Ten thousand feet of glory

Categorized as  family,  generations,  godly heritage,  Victorian house, Ellen

When we met later at yet another common love (Starbucks), we’d talked and talked, spinning happiness through the mocha-scented air, and then she dropped it, casual like, right there in the middle, “…and my parents live in a 10,000-square-foot Queen Anne Victorian,” and chattered on.

“Wait.”  I stopped her.  “Say it again, that part about the house.”  So she did.  And she told me the story of the family home, that her mother had inherited it from her mother who’d inherited it from hers and that she and her family lived right next door, sharing the family soil.  “You have to come and see it sometime.”

That was a year ago.  Connecting recently through Facebook, she said it again, “You’ve got to come up and see the house.  The shops are open now.  It would be right down your alley!”

Saturday last, with the middles gone, Mr. Schrock and I feeling free, we headed for Michigan, Little stashed in behind, and went to see Mama’s dream.  What we found when we arrived was amazing.  There, spread over acres and acres of Michigan land, was a fully-functioning centennial farm, complete with sprawling house, ice house, smoke house, corn crib, barn, and other outbuildings.

Three of the buildings had been decorated for Christmas, music playing, candles burning, ornaments and floral arrangements and baked goods, all for sale.  Customers flowed in and out, moving from one to another, reveling in the old-world charm.

It was the house, though…oh, the house.  Built in 1885 by Ellen’s great-great grandfather, it rose, solid and strong, speaking of another time, another age…

Woodwork gleamed on floors, baseboards wide, doors arching in two kinds and colors of wood.  Quaint pocket doors disappeared into walls that were papered in Victorian designs, some of which was only the second paper ever applied to those old, old walls.

The ceilings were high – 12 feet – as one expects in houses Victorian.  Some were tin, sporting that lovely raised design.  And everywhere, crown molding, curved walls, and wood, wood, beautiful wood.

At the top of the gorgeous, curving stairs was a hall, long and straight, running the entire length of the house.  There were eight functioning bedrooms in all with two being used for other purposes.  And at the end of that hallway, a narrow stairway that the servants had used went downward to the current dining room.  Oh, yes!

It was the history, though, that was the true adornment.  Face beaming, Ellen unwrapped the gift, telling the family story.  That mannequin in the window?  She was wearing a family wedding dress.  Just beneath it were the actual shoes that had been worn.  This antique?  It was so-and-so’s.  And that one there, well, that one belonged to…

On and on throughout, she shared it.  Family history was woven there, gracing the walls, permeating the very air.  Everyone who’d lived there, she said, had loved the Lord.  “I cried,” she told us, “when we found these diaries.”  And picking up the one on top, she began to read, “Had an experience at Sunday meeting today.  I stood and gave my testimony for the Lord (paraphrased).”

Ellen’s boys are the sixth generation to be raised on that farm.  Some day, she will inherit the family mansion.  She loves it, yes, but loves even more the rich godly heritage that is hers.  That much is clear.

In thinking over that wonderful day, I’m reminded of the pure beauty of a godly lineage, of generations who walk in faithfulness, of those older who pave the way for those who follow after.  How glorious such godliness is, how lovely, how precious.

One day, God willing, there will be a house with wood that gleams, a stairway that winds, ceilings tall, and walls adorned with faith for this girl with a dream.  And the dream has a name…

Note:  To the family’s astonishment and delight, the original blueprints for the house were found, rolled up in a drawer, when they went through things after Ellen’s grandmother died.  They are in pristine condition, beautifully mounted under glass and on display there on those walls.  Beautiful!

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