The Big Old House Justine Loved

Yesterday, I shared a speech Justine wrote when she was 9 or 10, about her grandparents’ house and all the fun she, her sister and cousins had. You can read it here. I moved into that house at the same age, my 10th birthday to be exact. It was one of the best birthday gifts I ever got. The place was magical. People would slow down while driving by, just to stare. 

It was a Victorian home with a huge wrap-around veranda with a turret. My father screened in the side portion and we practically lived there all summer. There was almost an acre of property and a big circular driveway in front.   


An old family photo on the big veranda
Inside, there was a huge staircase leading up to the second floor covered in rich, red carpet that contrasted with the black and white tile floor below. My mother always dreamed one of us would come down that staircase on our wedding day and be married in the big foyer and although my sister did get married there, it was outside in a big wedding tent in the back yard.   

The staircase with red carpet
The foyer with tile floor
 Upstairs were four big bedrooms, a huge landing and a bathroom. I’m the eldest so I had my own bedroom, my two sisters shared a room that had all built in cupboards and drawers, and my brother had the front bedroom. My parents had a canopy bed in their bedroom which had a fireplace in it. When we had other families visit, all the kids would roll out their sleeping bags on the landing while the adults took the bedrooms. This happened frequently as we had lots of company. My cousin, Christine told me on the weekend that their family’s visit (my aunt and uncle and 5 kids) was one of the only vacations they took as a family. There was always something happening there. My parents loved parties and having company. 

The bedrooms were off the big landing
There was a huge living room, separate dining room,
both with massive picture windows facing the front,kitchen, breakfast nook and a big wood panelled den. Not the panelling everyone put on in the 60’s, this was the real stuff. Huge wide planks of thick wood. Both the living room and den had fireplaces and in the winter they were usually burning. The ceilings were 9 feet high and the place was hard to heat.   

My friend, Kate will tell you that the best place in the house was the basement. It was divided up into little rooms and we played house there for hours. Kate was convinced that there was a secret passageway to the carriage house in the back and there was a dirt mound under the stairs we called the horse grave. We used to try and dig there in hopes we would locate the secret passage. We saw ghosts there too. It had a brick floor and it was damp and musty but we loved playing there.




I lived there for 8 years until I moved to Toronto to attend college but my parents stayed there for nearly 30 years until my father died there and it was too big for my mother to maintain herself. We all loved the old homestead and have very fond memories of the fun we had there.




39 thoughts on “The Big Old House Justine Loved

  1. OH MY GOD!!! What an amazing place! It’s beautiful! That is the perfect house for a kid to grow up in, no wonder all your family loved to come and visit. So glad you have all these happy memories there of your own childhood and of Justine’s. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love old houses. In fact, I’ve never not lived in one. Even growing up and all my apartments as a bachelor, being divided old places. Our house now is old, 113 to be exact. We have ghosts too. Nothing like an old house, the walks tell stories. I hope my boys have those fond memories from growing up on our old homestead as well.

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  3. I knew you grew up in a nice house but didn’t realize how amazing. Fabulous description of the house I definitely got a sense of how fun and wonderful the house was. Great to have so many memories from this place. I hope the people that own it now enjoy it as much as your family did.

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  4. What a beautiful house. I am sure you have fond memories of the place. I am attracted to grand old residences. I am sure the changes must’ve ruined the look and the warmth of the place – but memories have an excellent way of staying fresh, especially if we visit them frequently. Thanks for sharing, Cathy.

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  5. OMG what a beautiful home. I love old houses, although they can be a lot of work. Ours is 150 this year. Your house looks like a magical place to grow up. No wonder Justine loved to visit there. Thanks for sharing the photos.

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  6. It’s a wonderful place. So beautiful. you not only had a beautiful family but also a beautiful house and upbringing. I am so happy for you.
    Have a wonderful Sunday and a great week ahead Cathy.

    Anand 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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