Drama, Romance, Intrigue...

Love. Early American Style.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Well folks, here we go! LOL!

This blogging idea is so new to me, I thought "What the heck, I LOVE to talk, so why not give it a shot?!" So literally, hold on and here we go!

I guess the best way to start things off is to give a little history of how I've gotten where I am. First of all, I'm Mary Jo, I'm happily (yes, really) married to a great guy (yes, really) Russ and we have two small boys, Seth and Samuel (a.k.a. Sammy). We live in a VERY small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania of (I'm guessing) about 350 people...now that's small, right? hehehe Anyhow, I started painting oil on canvas about 7 years ago. Since then, I discovered the wonderful way of painting primitives using acrylics....this is an almost instant gratification because they dry soooooo fast, I can be done in a few hours if I want! While doing all of this, and having my kids along the way, I began selling my maternity clothes and infant clothes on ebay.....well, it was there that I discovered that I could sell the things I love the most (other than my family that is)....primitives....on ebay! That's where I really started taking this little business of mine off. Well, I also always loved sewing and started sewing again when I became pregnant with Seth. I fell in love with antique quilts, and primitive ones at that....the more tattered and well worn and loved, well, the better! I also collect antique fruit jars, a.k.a. "Mason Jars", and have 70 displayed in my kitchen alone....no duplicates! Love the bubbles in the glass!

Let me jump ahead to when we bought our house here in Susquehanna County. After doing some research, we found that it was built in 1827 by Albert and Eliza Beardsley. Albert Beardsley and his wife were both school teachers in Connecticut and also here in Springville. Mr. Beardsley also became an Esquire and a local Justice of the Peace and Magistrate (we can only imagine how many couples were wed in our home!). We were extremely lucky because this was well documented at our local Historical Society and we had the exact year the house was built was in black and white. Not only that, the Historical Society had the name and address of the original owners GREAT grandaughter, Mrs. Keck, who was still alive and living about 3 hours away in Lancaster County. She was 101 years old (just amazing)...so I mailed her a letter never thinking that I would here from her. About 6 weeks later I received a telephone call from her caretaker telling me to speak loudly (God Bless her). I was shocked....here I was speaking to Albert Beardsley's GREAT grandaughter..I was in tears! She told me that she remembered visiting her Grandmother, Mrs. Jessup (Albert's daughter) when she was a little girl. They would take the train into Montrose and travel the 15 miles to Springville by horse and buggy! Amazing!

She told me that she remembered the grand staircase that was in the foyer of the home with a beautiful banister...unfortunately, I had to tell her that this had since been torn down, but we re-installed a temporary banister. She didn't remember much else but just knew that she had pictures somewhere, one of which was her father as a young man on a bicycle in front of the porch. I thought that was great, but I never thought she would find them. Well, wonderful Mrs. Keck surprised me again when a few weeks later, I received a package from her great nieces husband with copies of pictures inside. Reality set in...I had a package from Albert Beardsley's GREAT, GREAT niece....and they were fantastic pictures of the house as it was in the 1800's! One of the pictures shows Mrs. Keck as a one year old sitting on the knee of her Grandfather, and one was THE picture she remembered of her father on his bicycle! I can only hope that I am this cognitive when I'm over 100 years old! LOL!!!

I am so glad we bought this home....we feel the presence of the Beardley and Jessup families that began the history of this home in the 1800 through early 1900's. It has, unfortunately, been "remodeled" in the 1990's when it was turned into a duplex rental (yes, this fine historic home was a RENTAL) and was nearly destroyed by tenants who just didn't seem to care. My mother told me that she thought Russ and I had lost it when we bought this house....she, and no one else, for that matter, could see past the bright pink sponge paint, the awful panelling, and the peeling linoleum/rotted floorboards to see the real "primitive beauty" that sat before us. We have worked hard and long for the almost 4 years we've lived here and have totally transformed the downstairs...we've re-exposed the plaster walls, the hardwood floors and the hand-hewn beams in the ceilings. It was this home that we found our true love of primitives. This home is now showing the dedication, talent and hard work of the craftsman who made this a home that a family should be raised in.....not rented out to.

I think I've said enough for my first blog entry.....didn't I say that I love to talk! LOL!!!! Maybe next time I will let you in on how I started making folk art dolls, the secret our house holds and the link between the two!

Mary Jo

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