Monday, June 27, 2011

The Orchard Behind Our Old House

When we were growing up in Rome, Illinois, we lived in a very old house - as they used to say,  5 rooms and a path.  However, that does not mean our childhood was not happy - it was.  I do think that it might be better to not have so many toys, clothes, etc. - but always plenty of love and food.  It makes your imagination develop.  Right behind our house (my parents rented) was an orchard.

So gorgeous in the spring.  It wasn't a well maintained orchard and I don't remember having many apples but it wasn't ours.  Here is a picture of my sister and brother, Jo and Bud,  posing under one of the trees.  You can see two people walking on the path through the orchard and see the "gray barn" a short distance away.  That was where my father kept our car and he had his tools there, also.  The people who owned everything were from Peoria.  There were three cottages, the mother owning one and two sons the other two.  My father used to take care of the yards and do odd jobs for them to pay off the rent for our house which was $10.00 a month.  Hard to believe.  Dad, a very hard worker,  also worked at Pabst Brewery in Peoria. My parents never did completely recover from the depression - and I am certain there were many, many couples that were in the same situation.  Back to the picture, I have no idea who is walking through the orchard.  They look dressed up - maybe if my brother sees this he can let me know who he thinks they are.  I can also spot on the side of the barn the "hot bed" dad always had to start plants early for the garden. 
This has to be me - what do you suppose I was doing.  It was a very pretty orchard and fun to play in.

This is what the old house looked like in the 60's or 70's.  It was burned down by the fire department not long after this was taken and a batting cage put up on the land.  Click to enlarge)


  1. Oh yes, orchards in the spring are really something, especially when a breeze blows and blossoms float to the ground. Good memories.

  2. This is such a bittersweet, lovely post to read and view. First, as someone whose parents barely took any photos, I'm amazed at the quality of the photos you have in your possession. They're priceless. Reading about the overgrown Orchard, reminded me exactly of the Apple trees both at my first house and 2nd. Our 2nd home in Orland Park, had an old Apple Orchard behind it as well (in the yard of my best friend). Like the one you describe, the trees were not maintained and they were large, overgrown Apple trees. The only apples I remember us getting were full of worms, but Mom cut around those to make some delicious pies.

    It made my heart sink to see and compare the old photo of your house with the one from the 1970s and to read further that it burned down. At least 3 dear places from my past have burned down, maybe more. It is just such a shame. If I could have it my way, everything would be preserved for always.

    Thanks for the great post. Hope you're having a wonderful week,

  3. I forgot, I was also going to add that my sisters and I were pretty much spoiled with every toy imaginable, yet we all preferred playing pretend and outdoors, much like my daughter (now 15) has done as well, and we all have fantastic imaginations, better than most. So, I guess it doesn't always work the way one would think. ;)