Centennial Farm group holds meeting in Evart

EVART — The group gathered, then after sharing a potluck lunch, members and guests of the Central Michigan Area Centennial Farms shared much, much more.

They shared their lives. They told about their ancestors, the homes they visited as children, and how their own children and grandchildren loved to return to the homes of yesteryear, maybe as recently as just yesterday.

The crowd shared most of their Sunday afternoon in a meeting hall at Evart Free Methodist Church, bringing along not only food to share, but also old tools, some of which never have been identified.

Some of the tools included stories from the past, while still others left questions in the present. The genealogy not only of families but also of farms that “lived” among those families for more than a century were shared not only verbally be the forty or so members attending, but also in pictures.

Some of the photos are still “maybes” or “I don’t have a clue” types of findings long after great-grandparents and grandparents and now even many parents are gone and cannot be asked.

But for these people, it was a day of sharing and one of remembering. Some of the old farmhouses and farm buildings still stand. Some barely. Others remodeled and lived in, or just fixed up a bit and still bringing strong reminders of the past into the modern days with all the so-called modern conveniences.

And the ladies, ah, yes, the ladies were asked to bring along quilts and tell their stories. For some it was a story of a great-grandmother as quilter, and grandma sleeping beneath it as well. Then mom. Then the child. And now, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren do likewise, still not understanding the significance of how many generations cuddled and kept warm beneath it.

Others remembered when the wood stove went out, and nobody wanted to crawl out from beneath it to put another log on the fire.

They talked of the “barn quilts” sprouting up on barns and buildings throughout Osceola and neighboring counties, and how some of those patterns were borrowed from the quilt grandpa slept beneath.

One quilt had portions of it made from, it’s believed, from a grandmother’s black dress that stretched back then all the way from the floor to the top of her neck, and various other materials from the early 1900s.

Some quilts were made for great-grandmother’s babies. Then used by her own grandbabies. And now their great-grandbabies keep warm those special nights they spend in “that old house.” But, oh, the memories to be shared because of the people who lived in “that old house.”

Some members are restoring homes. Some wished they had. Others treasure what they rescued before the old barn was torn down, or the house was no longer lived in, and those items now live on the walls of their own homes, the pictures of those who lived in the long ago are a glance away.

Dinner was at 1 p.m., and the sharing went on past 4 on Sunday. There was no question of wanting to get together again next year, to share that past life by bringing it alive for each of them and all of them all over again. Date’s set. Oct. 7, 2012. They’re hoping at the Free Methodist Church again.

Wava Woods said you’re invited.