Nebraska Love Shack
Recently I found myself back in my hometown getting another property prepared for market. My daughters overheard that I was heading to Tekamah and wanted to come along for the ride so they could see grandma and grandpa.
After we met with the Seller and all the paperwork, measurements and photos taken we started our way back to Omaha—with a detour, of course. On the way to our destination we had passed my old high school, which was inevitable, since Tekamah only has one Main Street. When they saw the school they started asking questions about growing up “way back then.” The ongoing conversation took us out to the farm where I grew up.
We didn’t have a street address on the farm. Everyone that lived in the country was either Rural Route 1 or Rural Route 2 depending on which side of town you lived. Directions to our house were simple: from Main Street you’d turn east at the tank in front of the courthouse then proceed east at every opportunity for seven miles.
Our house was a simple 2 bed, 1 bath, 1 car garage that made even the smallest Celebrity Home look like a mansion. My parents shared a bedroom while me and my brothers shared the other. It was a huge deal when my parents finished the basement, adding a third bedroom. Being the oldest I got the new bedroom all to myself.
While we were driving by I noticed a lot of changes had been made since we moved out. Most of the trees around the house had been cleared and some of the farm buildings had been torn down to make room for new. The most noticeable change, however, was our one-car garage had been updated to be more living space that couldn’t added more than 250 square feet.
After I told the girls about all the stuff that used to be here or there we drove on to grandma and grandpas new place, which probably had three times the square footage. That was much more livable quarters for them and their three boys. Those same boys have grown and now bring their wives and grandkids up for golfing, holidays, birthdays, mushroom hunting, fishing and whatever else country life permits.
I told mom where we had gone and mentioned the changes. She said she had visited with the new owners and the first thing they asked her was, “How on earth did you raise three boys in this tiny house?”
Mom’s reply was pretty simple. “When a home’s filled with love it’s always the right size.” That answer seemed pretty fitting to me. I knew it was small but we never seemed crowded. When mom felt crowded through, we were usually kicked outside to play.
I still remember dad and the two hired hands coming in for lunch in our kitchen dining area. Seven of us would squeeze shoulder-to-shoulder around the table to eat—in fact, I think it was pretty commonplace to see someone steal food off someone else’s plate. Getting up to go to the refrigerator or bathroom meant everyone had to shift.
As kids, this was fun and we didn’t know any other way. I think it makes our family lives better now. We’re pretty close knit, stable and don’t fight much anymore because we got it all out when we were young and we appreciate the larger homes we have now.
It was our own little Love Shack—well before the B-52’s became a band.