Conestoga house

The house in the hollow
If you look closely you can see me peering at you over the porch railing. I was moved in about three years earlier and lived here for the next ten.

This house smelled of history. The middle part was made of logs all the way to the top. There were blacksnakes living in the basement walls and a big charred area on the floor in the main room where the space heater caught fire once when mom was up shopping in Center*.

Mom said she saw the smoke rising from the fire from the front porch of Graver's store, which faced down into the side of the hollow. Fortunately by then someone had called the volunteers, who arrived and contained the damage. (It may have been Mame Fulton, "Aunt Mamie", who lived on a farm overlooking our place, that called) The firemen would have passed by Graver's store on their way to the house- I wonder if my mother heard their sirens and went to the front porch to watch where they were going? Imagine that feeling when it sinks in!

A major thing about living in the hollow was getting in and out of it. There was a gravel road about a quarter of a mile long down into it that we called the lane. It met the township road at the top at a steep angle. A driver leaving the lane did not stop at the top, unless maybe Mr. Long did, the one person living there with four-wheel drive. The rest I suppose would have to trust that no one was coming along when they charged up and out.

Fortunately, just before the lane's steep final section, there was a straight and level stretch where a driver could get up speed to clear the top if there had been snow. The flat, we called it. It was the only place to squeeze off the gravel and let someone coming toward you go around- lower down, beyond the S-bend, the driver coming up would back down to the first available driveway.

We would walk up the lane on our way to school, and I remember one morning wearing a yellow slicker and stomping through puddles on the flat. I remember the smell of that slicker, and how the hood blocked my view, and my name written on the inside of the hood where I could just see it from the corner of my eye, and then my big sister in her tartan slicker, carrying her schoolbooks and bossing me to get moving or we would miss the bus and have to walk the quarter-mile from the top of the lane to school in the rain. We were just like Lucy and Linus.

*The town of Conestoga is strung out along a ridge for quite a ways, and the part of it nearest the hollow, where five roads met up, was called Conestoga Center, or sometimes "Centre".