Auction


The farm.

The farm.

“Sold!”

With that word – and a few pen strokes – farm land which had been in our family for over 70 years was gone.

I didn’t feel joy, but I wasn’t sad either.

On the one hand, this is the last place my family lived together when I was a child. This is where we tried to live up to an image, but the recession of the late 70s and early 80s caught up to us and unraveled things.  We had a big, nice, new house but were swimming in debt. I began 4th grade in a private school and ended 5th grade in public school on a lunch assistance program (the full price for a school lunch in my town in 1982 cost a whopping 0.80 and I needed assistance with that). Half of the farm was sold to a developer to help pay debt.  New cars turned old and worse for wear. Farm equipment disappeared. Trouble had set in. Not a pretty picture, but that was the deal.

On the other hand, I have many happy memories: my grandmother’s house was a short walk out our front door. I could always count on an oatmeal cookie, bowl of cereal or RC Cola after school. I had a tree house, a grave yard, a cave, and barns to explore. One of the barns had, among other things, an old Cadillac DeVille and a dentist chair. I would camp out in the woods with friends and two of my cousins lived close by. Dobermans belonging to my neighbor would sometimes chase me – scary, but also a thrill. My mom shot ground hogs from the patio with an old bolt action .22 rifle (so cool).

All of that happened 30 years ago and things change. Life goes on and the past is in the past.

Eventually, my aunt came to own the land.  She rented it out to a local farmer and another man kept horses there. When she died, she passed the farm on to me and three siblings.  She did not have to do that, but she felt that was the right thing to do – we were all truly thankful for it. The four of us understood that we weren’t farmers, didn’t live near by, and had three too many owners, so we would sell and that eventually happened via auction.

Over the years, there were a lot of hopes and dreams tied up in that land. Some of those things worked out and others did not. When the auction was all said and done, it was a cathartic experience. I felt a sense of release and relief. The sale didn’t bring the number I had in mind, but I’m OK. I’m good with it.  I was a part owner, but it never really never was my land. I was just a custodian who had the privilege to live there a long time ago in bad times and good.

 

 

 

 

 

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