The windows are broken and the inside of the old house is cold and windy. The calendar is still on the wall, turned to February, 1982.

After a nasty blizzard and the subsequent troubles that befell the hog operation, Jason’s uncle left the farm…locking the door behind him.

Yesterday, we spent the day sifting through the old and dusty in the house to make room for a bit of storage. This was the house my father in law, a man I never met, was raised in. I’ve heard the stories about him told by the people he loved but had never ventured in the house of his childhood. A high chair, presumably the one he used as a child, still sits in the house, untouched, for all these years.

One of the first things I noticed were the old ice skates and I could imagine Jason’s aunt Gloria skating and spinning and twirling like the ice princess I’m sure she was in her youth.

On the dirt floor of the basement were Dick and Jane-type spelling flashcards. I flipped through them and pulled out the ones that spelled out, “Oh, my”, “farm”, and “family”.

The last item on my archeological exporation was also in the basement. On a shelf where the sun from a small window shone upon it, sat a glass jar with a glass lid. I wiped the dust from the glass and ran my hands over the round base. When I held the jar, the sunlight revealed a summer’s bounty that my husband’s grandmother, Mary, had canned some 40 years ago. The beets inside had undoubtably been grown in the garden spot and canned in her kitchen on a hot summer day.

We are the fifth generation on this farm. On days like this, when I hold family history in my hands, I never fail to remember the people who I have never met but have carved my future.

I wiped the jar clean and put it back on the shelf where Mary left it. I left the cups in the cupboard, the calendar where it was and locked the door behind me.