Mixsonian

Grandma Mixson's Old House

Old house House in 1951
Note that it did not have the front porch at this time

I have many fond memories of Grandma Mixson's old house. I suppose I should really call it Grandpa and Grandma Mixson's house but I have more memories of my grandmother than my grandfather. It was a simple old house in the old Florida country style. A simple wood frame, raised up off the ground several feet, a porch across the front and the back. A steep tin roof and stone chimney on one side. In the early  years it didn't have an indoor bathroom. There was an outhouse in the far back corner of the yard, which, really, I remember there was the Sears and Roebuck catalog for toilette paper. Oh and I do remember the smell and the wasps the buzzed around in the outhouse. I always remember that the house having indoor water, at least in the kitchen, supplied by an old pump that pumped water up to barrel on a tower that then supplied the house. I remember in the early days there was always a rain barrel that caught the rain water from off the roof and there was a ladle that hug over it to take a drink from. The house had a large kitchen with and, in the early days, a wood stove.

The Old Mixson House in 2004 The Old Mixson House in 2004 with the front porch having been enclosed and another room added in front of the chimney.

I have vague memories about my Dad buying my Grandma her first gas stove. Off the kitchen was a small bedroom but I always remember it being used for storage for all the boys were grown up. There was the living room that had the fireplace on one end with a window on each side. I remember a hole in the living room floor where a knot in the wood had fallen out that you could look through to under the house. On the front of the house off the living room was another small bedroom where my brother and I would sleep when we stayed the night. Also off the living room was a larger bedroom which was my Grandma's bed room. Across the front of the house was a porch that in later years was screened in. On one end was a bench swing that, years later I learned, my father had made. I remember many a night sitting in the swing as dusk fell. <see story about dusk>.

Across the back of the house was another porch. I remember my Grandpa digging the septic tank for the "indoor" bathroom which was built on one end of the rear porch. To go to the bathroom you had to go out the back door, onto the back porch and then into the bathroom door. On the side of the house that my Grandma's bed room was on was a big old fig tree that every year had lots of figs on it. <see Grandma's story about fig tree> One really fond memory of the house was the sound of rain on the tin roof. There was something soothing, magical about the sound of a summer rain on the tin roof. In the front yard was a big old Formosa tree which we kids (my sister and bother and I) would climb. On one side of the front lawn was a flower garden which had four-o-clocks which in the summer we would take a grass stem and string the flowers on. <see story>

The Old Mixson House The Old Mixson House in 2008

There  was no other heat in the house except for the stove in the kitchen. When we would wake up in the morning I remember either my Grandpa or later my Father would go to the fireplace first thing and get the fire going. There would always be some coals left from the night before and they would put a some kindling on and blow on it and get the fire going. We would be really cold and would stand front side then back side to the fire to get warm. As I mentioned before, the house was raised up from the ground on stone pillars. This was a standard thing in the old days for it allowed air to circulate under the house in the summer to help keep it cool. This also allowed for something I will never forget is that they stored the summer potato crop under the house burying the potatoes in the sand. When my Grandma wanted potatoes for dinner she would tell my brother and I to go get some and we would crawl under the house and dig some out. Most of the time this was fun but every once in a while, while we were digging, we would hit a rotten potato and, yuck, we would get a gushy stinky mess on our hand. It was a simple old house but it was warm, not only from the heat of the fireplace but from the closeness of my family and the times we spent there together.

There was a time that my Grandpa raised worms for fishing and in on side of the back yard was waist high troughs that he raised the worms in. On the side of the house with the chimney was a big old, I think, Oak tree and an orange tree. I remember my dad would pick oranges, cut a hole in one end and give it to us kids to suck the juice from <see story about oranges in mom' diary>. I always liked the fireplace. I remember on cold winter nights we would all gather around the fireplace.

In April of 2021 I was driving out in the Micanopy area and I drove by the old house and found the gate was open and what looked like some work being done behind the house.  I stopped, got out of my truck, and was walking toward the gate when another truck came up with three men.  One man got out and came up to me and I explained that the house was my grandfather's house and was where my father was born and I asked what they were doing.  He explained that someone bought the property and they were tearing the house down and said I could come in the gate and look around before they continued.     I looked around a bit and saw a few old boards from the house sitting aside and I asked the man about them.   He said he was surprised to find that several of the larger floor beams looked to be hand hewed, but the house didn’t look that old.  A light went off in my head and I told him how my grandfather and his brother got the boards from an old barn down the road and hauled it to the house site in a wagon to build the house in 1921.  The barn being much older was built from hand hewed timber.  I asked the man if I could have a couple and he said yes and he helped me put them in the back of my truck which I hope to make something out of one day.  

I as I drove home many memories of the old house flashed in my mind, memories of rain on the tin roof, grandma cooking dinner, warming in front of the fireplace on a cold winter night, fishing with grandma on Plantation Lake, catching fireflies and putting them in a bottle when we went to bed, sitting on the front porch at dusk hearing the whippoorwills and so on, wonderful memories, fond memories.   

Dad passed away six months before they tore the house down and I miss him greatly, but I am glad he didn’t have to see the house torn down for I think he would have cried as I am now as I write this.    

The house half way torn down.  Click on photo to see short video.

Last of the old house

Larry Mixson   

See Also Dusk at Grandpa and Grandma's house