Mixsonian Larry


Old Mixson House

The Old Mixson House
The Old Mixson house as it looked when I lived there in 1975.

The second week of June I finished the spring quarter making a C in the Microprocessor course and decided for the first time to take a course over the summer registering for the Electrical Engineering course EE-322, Electronics 2.

In May I learned from Uncle Jimmy that the old Mixson house would be available to rent and I told him I was interested in it.  The old Mixson house was originally the home of my great-grandfather, James Darlington Mixson, it was the house he bought up his twelve children in of which Dad’s father, my grandfather, Wilbur Mixson and Jimmy’s father, Maxey Mixson were born in.  After James Darlington Mixson died, Maxey, being the youngest of the twelve children, inherited the house and farmstead.   Maxey had died the previous year, and his wife, Jimmy’s mother, Iva Mae had moved to a home in Williston and had been renting out the old house. With the current tenants moving out, I talked to Aunt Iva Mae and agreed to rent the old place.   And so, the first of June I move out to the old farmstead.  It took a few trips in my van to make the move.

Gas heater Gas Heater

The house had changed over the years, hardly looking like the house in 1920 as described by Grandma Mixson when she and Wilbur lived there when they first got married.  The house was now one story, the second story long gone. The once open front porch was now enclosed with Jalousie windows all the way around. The layout of the first floor remained the same, as you entered the house what was great-grandfather’s bedroom was now my bedroom. The fireplace was still there but a small gas stove, the  had been installed. [photo] On the left after entering the house was the parlor where my grandparents, Rosalie and Wilbur first met in 1919.  The smaller bedroom in the back on the right became my study and across from it, what was a bedroom was now the kitchen.  Out the back door there was still a small porch, but the old dining room and kitchen had been replaced with a bathroom. The house didn’t have a stove or refrigerator, so I brought the refrigerator that I had bought for my old place and the following week I bought a new four burner gas stove at Sears.

Living in the old homestead was special, surrounded by serene fields with horses and cows, the nearest neighbor a half mile down the road, other than an occasional mooing of a cow or far off bark of a dog. Tt was so quiet that I could hear cars coming a couple miles away on the paved road and I would pause, listen to see if they would turn down the dirt road leading to the house, and if they did, would go out on the front steps to see who it might be as they drove by.  Sometimes I might know them, other times not, but whoever it would be, as country folk do, they would give a friendly wave as they drove by.

The house faced west so I would often sit on the front steps at sunset and watch the sun go down silhouetting the cows in the pasture across the street and I would remember the old times at my Grandma and Grandpa Mixson’s that was just a mile down the road.   I wrote of the experience in one of my stories….

The Call of the Whippoorwill

After dinner, as dusk was falling, we would all go sit on the front porch.   My brother and sister and I would most often sit in the porch swing with mom or grandma, while grandpa and dad would sit in rocking chairs. That far out in the country you would experience a silence like no other.  You would hear the sound of the rocking chairs going slowly back and forth with an occasional squeak of the floor, and then the night sounds slowly emerging.  The sounds of the crickets starting up, a dog barking in the distance, and on those special summer nights, the sound of the whippoorwill.  It would start with a single “whip-poor-will” and then pause and you wonder did you really hear that?    Then again, “whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will” and I would ask, “What was that?”, and grandma would answer it is a whippoorwill.  And I would ask… “What is a whippoorwill?”  and grandma would give a simple answer “a bird”.   I would wonder what kind of bird is that with such a strange haunting sound, a bird you heard, but never see? 

(Read full story here)

As dusk fell and the shadows grew long, I would sometimes imagine seeing my grandfather as a boy with his siblings playing in the yard, or dad as a boy walking over to see Jimmy who lived in the house at the time.  On some days I would go for walks down the road or across a field imagining myself to be walking in the footsteps of my Dad when he was a boy.  I found great peace while living there, a piece deeply rooted in the past.

Updated: 01-15-2023/p>