I grew up on farm in northern Alberta, in a house that has been 100 years old my whole life.
It is, and always has been, robin’s egg blue. One summer my dad paid me to strip and repaint the siding.
Because I am afraid of heights I did as high as I could reach while standing on a makeshift scaffolding. The rest of the house wasn’t repainted till years later. It remained half fresh, half faded blue for quite some time.
Despite the advanced age of the house, I wouldn’t call it a heritage home.
The interior has been renovated several times and there is nothing original left. However, my dad thinks it is the oldest inhabited home in the area.
I can remember when the porch was renovated, when the gas fireplace was installed and the walls repainted.
I fell down those stairs and ran circles around the kitchen table. My two siblings and I made forts and played hide and seek. We played many a board game and had many a dance party.
My dad grew up in that house. When we complained about how cold it was he would tell us stories of breaking ice on water in the morning and how he and his siblings slept three in a bed to keep warm.
The house is not only part of my family history but part of my hundreds of cousins as well.
It was the gathering place of the neighbourhood and all of those families had kids who went on to have kids and moved all across Canada, but everyone knows the blue house.
This year my parents are finally building a new farm house. The designs have been chosen, the site has been mapped. Shovels aren’t in the ground yet, but any time now.
However, due to zoning in the area, the blue house will have to be closed off and eventually knocked down.
I don’t envy my dad for having to make that decision.There are so many people with a vested interest.
However, with a leaking roof that needs to be replaced, a basement that floods every spring and mold that has to constantly be scrubbed away, it is time for my parents to move on.
I believe my grandparents would be supportive of the move, in the name of progress and all of that. Maybe some of my aunts and uncles would disagree with me but I don’t think they were the sentimental type.
Dad laughed when I suggested donating the house to the museum. It would be nearly impossible to move.
So this summer, I will go home and make a video of this part of my family history.
I will say it is for everyone else, to celebrate and remember, but really it will be for me. Just because we are moving forward doesn’t mean we have to leave the past behind.
It will be weird to go back to the farm when that house is no longer there. Is it still home if I have never lived in the house?
Is it still the family farm house if my grandparents never lived there? Yes, I think so.
Home is where my family is. If you sell a house and move to a different city do you refer to that old house with strangers living in it as home?