When I think about my childhood home, there is not a specific building that comes to mind but there is a village that is a very big part of my memories. Wellsville, Ohio is approximately 50 miles west of Pittsburgh, PA. The village is on the Ohio River. The location is due in part to the railroad. When trains where still pulled by steam locomotives, they needed a refill of water every 50 miles. My grandfather Joseph Henry Rawlings had moved from the southwestern corner of Ohio to Wellsville to work on the railroad. He became an engineer on the steam locomotives. Having a fairly well paid profession my grandfather was able to buy a house for the family in 1912. That house was my grandmother’s home until she went to assisted living in 1983.
Wellsville, Ohio still feels like home, even though I moved away when I was 13. During the last couple of years a group was formed on Facebook for residents of Wellsville and former residents to “get together” and remember our childhoods. Since the group was formed I have learned more about the history of the village than I learned when I lived in Wellsville.
The first residence I remember was a 3rd floor apartment. My parents would put my playpen on the roof outside the kitchen so that my mother could watch me through the window. They would put the family parakeets outside with me in their cage. When I was 4 we moved into a house next door to my grandmother’s house. I never realized then that we were living next door to my father’s boyhood home. Eventually my parents bought a house. It had been converted to a duplex, so the first thing we needed to do was to convert it back into a single family house. We lived there for 5 years. When my father passed away, my mother sold the house and we moved away from Wellsville.
Even though I have not lived in Wellsville since 1968, it will always be home to me.
|Grandma Mary with me behind her house|
|Marta on the roof with the parakeets|
|Sisters Barb & Zoe next door to Grandma Mary's house|
|Christmas in the only house my parents bought|
|Zoe & Marta playing in the snow|