Serendipity shined on me this past week.
When I moved to northern Kentucky after high school, I always drove by a house barely visible from the road in Smithfield en route to I-71. In between the trees that lined the driveway, I stole glimpses of a Federal style house far back a gravel drive surrounded by fields. I could only see the house long enough to instill more curiosity, wonder and frustration, which taxed my curiosity in epic proportions over the last 20 plus years.
Rewind with me back a couple of weeks.
While I was sick with some sort of sinus, headache-inducing phenomenon, which still escapes the scientific reach of modern medicine given my most recent visit last Friday, I received an e-mail from a resident explaining their property was on the historic registry and offered an opportunity for me to write about it. Finally, last week we made the arrangements for me to visit the property.
The owner told me it was the Callaway-Goodridge-Robertson Farm. You may recall I wrote about the Highlands house owned by Col. John Callaway and I most surely wanted to do the story since it involved his family, but was unaware of the property’s location.
I almost stopped in the driveway once I realized where I was going. It was THE house and THE property I had wondered over all those years. This would end my curiosity you see? I would no longer imagine the who, what, when and where about this property or house. The mystery and all of my imaginings with it would be put to fact and I couldn’t wait.
In this week’s issue, I write about that mysterious property: the people who built the house, who worked the land and the generations that experienced life there from the 1800s to the present day owners. In those stories, I came to understand another value of these historic homes and properties. They are living museums.
Living in a space almost 200-years-old, as an owner, one becomes a steward of its history and the people who lived there.
I write about the past inhabitants and some of their childhood memories at the property like a walnut tree in a field called the hush-a-bye tree.
This type of personal history reaches from the past to my present. These memories affectionately whisper to our affections for life as human beings regardless of their place in a century or age. It identifies the universal qualities of our humanity and to me this kind of history is more valuable than any fact.