When I was a little girl, my Uncle would bring his friends home from the Coast Guard Academy to my grandparents’ schoolhouse. One such friend was Gary. Gary adopted my grandparents’ as his own parents and they accepted him as a son. He eventually purchased a farm above the schoolhouse. He has rented it out over the years and while there were chickens, sheep, and goats there for a while, in recent years the barn has stood empty and is in a state of decay.
As a child, the barn was filled with my grandfather’s antiques. I would love to go there and look around. My grandfather used to collect glass telephone insulators – a beautiful teal green in color. We would often go antiquing on the weekends and he would bring objects back to the barn. He also stored a number of cardboard cones there and he would help me fashion dolls out of them. I haven’t been inside the barn in years, but it no longer looks safe. The roof is caving in, but it still projects a certain beauty, like an aging model whose skin may sag, but who never loses that great bone structure. Only, that’s not quite true, the structure of this building is giving in, giving up, and eventually it will probably have to come down. I already know some people who were checking it out for the wood, although as far as I know Gary has made no such deal. I will be sad the day it finally happens. We already lost a couple of barns at the farm where my Dad grew up, taken down because they too were falling in and were no longer safe. The hole where they were offers a great view, but it is still a hole, a part of what once was a leaving, breathing entity, now amputated.
Not only are old barns a thing of beauty, but old memories are, too.