The house with nobody in it
Colliers along route 60 (or if you wish the old road as it is called by old timers) can boast some of the most magnificent scenery to be seen anywhere in the province.
Next time you drive through this tiny Conception Bay North community, I suggest you take a breather and look towards the southwest and savour the view of the mountains and valleys in the distance. It is in my opinion awesome.
I have been driving that route for many years, particularly of late since my wife and I have retired and took up permanent residence in another beautiful spot namely Clarke’ Beach.
A life-long fascination
There is an old house situated on the small curve leading through the community. It is a house that has always fascinated me. I took notice of it at least 30 years ago.
As we so frequently drive by, I usually slow down and gaze at it with a warm feeling in my bones. You might say I am enamoured by it.
The old country house brings back sentimental memories for me. I think that maybe it is because it reminds me of my grandparent’s old farm house where my late father grew up. It was located near Portugal Cove where my grandparents farmed saw-milled and raised cattle and a large family. It was a place where I spent most of my summer vacations and where I saw hard work and perseverance.
There is another reason why the old house captivates me. It triggers off in my brain pleasant thoughts of a piece of poetry I learned to appreciate at quite an early age. I think I was in Grade 6 when I first read it.
If you read on I think it will be self explanatory.
The House with nobody in it
By Joyce Kilmer Whenever I walk along the Erie track
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
I suppose I’ve passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute
And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.
I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things;
That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowing.
I know this house isn’t haunted, and I wish it were, I do;
It wouldn’t be so lonely, if it had a
Suffern ghost or two.
This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass,
And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied;
But, what it needs the most is some people living inside.
If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
I’d put a gang of men to work and brush and saw and spade.
I’d buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be
And I’d find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.
Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door,
Looks idle, perhaps and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.
But there’s nothing mournful about it, it cannot be sad and lone
For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But, a house that has done what a house should do, A house that has sheltered life, That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a baby’s laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
Is the saddest sight, when it’s left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.
So, whenever I go along the Erie track,
I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,
Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart,
For I can’t help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.
About Joyce Kilmer
The author, Joyce Kilmer was born in 1886 in New Jersey, U.S.A. He died in 1918. Note I said he. Readers like me may be surprised that although the name Joyce may lead some to think that Joyce Kilmer was a woman, he was indeed a man.
It has been a joy sharing this with our Compass readers and finally, I have an idea. If somebody out there or some people out there especially in the Colliers area know the history of that old house, it would be wonderful if he/she or they could send in a “letter to the editor” of this fine community newspaper and take away the mystery or mysteries surrounding it.
I for one would really appreciate it. – Bill Westcott resides and writes
from Clarke’s Beach
10-11:30 AM –GARDEN TOUR AND TEAO’Neill’s Gardenland 1-3 PM – GRANDPARENTS DAYRecreation Centre 8 PM – REGULAR CARD GAME Goodwill Seniors Club
10:30 AM – ECUMENICAL Redeemer Church
6:30 PM – PARADE Line up by Seal & Save Insulation, Main Beach and follow the fire truck
7 PM OPENING CEREMONIES Recreation Centre. Campfire, Spider Weiners & Marshmallow Roast, Balloon Man, local entertainment, Lassy’s Birthday Bash. Come out and help Lassy celebrate. 2012-2013 Miss Teen Trinity Conception Jessie Fewer will be in attendance. (Free Will donation requested)
SUNDAY, JULY 28
MONDAY, JULY 29
8 PM – SPECIAL LASSY DAY BINGO RCL # 9. (Details to be announced prior bingo)
TUESDAY, JULY 30
WEDNESDAY, JULY 31
8 PM– GIANT CARD GAME Recreation Centre. Adm $5. Lunch provided. Limited number of tickets at Town Hall or Goodwill Seniors Club. Co-sponsored by Goodwill Seniors Club & Special Events Committee
THURSDAY, AUGUST 1
FRIDAY, AUGUST 2
SATURDAY, AUGUST 3
8-10 AM – TRUCKER’S BREAKFAST Recreation Centre. (Menu: Sausage/Ham/Bologna - wrecked eggs, hashbrowns, toasted loaf and Whistleberries, cup of java or tea. $5 each. Limited tickets available from Committee Members or at the Town Hall. Sponsored by Special Events Committee & Goodwill Seniors Club.
8 PM – JOURNEY THROUGH TIME AND SPACE HYPNOSIS SHOW with Hypnotist Gary Summers. Holy Redeemer School. Tickets $8 Advance $10 Door. Available at the Town Hall or North Atlantic, Spaniard’s Bay. All Ages welcome. Sponsord by the Special Events Committee
SUNDAY, AUGUST 4
1 PM – FAMILY DAY Ballfield. Raffles, Spins, Crown & Anchor, Fish Pond, Fire Truck Rides, Plinko, Baloon Darts, Jumping Castle, etc. Local Entertainment, All day Beer Tent.
Sponsored by various groups and organizations. Mixed Basketball Tournament Registration 11:30 AM. Mixed Horseshoe Tournament Registration 12 Noon.
7 PM – FREE MATINEE featuring Third Generation and Lloyd Snow. Sponsored by Municipality of Spaniard’s Bay
9:30 PM – FIREWORKS
MONDAY, AUGUST 5
2 PM – MINI GARDEN PARTY & AFTERNOON TEA Wesley Gosse Memorial United Church Heritage Building. Local Entertainment. Artifacts - come see how our forefathers lived. Sponsored by the Heritage Society
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 - TILTON
TILTON GARDEN PARTY & LIVE ENTERTAINMENT 12 NOON – Soup/Sandwiches $3; Hot Dog/Drink $2 1 PM– Games of Chance, Raffles, Fish Pond, Plinko, Dunk Tank, Face Painting, etc.
Sponsored by All Saints ACW (FMI call Mary Mesh 786-3354)
SUNDAY, AUGUST 11 - TILTON
12 NOON – BOBBER RACE Top of pond by Penney’s Garage. ($3 each or 2/$5)
Can you shed any light on the history of this old house in Colliers?