You Can Go Home Again – Part Two

By Sherry — enjoying life in Virginia

GIVEAWAY! Julianne Holmes aka Julie Hennrikus is celebrating the release of the second book in the Clock Shop Mystery series. She’s been gathering the names of our commenters for the last several days and one lucky person will win a copy of Clock and Dagger so be sure and leave a comment!

IMG_0219 I blogged once before about my dad’s home town of Novinger, Missouri. For those of you who don’t know, my maiden name is Novinger. I spent lots of weekends and holidays on my grandparents’ farm in Novinger and was delighted to take my daughter there for the first time in mid-July.

I’m so impressed that this very small town moved the home of one of the founders of the town Issac Novinger (a great, great, great — you get the idea — grandfather). The log cabin stood on a farm near Novinger. They took it apart log by log and rebuilt it in the center of town. Then they turned it into a museum IMG_0019and give tours. We were lucky enough to take a tour.

IMG_0036Novinger was a coal mining town. My grandfather had an old coal mine on his farm. Of course we weren’t ever allowed to go into the mine and much of it looked like it had collapsed. This cart, near the Issac Novinger cabin, looks just like the one from my grandfather’s farm.

There are three things in the cabin that originally belonged to Issac Novinger.

The top left picture is a grain bin made by Issac. The tour guide had no idea I was a mystery writer and told us: If you dropped the lid of this on someone it would kill them. Of course that got my mind whirling. He also made the bench. The magazine is dated August 1911.

The house has three rooms on the lower level:

A spinning wheel sat in the corner of the bedroom.IMG_0162

Our tour guide told us it was unusual for a log cabin to have an upstairs but this cabin did.

IMG_0050After the tour of the cabin we decided to drive out to my grandparents’ farm. I hadn’t been out there in thirty years so I hoped I could still find it. On the way we stopped to see the school my Aunt Ginny taught at.

The roads out to my grandparents’ farm gets smaller and smaller and smaller. My husband wasn’t convinced I could get us there. I recognized my Aunt Alberta and Uncle Bryon’s house and my dad’s best friend Glen Dale Riley’s house.

Then just when my husband was convinced we should give up, (I think the narrow road and private property signs freaked him out) we found it! If you look in the far distance you can see a glimpse of white that was my grandparent’s home.Version 2

We spent the night in the town of Kirksville, Missouri where I attended college. On the way from Novinger to Kirksville we stopped at Thousand Hills State Park, the site of many picnics and hikes when I was little and maybe a party or two during college. IMG_0242We had time to stop by the campus of Truman State College (Northeast Missouri State University when I attended and Northeast Missouri State Teachers College when my parents went). We had a fun dinner with my college friends.

It was on to St. Louis for the last leg of our trip. We stopped in my mom’s home town of LaPlata, Missouri.IMG_0248And then we drove on to St. Louis where my friend Dianne arranged a dinner with some of our sorority sisters. It was such a lovely evening! And such a fabulous trip. IMG_0263

Readers: Do you have a favorite memory of a place from your past? Have you been back to visit that place?

50 Thoughts

  1. Sherry, I really enjoyed this post. So much like the coal mining that supported the economy around Cincinnati, Iowa in Appanoose County where my Grandparents & Great Grandparents farms were. I loved the time that I spent at the farm and worked it with my Grandparents at times in the late 60’s & again in the late 70’s. Loved the photos and yes that looks like the roads that I explored as a teenage driver. Thanks for a good memory.

  2. My uncle had a house on Cape Cod. When he was alive I used to go there and visit. This summer, my cousins’ grandchildren are there. Since my uncle died, his son and his wife tore down the old house and built an all year round house on the same footprint. Yesterday, they posted pictures on the fourth generation sitting on the landing…talk about family and memories!

  3. Sherry, your trip sounded like such a pleasant journey down memory lane. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I heard stories about the farm my mother grew up on in Georgia. So it was a pleasure to finally get to visit the farm. Sadly, the old home is now is ruins, only a memory of the house where a large family once lived. But the memories live on.

  4. How lovely that you could share this with your family (did your daughter enjoy the trip?). When I was young, my family moved around a lot, so there was no one place that was special, although I’ve tracked down the homes where my family lived at least through my great-grandparents (on both sides), and in some cases even farther. It’s my way of paying tribute to them, and getting to know them a little better. (And I’ve dragged my family along too!)

    1. My daughter did enjoy the trip! There were several times that made her feel a little teary. And since she moved around a lot too it was good for her to see some roots!

  5. Most of my family on both sides was firmly planted in the same part of rural New York state from the late 1700s onward and I lived in that area until Ieft for college in Maine at 17. I didn’t appreciate it enough at the time. As some of you already know, I’ll be going home again, fifty years later, in the fictional form of the sleuth in a new series. I’m having a wonderful time mixing reality, nostalgia, and imagination. The “what if . . .” game is great fun.


    1. That’s a long time for a family to stay put! Issac left Pennsylvania for Missouri. I can’t wait for your new series, Kathy! Remind me again of the title!

      1. Thanks for asking, Sherry. Tentatively, the title of the first one is Deadly Edits, since the sleuth is a book doctor/free lance editor. Spring 2018 for publication date–still a long way off.

  6. Grandma’s house with no running water, had to use a “thunderpot” going to the well to pump water, heating water on the wood stove. going to the chicken coup to collect the eggs.!

