The world was just outside my little window

By Rick Houser – 

The years I spent on our farm on Fruit Ridge Road were a time that is the foundation of how I have lived my life. Our farm was a pretty place as Dad kept it in good condition. On the hill behind the house stood a barn that could be called “majestic”. Behind our house were many buildings that no matter their purpose, were kept in good condition. Most of all, though, was our house. A two story brick with a pair of huge very old evergreens in the front yard gave it a look of a place a person would be glad to live in.
Our home was a large building that was made out of bricks baked from the ground near where it sat. The walls were three layers thick in brick and the gabled roof was one made with corrugated metal roofing. The windows were from the period of the 1800’s, meaning they were five foot in height, except for the attic room where there was a little window that would swing open on hinges and was maybe twelve inches in height and width. From the outside the house looked gigantic in size.
That was far from the fact as the first floor had four rooms and a bath and the upstairs consisted of two bedrooms and the attic room. So, our home was six rooms and a bath. The rooms for the most part were big in size and I know that at a young age I was moved into the attic room that had just had a new door installed so we could access it. Into this room went myself and my big brother Ben. By the way, the door was only five foot in height. This was okay for me but I am guessing Ben had to duck to go through it.
I didn’t understand at first as my bed had been in the corner of Mom and Dad’s room and I was good with this arrangement. I was having trouble understanding why Ben and I were moved into the attic. So Ben sat me down and explained the reason. First came sister Peg and she got a room to herself because she was a girl. (Big deal.) Then along came Ben and he got a room and he and Peg shared a room for a few years. Then came me. Ben was getting older and was needing a room for a boy and Mom and Dad had the only other bedroom upstairs so since Peg was a girl and she arrived before us boys, she got the other bedroom. This meant Ben and I became roommates in an attic room.
The attic had a low roof and it sloped from the middle of the room to the front side of the house. This caused for a very low and confining area. Ben said that since I was smaller than him I got that side of the room. I know that at least once when he crawled over to my bed and yelled “Boo!” I sat up so fast that I almost knocked myself unconscious. I guess that was one of the many prices I paid for being the youngest in the family.
To this day I can still see that window and the lack of size it allowed. It was hard to see out a window a foot square but if you tried and trust me I did, I saw a lot. First of all the window delivered a view of my cousin Walt’s’ farm that was only about 500 yards away. In the summer time there was a lot of activity going on at their place. Tom and Lydia loved to entertain when they moved to the country in the summer and they would have gatherings of family and friends along with the bridge club and garden club. I didn’t know what bridge was and really still don’t but it did bring a lot of city folks to the country. This I know as I was always invited to their gatherings but most times I had to leave before they did as I had a time to be home and I guess they didn’t. But when I got home I would get ready for bed and then place myself in front of that window and listen to all that I could hear that was going on. (I was nosey then and I still am.)
Walt and I tried many ways to continue an evening. The best was when we got a set of walkie talkies. Sadly they didn’t cost us much and that was about all we received. But we could kick up some good static from each other and that meant we were in touch. (Kind of.) I know one year I had saved up some money and ordered a transistor radio. I wanted to be able to be outside and still listen to the Reds. However when your home is three layers thick in brick, the reception is very poor to none at all.
What I liked about my window was that I could see a great portion of the world or at least the world I was familiar with. When it was raining, I could sit there with the window wide open and rarely did a drop ever come in. This was true also in the winter months when the snow was coming down- I could see it but never feel it. I got to look into the fields near the house and see how the crops were developing and I enjoyed that a lot.
There was a down side and that was when in the summer a hot spell would move in and the home would bake to a warmth that caused the evenings in that little room unbearable to say the least. It would come to a point that sleep, let alone breathing, was impossible. These were the nights I would work my way to the front porch or talk Mom and Dad into letting me camp out with Walt at his place. It was doubtful we were going to get any sleep out in the tent but at least we had some fun.
That little window gave me a different angle on how the world looked. It was kind of like looking through a telescope backwards. The world has always been bigger than I could imagine and life around me seems to be bigger for me to look at. The view I had from that window back then and the way the world looks to me today seem to have a similarity. If it does, it really isn’t a bad view.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He can be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.