. Her yards have been fenced and manicured. The dandelions are almost gone. Best of all, She now has flower beds with blooms from early spring through the fall. Her trees have become graceful and provide cool shade in the summer. There is a peace and serenity about Her. She has done Her job well.
But, her time for grace is not to be. They have been informed that by next spring, Their beloved tomboy of a home will be gone. Modern life dictates that the ground on which She has rested for so long must be used for a bigger, wider highway. She cannot be moved. She would not be the same. The damage that would be caused to Her by a move would require life support measures to keep Her going. Though a tomboy, She still possesses a dignity ‒ one which would not allow the humiliation of standing on an island surrounded by asphalt, or being moved to a sight foreign to Her.
Because cars need to speed and bicycles need a safe place to be ridden, she must go ‒ and They must grieve.