August 28, 2012

Going Backwards

Leigh posted on her blog this morning about "The Problem With Wealth", and it got me thinking about my own situation. In her post, she mentions how people can't understand why she and her husband want to go "backwards". The photo above is of my parent's second hand mobile home that they put on the property they bought in NH, circa 1972.  Notice the cinder blocks on the left?  Those were our future steps, so this was fairly soon after we moved there, as they hadn't been set up yet. 

For about two years, we lived without electricity or running water to this home.  None of our family "back home" in CT could understand why my parents would do this.  They had a perfectly beautiful 3 bedroom home, with fenced in yard and a pool in the backyard.  They both had decent jobs, and were doing ok.  So why would they choose to go backwards?

As my father put it.....early on, when he and my mother were talking marriage, he asked her if she would be willing to move to NH to farm.  He couldn't explain it, but it was something he wanted to do since he was a child and used to go there to visit family.  She agreed.  Little did she know what she was getting into lol.  They did, in short order, get running water and electricity to this little two bedroom mobile that held six people.  Then my grandfather passed away.

This little summer camp home sat just in front of our mobile.  My grandparents bought it when my parents bought their 15 acres.  My grandmother didn't want it anymore now that my grandfather was gone.  She sold it to my parents, and it became our new home.  We went backwards, to having no running water, and no bathroom at all.  My father ran a pipe (with help from many friends and family), to a handbuilt kitchen sink area, and installed a hand pump.  Yep, a red one, just like you have seen in old photos.  Our bathroom was an outhouse on the back side of the chicken shed for awhile.  Then we upgraded to a porta potty in one corner of a bedroom, with a shower curtain around it for privacy.  All this time, they were also establishing their gardens, raising animals...all to feed us kids.

Fast forward 30 years, and the home is larger than this, thanks to a wonderful addition my father built.  They have all the modern conveniences...electricity, washer/dryer, satellite tv, internet, etc.  And they are in the same shoes as their family once was...

Wondering why I want to go "backwards".  Why do I want to move several states away?  Why do I want to go back to the hard work of raising all my own food, when they worked so hard so I didn't have to (we all had our share of work though, even us kids).  Even my aunt looks at my like I am nuts sometimes, when I tell her that I am ok with it, if I have to find a place that needs work, or maybe has no electricity.

The thing's in my blood.  Or my genes.  I can't explain it really.  It's something that is deep down in my soul.  There is the practical:  I want to get off assistance, and know I can take care of myself and my kids without any outside help.  I want to know that if for whatever reason, electricity and other modern conveniences aren't available, I will survive just fine.

But, deep down, I know it's just in me, my make up.  And I'm ok with the weird looks and comments from family and friends.  It's about what makes me happy, not what others think is best for me.  And at 46, I have finally figured that out.


  1. Clapclapclapclapclap! That's the sound of me giving you a standing ovation. You go, Girl!

    1. Thank you Mama Pea! I can always count on you to be my cheerleader! :)

  2. This made my eyes watery. :) Some people just won't get it, will they? I think for folks like you and I, it IS in our blood. I think that people don't realize that by "going backwards". it is what propels us forward. Going backwards is what keeps us going. :)

  3. you will do just fine,its not abnormal,there are a lot of people who want to go backwards but don't have the means and ways-just go for it-look how good Jane at "Hark Work Homestead " does she learned from scratch and only goes to the store ( mill or what ever you call it) 1or 2x a year

  4. Stephanie, what a great post. What a great childhood you had. I know some folks would think it negligent to raise children that way, but look at what a strong, resourceful person you have become. I agree that some of us just have a bend toward this way of life. It's almost as though we're "programmed" this way.