Monday, July 27, 2009

History Invasion

Yesterday at 1:30pm, 5 vehicles and 25 people pulled in front of the Lovejoy Inn. They were not expected.

They knocked on the door and started to come in before we answered. They walked up to the house, looking at every detail, taking pictures, pointing. If I had been alone, I would probably have hid, but since Lynda was here we greeted them.

We soon found out that this was the Vradenburg clan and that their great grandparents were the second owners of our house. Elias and Isabelle Vradenburg came out west to Whidbey Island around 1904 and purchased the house here at 5 NW 8th St. It remained in the family until 1948.

One of Elias and Belle’s grandchildren, now in her 80’s was part of the crowd that visited. Before we knew it there was a swarm of people examining every nook and cranny of the house. Little children we’d never seen before came running down the stairs and out from the back porch. Memories of the dining room, the blackberries, the cistern, and the barn were shared as well as all the collected memories passed down to the great and great great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. They were a lovely bunch of people and so appreciative of the chance to look around the house and the barn. It was obviously very meaningful.

We’re hoping to receive some of the old family photos that show when the Vradenburgs lived here. Here’s the picture from yesterday with all the direct relations sitting on the old porch.

There was another large crowd that never came in – these are the spouses of the Vradenburgs. They tried to remain patient while their loved ones took the tour. We recognized their type right away.
In our family (ie: Lynda’s family – The Austins) the spouses are called “the married into’s” meaning we married into the Austin family. We have developed our own support group and quietly smile as we hear once again the story of Grandpa Roy using his 80 year old wife, Edel, as ballast in the old Ford truck so he could get traction going up the driveway. She fell out at some point, much to Roy’s surprise, but she survived.

Lynda kept saying that what happened today would not be unusual in her family…in fact she remembers traipsing through family homes in Oregon and Minnesota without an invitation or without batting an eye. “It’s just what we do”. I guess the Vradenburgs have some of the same genes and I’m glad they felt as free as the Austin’s to “just drop by”.

Roy & Edel Austin with son Chuck and grandson David