Most of the real work on the farm happened in the barn, in the fields, and in the house. Some of the outbuildings were so specific in purpose that they were often hastily erected and as quickly abandoned when seasons or activities changed. Others had longer lives and a bigger presence. They were spread out around the property in an almost haphazard way. A few of them I remember from childhood, but others I know only from photos.
A House for an Auto
In the spring of 1921 my grandfather Ellsworth began to think about getting a car and building a garage for it. I think of this “auto” looking like the one Uncle Wiggly, “The Bunny Rabbit Gentleman,” drove in my mother’s favorite childhood book, “Uncle Wiggly’s Auto Sled.”
My great-grandmother Lydia recorded the progress of the garage and the auto.
Saturday, March 12, 1921 – “Ellsworth…is thinking of building a house for an auto when he gets one. Children all have hard colds. Agnes and Emily have one. They are all sneezing in concert.” – Lydia Jane Hall
Wednesday, March 16, 1921 – “Man came to show Ellsworth a Buick automobile.” – Lydia Jane Hall
Thursday, March 17, 1921 – “Nice day. Men busy carting dirt getting ready to build a garage opposite the horse barn at the top of the hill.” – Lydia Jane Hall
Friday, March 25, 1921 – “Ellsworth has a new automobile – came today.” – Lydia Jane Hall
Saturday, April 9, 1921 – “Agnes went out to take her lesson in the automobile this afternoon with Mr. Beaumont for teacher. Will have to give her several lessons. Am afraid they will have an accident someday, but hope not.” – Lydia Jane Hall
I don’t think that my grandmother, who was a very good driver, ever did have an accident in any automobile on the farm. She did almost all the driving. Her big black car fit perfectly into the garage, and we loved being asked to go along on her errands. We followed her into the dark muskiness of the garage, climbed onto the big back seat where, unencumbered by seat belts, we bounced up and down as the car traversed the East Wallingford hills, hoping to be bouncing up when we hit a big bump so our heads would touch the car ceiling.
On Monday: March Window