Because my parents were Salvation Army Officers we moved about the country. The upside of that is life was something of an adventure – a new home every three years (most often) and numerous schools. That means many friends in many places in case you wondered what comes from ten schools in thirteen years.
The downside of moving around like that is there’s no homestead. I didn’t really realize that many families had a homestead until I was much older – in fact it was while we were sitting as pastors in someone’s home watching a family gather that it struck me how precious having a homestead is.
Wendy’s family broke up in her late teens so her homestead was lost as well…yes we are orphans! Well not quite but at times it feels like it when you think about “where home is”.
Since then I’ve thought about my Mom’s Mom – I called her Nanny, a very British term, and my Nanny was a unique woman. She wasn’t very big but she loved her garden and I always loved going to her home – it was in fact our homestead.
In the early years Nanny’s house was the last on the block – in fact next door was a wheat field and it was always fascinating to see the combine harvesting the wheat while we stood in the driveway. Speaking of the driveway, there was the 55 Cadillac which Nanny drove and always a very cool Chev driven by my aunt Bubs…(her real name is Eileen). I remember she had two convertible Impalas in a row – one was red with a white leather interior and the next one was white with a red leather interior. The men in the family seemed to have convertible sports cars…but that’s another story.
Inside the house was usually a bowl of peaches, grapes, cherries – the food was always a memory. The house was a ranch style and I remember the living room – playing cars on the carpet – the kitchen table was also the dining room table and I remember sitting there and watching out the window into the backyard.
The backyard was huge – very wide and deep and the garden was big. I remember eating raw carrots or yellow or green beans. The warm weather of the Niagara area was always welcoming. I remember drinking from the hose and laughing with my uncle – I haven’t talked about him – he is just a bit older than me so we were, in those days, more like a brother.
All my memories and there are too many to put here are warm, loving, fun (Nanny loved to take us places like the Maid of the Mist or the Toronto Exhibition) and I always loved going to visit the homestead.
I tried to see if I could find a picture of the homestead – not yet – but here’s my Nanny Eastland . She’s in the middle of the photo in yellow and my uncle Jim is standing beside me with my Mom’s hand on his shoulder.