Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Compound

My brother-in-law Tim likes to refer to the area we live in as "The Compound." This is due to two things...first of all, he is a HUGE Kennedy fan, especially the late President John F. Kennedy. I swear he has newspaper clippings and magazines from his death, even though Tim was only in 3rd grade at the time. He watches each and every TV show that comes on about the Kennedys, and not once, but EVERY SINGLE TIME IT IS ON. And he records it too. As you may know the Kennedys have an area on Martha's Vineyard where a bunch of them live, and it is called "The Kennedy Compound."

Secondly, there is an area here on the outskirts of town that several of us live in. We just built a house in the area, Tim and his wife Patty live in one house, and their daughter Holly lives in another house. Since we're all together here (and there may soon be more of us), Tim likes to pretend that we're the Kennedys and living at "The Compound."

Now for a little history...Ted's paternal grandparents had a farm here. They raised hybrid seed corn. The farm had several fields, and as I joined the family, I learned the "nickname" for each field. The 5 acre field that is right by the buildings and the houses, and is referred to as the top field. Behind the main house, there is a little hill, and the 7 acre field down there is called the field below the hill. Back in the 1960s, the state put a bypass through the property and acquired land from the farm through the right of eminent domain. Right across the bypass was the big field, called that because it was the largest field acreage wise, around 150 acres. At the far end of the big field there was a line of trees, and low spots that filled with water during heavy rains. The field past that spot was called the field behind the pond. There was a set of railroad tracks that also cut through the property on the far end of the big field, and beyond that was a long, narrow 28 acre field referred to as the field across the tracks.

During the depression, when Ted's dad was young, Grandma and Grandpa built a solid 2 story brick home next to the top field. They started out with just building the garage first, and lived in the garage for a year or so while the rest of the house was being built. Back in the early 1930s, it was practically unheard of to build a THREE car garage, but they did. Once the house was finished, they moved into it and used the garage for what it was supposed to be used for...maybe a car or even two, and storage. Ted's Dad grew up, joined the Marines, served his country, came home, and met the gal who would become his wife.
The "big" house, where Tim and Patty now live.
Before getting married, Ted's Dad built a home catty-cornered from Grandpa and Grandma's house. It was a much smaller house, with only 2 bedrooms. Over the years, Ted's older brother Tim was born, then his sister Peg, then Ted entered the world. The "little" house was just that...LITTLE...especially for a family with three children. When Ted was a toddler, his Grandpa was killed in an accident. His Grandma was then living in the "big" 2 story house, all by herself. She suggested that she trade houses with her son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren, and the suggestion was met with open arms.

As the years went by, Ted's Dad was running the farm, and Ted's brother Tim got married, had a daughter (Holly) and then went to work for his Dad on the farm. Shortly after that Ted's parents amicably divorced and because of his Dad needing to be by the farm, his Mom moved to an apartment in town. Grandma was getting older, and after a particularly rough winter health-wise, she passed away at the age of 99. Then it was decided that Tim and Patty would buy the "little" house and move in so that Tim could be closer to work, and since they only had one child, it would work out well. And it did.
Concrete is being poured at our house, but the "little" house can be seen in the background.

As MORE years went by, Holly grew up, went away to college, came back home and got a job. By living at home while working, she was able to get her college loans paid down, and save some money. Unfortunately in January of 2004, Ted's Dad came down with pneumonia, and it was discovered that he had lung cancer that had metasticized to his liver and other areas. He passed away 6 weeks after being diagnosed.

A family decision was made to dissolve the farm business because it was just too much for Tim to run on his own, and he was able to get a job at another seed company about 30 miles out of town. It's a little bit of a commute each day, but he really enjoys it.

After that, Tim and Patty bought the "big" house from Dad's estate, and let Holly stay in the "little" house. Ted and I bought a little over an acre of the top field from his Dad's estate so we could be the third generation to build on the farm.
Our house. Yeah, the picture is crooked, but give me a break.
The top field was actually broken into sections and purchased by Tim, Ted, and Peg. Our lot is in the middle, and there are two smaller lots between our house and Holly's. The lot right next to ours belongs to Peg and her husband Mac. They may be building a house on their lot in the near future. The lot between theirs and Holly's was purchased by us also, in case Joey or Alex want to build a house someday. On the other side of our house is about an almost 2 acre lot that Tim bought, and he leases it to a local farmer to plant.
So if you've followed all that, we live by Tim and Patty, Holly, and may have Peg and Mac building next door to us soon.

It really is convenient...and nice too. We all get along and can walk right to each others' houses very easily. We've even thought about getting a used golf cart in case we have things to take to each others', but Ted and Tim each have a John Deere riding lawn tractor and they just use those to go back and forth.

And that is why Tim calls it "The Compound."


Kelly said...

We're such a funny family. Reading this makes me realize how much I hate being so far away from everyone at "the Knisely Compound," but fortunately we're able to visit often. I love all the houses. I have such fond memories of spending time at Holly's house as a child and will have fond memories of spending time at the others. I'm sure Michael (and future cousins!) will have fun running around "the Compound!"