Recently, I got to see the room in the house where I was born. I had always been told that I was born in an upstairs room of a farmhouse, while my three older siblings had to take care of themselves and stay downstairs. Those three older siblings had also been born at home, each in a different one.
Since I had always wanted to see where I was born, the four of us got together to see if we could find all four of the different houses. So we planned a day out. By lunch time that day, we had found the houses of the three older ones, and next it was my turn. While having dessert, I asked them where we would be going next to find my birthplace. And, to my surprise, none of the others had a clue as to where the house was located. After all, they were only 11, 8 and 3 years of age when I was born. However, I knew the name of the owner of the farm we lived on, so that was a start.
As the waiter brought our dessert, he got in on the conversation and mentioned for us to go down the street to an insurance office, and maybe someone working there may know where said farm is located. And sure enough, we hit the jackpot! A guy there knew about the farm, that was Ross Beard’s farm, and he drew a circle on the map on the wall, and said, “It’s right around in here, somewhere.”
So, with those words running around in my brain, we headed for that place on the map. We found a stone road about where the road should be, so drove on it for awhile and came upon a farmhouse that was right beside a woods. And as soon as our oldest sister saw the woods, she knew that the house beside it had to be the farm we were looking for. She remembered having to walk past that woods to get to the corner to be picked up by the school bus. And when we got closer to the farm, we noticed the name on the barn. It said, “Beard Farm,” so we knew for sure that it was the right one. But when we stopped and knocked on the door, no one was home. Our finding the house was back in about 1995. We tried again, about 10 years later, but no one was home then either.
As my older years set in, I lost interest in seeing the house. After all, in this day and age, who would ever open their door and let me come in? But, this past May 30, when my husband and I were in that area to put flowers on my parents’ grave, he asked me if I would like to try one last time to see if I could see inside the house where I had been born. And, without thinking, I said, “Yes.” So he turned the car around and took another road north and found the house.
Again, no one was home. However, as we were driving away from the house, a car passed and we watched as it pulled in the driveway. Finally, someone had come home!
Hoping I looked presentable, I walked up to the door, and it was opened by a young woman with a smile on her face and I quickly said something like, “I just wanted to see your house because I was born here 84 years ago.” And, she welcomed both of us inside. And with that one short step across the threshold, I was standing in the kitchen of the house I had longed to see. It was like a dream. Immediately, I was thinking of my mom having cooked supper for the five of them at 6 p.m. and right then, going into labor. And my Dad having to leave to go get the doctor, because the doctor didn’t drive. Then I told the owners of the house that I was born in one of the rooms upstairs, and they insisted that we go upstairs to actually see both rooms to be sure to be in the right one.
So, upstairs we went. Only now, while I am writing this story, did it ever occur to me to wonder how she survived it all. After all, there was no electricity or running water in that farmhouse! And by the time, I was born at 9 p.m. on that Oct. 11, 1936, it would have been dark outside. My poor mother.
Somewhere in my photo albums, I have a picture of the house that was taken during the time we lived there. I need to send it to the present owners. Maybe that would take away any uncertainty as to whether or not I really had been born there, so may long years ago.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.