Seeing

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V’s Old House on the Prairie

I grew up in a white clapboard two-story house with a verandah and summer porch, with a widow’s walk out a door besides my dad’s study on the second floor, where he would prepare his sermons. My parents, sister and brother had bedrooms, and I slept on the landing, rolling down the stairs only once, wrapped in a quilt I was playing with as mum stripped the sheets to wash in the wringer washer in the summer porch. This house features prominently in my poetry collection boy with a poem for every room, except perhaps my parents’ bedroom which was always off limits. I lived in this house from 1955 when I was born until 1964 when my mother sold this stately old house once the pride of the Friesen family in the early 20th century.  The buyers moved the house to a new location near Halbstadt. One summer day Peter, Gear and I visited our former homes in southern Manitoba, captured on video by Tim Brandt. I sought out this old house, though I didn’t get to see the inside because nobody was home.

V

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