    1. By the time I came around my grandparents had plumping and electricity. But the pump still stood in the back — the water always tasted better after it. And the outhouse was there too — I used it more than once! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. How cool! Love the pictures, especially of the dresses hanging on the walls. I guess no walk-in closets in those days. LOL. One of my favorite places from my childhood is very different from yours. When I was little my dad was a bartender and since our building was just a block away I visited him at work often. The bar is now a bicycle shop. Everything we drive by the corner of 47th & 9th ave on the way to my parent’s current building I always think about the bar. 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing your family journey into the past with us, Sherry! I’ve been following along on Facebook, but these photos and their explanations helped explain so much more.

    The “grain bin” looks a lot like the firewood bins a friend has, both at their cabin in Wyoming and a farmhouse in Kentucky. I wonder if that’s what it really is? It would make more sense for it to hold firewood. Hmm.

    1. Might be used for firewood NOW, but back in the day it was a grain bin to protect the grain as much as possible from critters and other borrowers. This was in the day when flour was hand ground before use.

  9. “and maybe a party or two during college”….bet that part of the story being told to Elizabeth was very short and sweet! How lovely to be able to share all of this family history with her at the age where she can appreciate all of the interesting details.

  10. Great photos! Thanks for sharing them. I grew up in West Virginia, and while I do go back for visits, much has changed. It’s just not the same.

  11. Wonderful memories! It’s places for my family. It’s been great sharing the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, tea at the Huntington Library, the getting fruit from a street cart after exploring the La Brea Tar Pits, apple picking in Oak Glen… Sharing moments that I loved as a child, renewed by seeing my own experiencing them, is simply the best.

    1. We were luck enough to live in the LA area for four years. It’s an amazing place! My daughter was born there and I loved never having to bundle her up!

    2. I grew up in the Pasadena area and was born in Huntington Hospital! My grandmother would take us (one at a time) to the Farmer’s Market. I don’t know Oak Glen, though, and didn’t know they even picked apples in So Cal!

  12. The people who went west in America amaze me. Both the difficulties that drove them to do it, either across the oceans or here, and the optimism that life could be better, are an indelible part of the American character, I think.

    My family went west, to Olean, New York and western Pennsylvania, but then, after the Civil War, they circled back again to the big cities of the east coast. No western adventurers among us.

    I’ve often thought of making a tour of the houses I grew up in and my grandparents houses. I am sure they are much changed, and some of them no longer existing, but you’ve inspired me. Maybe I’ll do it!

  13. You’re making me want to go drive by the houses my grandparents lived in. Of course, they are up in Northern California, so I guess I’ll just go to work instead. 🙂

  14. On our first anniversary my husband and I went back to Niagara Falls where we went for our honeymoon. Only this time we didn’t stay in a hotel, we took our tent and camped out. Unfortunately Mother Nature didn’t want to cooperate and we ended packing up and leaving after the second night. Shortly after we left a tornado went through, so it was good we did.

  15. I often go home to Napa just 35 miles away but would to go a small place outside of Fond Du Lac,Wi. My mom was an orphan but her 2 Indian aunties were great storytellers and wanted her to know her history.. My mom didn’t talk much about early years because she was called so many awful names but she told family stories and the Indian stories would slip out . We now have my grandfathers story all the way back to Montauk to the Brotherstown Tribe in Wi. She had much to be proud of writers, ministers and even a Doctor and they have a long history of being very musical.. Hoping someday my sons will go there .

  16. every couple of years, I will make a drive (3 hrs one way) to visit my Great Grandparents old home place. I have so many fond memories from spending time there with my Grandmother when I was a child. There was a double seated outhouse and the only running water was a hand pump in the kitchen. My Great Grandparents raised 8 children there during the great depression and continued to live there until the mid 1970’s when they finally moved into a small home in town with indoor plumbing and running water 😉

  17. How lucky you are to be able to visit the places you remember from your childhood. I can remember my Dad taking us for rides in the country to show us the places where he lived and the farms of different family members. I can remember trips to my great uncle who still had a farm when we kids and the fun we had riding on the big combines and playing in the barn. I think my Dad was a farmer at heart and would have been very happy living on a farm instead of in the city.

    1. I remember playing in my grandparents’ barn too. I loved to climb up to the hay loft and feel the breeze coming through. We got tractor rides.

  18. What a great trip and pics. No log cabin to visit for my family, but I have been back to the town we lived in when I was very young, to see the lilacs that were still planted in the yard.

    1. That is so cool that the lilacs are still there! When I went to my hometown (Part One of the trip) we drove by my childhood home. Sadly, the beautiful lilac bush was gone.

  19. Love this! I’ve been tracing my genealogy for over 30 years. My favorite family find is the foundation of my 3rd great grandparents house on Culp’s hill in Gettysburg.

  20. I have a lot of good memories from my grandmother’s house. Sadly it is no longer there, She moved into a new house a few years before she died.

  21. I used to have memories about my foster home but one year we went out to Ca and went there and it was terrible memories i am so glad that we didn’t go in the gate and so happy i had my grandma that rescued us from there one day. Then we went by a place i went to h.s. when i lived with my grandma and there was all happy memories and i can understand why she hated the foster parents and couldn’t understand why i would call them and send cards,. One day she unloaded all the things they told her and they were all lies and she knew it also I gave her a huge hug and i can see that when i did that i thought i was being nice but i was hurting the person i most loved never again. I wasn’t even that type of person and my grandma had my back and that made me happy that she knew who i was >

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