Friday, November 18, 2011

PICS: Growing up at Aspen Grove

This was one of my mother's art students. We had a glass-lined art room at Aspen Grove where we kept the huge showcase of artifacts we dug up. Mom in the springtime would have art shows in the boxwood mazes. Marguerite (artist) is standing in the back boxwood maze (we had one in front and one in back of the mansion) near the hickory grove.

From the back corner of the house, a long wisteria arbor stretched towards the back boxwood maze and gravel driveway. In the spring, we kept our windows open and at night you slept to the scent of wisteria. I still get sentimental when I smell it.

We mowed all the acreage with this ancient McCormick Tractor. We parked it near or freshwater well because you had to roll it downhill to jumpstart it.

My sister, Tina, had her wedding reception in the back boxwood maze. It was a beautiful formal event. My sister, Kathy, was the maid of honor. I (not in picture) was a bridesmaid. It was very idyllic.

I suntanned on our front veranda. It was the era of suntan worship.

Wondered if I was a tomboy? This is proof. Me in front of the little cottage out back (there were 2 cottages, a barn and stables). My brother Scott (makes you think of the Brady Bunch, huh?) and sister Kathy (blond) and Tina (brunette) and our pets.

We had badminton, croquet, ping pong, a basketball hoop and putting green on the grounds.

Scott and I doing ping pong on the front veranda.

Outside of the larger of the two cottages, up against an enormous black walnut tree (yum).

Yup, me up a tree.

Sixth grade field trip was to my house. How weird! Everyone played soccer after the tour and teaching them how to use a metal detector.

Yup, that's me. A squirmy little thing that loved winter!

The estate was mostly surrounded by woods. It had a creek running through it. There was an apple orchard, cherry orchard, hickory grove, two boxwood mazes, miscellaneous fruits, vegetables and flowers, a stable, barn, 2 cottages, grape arbor, wisteria arbor, willow trees. It was a glorious place to fall in love with nature and the seasons. I thought I'd share a taste of what it was like there. I know some folks are intrigued by such a strange upbringing. I was always ashamed as a kid because everyone else lived in modern houses. Now, I'm glad I grew up that way. It tied me to the land and nature and fueled my horror stories with lots of atmosphere. Oh, and of course spawned a future ghost hunter!


  1. It was very very character-building and interesting. I explored the woods and built tree forts and played house in the barn. The summer home we owned on the Chesapeake was even better, I thought. It was a big old Victorian home on short stilts near the water. We had a cabin cruiser and dropped crab traps, explored the abandoned lighthouse, and went clamming at 4 am in the middle of the Bay with a lantern on the bow of our motor boat. It was very idyllic--no TVs or radios. Directly across from a cemetery where I watched blue ball lights dance at nighttime.

  2. I grew up in a subdivision, and in a house which looked like all the others. I always dreamt of living in a victorian house with a large porch. Nowadays, its more of a cottage with a large porch. I enjoy your stories and pictures of Aspen Grove. I really hope we get to visit there someday.

    (Leo, I tried adding a comment to your blog and it doesn't show up. I just wanted to thank you for the mention.)

  3. Gorgeous photos! What an amazing place to grow up. It looks and sounds spectacular to me!!!

  4. Well, if anything, it explains why I'm so very odd :-)

  5. Do you remember chasing fireflies amoung the Boxwoods?

  6. Of course I do, sweetie. I also remember rubbing their glow on my arms and face so I'd glow in the dark.

  7. Sweetie? I can also remember playing Hide and Seek amoung those Boxwoods

  8. If you were playing in the boxwood gardens with me, you're a sweetie. All my childhood chums are near and dear, even if they are remiss at contacting me. :-)

  9. I don't think you are the odd one in the family and I married one of the three beautiful sisters. I still have the pictures of the reception at Aspen Grove. So beautiful.

  10. Thank heavens, Jeez, you were scaring the bejezus out of me. Haha. When you talked about Aspen Grove as if you knew it real well and had the wedding pics, I figured you had been hanging out there long ago. Hope you're doing well. Tell my handsome nephews "howdy" from their Auntie Sharon :-)

  11. Will do. I think Michael is coming home in March. Planning a trip to DC then to see Mom, Dad & Tina. Maybe go by Aspen Grove & WV. I thought only Stan had bejezus in him. :)

  12. Haha. Yeah, Stan does have be-jesus in him, unfortunately for those who have to be related to him.