Story by Marie Necciai in Monongahela Pa
I had my barn reclaimed this past spring of 2015. This beautiful structure was in my family for over 5 generations. My father was born here as long with all 6 of his brothers and sisters. These old walls could tell wonderful stories. I can remember all the wonderful times I spent there. This barn seen all of my Uncles go to WW2 and seen all of them come safely home. It lived thru the Great Depression. My father told how my Grandmother fed the wanderers and they would go sleep on the hay wagons and go on their way.
When I was a child my Grandmother would watch us while my parents would milk the cows. My Mom said I would always sneak out and wanted to go out there with them. She said I always was sneaking out and she had no choice but to take me with them. She told me that when she was pregnant with me her belly was so big that when she reached down to milk a cow she would touch the floor. I had plenty of chores. I remember carrying the milkers in and they were so heavy I could only carry 1 at a time. But as time went buy I found myself carrying in both at one time.
I remember how the milk truck came every other day. I will never forget the driver telling me that he told his sons if you find a girl standing on a manure pile with a pitch fork in her hand MARRY that girl. We always hand plenty of help during hay season. My parents always had great friends that helped during hay season and when we filled the silos. My parents then returned the favor.
Still to this day when I see some of these people they always say how much they loved this farm and my Mom and Dad. When they passed I was pleased to see how many of the young boys who now in their 40’s and 50’s came to pay their respects. So as time went by this beautiful barn began to show its age. There were no more cows and no more hay.
I often wonder how many people walked thru those doors and how many curious little eyes watched my Dad milk cows. I have so many pictures of wonderful memories. When I met my husband he knew nothing about farming he sure learned fast. I told him if you marry me you marry this farm. Time had taken its toll though.
Last spring when I went in I seen some of the major beams had cracked and the pins were starting to pull out. The foundation started to slip and roof was beginning to leak. I told my husband what should we do he said this is your barn you decide. So I went and started to look for a good reclaim company. I will never forget the day he came. This white haired man came walking thru my yard with his little silver box filled with contracts and a tape measure on his side.
My heart sank because I knew this was an end of a wonderful structure. I watched him measure the siding and beams as his eyes would light up every time he took a measurement and scraped off the whitewash and seen what type of wood was there. I had American chestnut, beech, and oak. He gave a bid and I was having plenty of second thoughts. So I didn’t give an answer right away. After several days of crying I let him come back I sadly signed the contract. When I came home from work the first day I walked out and I could see thru the open walls and I watched him cut thru the boards . My heart broke and as I wiped away the tears I knew it was the right thing to do.
As the weeks went by I watched the beams come down the roof come off and everything stacked in neat little stacks waiting to be taken away. So the day came when a white trailer truck was sitting in my hay field and the beams were loaded and they were strapped down. I watched the man load his pickup truck and take the small loads. As I watched it drive away I thought to myself you are not taking a structure you are taking history.
I hope these reclaiming companies realize that they are taking away someone’s family history. See the barn is the heart and soul of the farm. So when time takes her it takes you with it. I will always remember the day I called him. I think it would be more of a sin to let her fall and be worth nothing. I just hope where ever it went to the people know of the rich history and happy memories.
God bless all of you who have to make this choice. God bless the men who reclaim these buildings they have a very dangerous job. As I come home each day I look out there and I see my 2 lonely silos one has a hole in the roof because of a beam hitting it and an empty space. So as I close my story I hope this helps you make your decision and also let’s the reclaim companies know that what they do is this barns last great story.