Friday, August 28, 2015
Going Back Home
Well, for one thing, it wasn't my home. But we did go there.
It is a splendid little home on a corner lot. Back in the early 1900s, when my great-grandparents Rupert Charles and Sarah Broyles McClellan bought the place, it was framed by a spacious lot and—I assume—young palm trees and an oak tree outside the kitchen porch in the back yard. Two cannon-ball-topped pillars stood guard at the walkway leading from Oak Street to the well-appointed porch and front door.
Today, the corner lot stands across the street—in both directions—from the town's elementary school. Even Google maps didn't quite pick up on the hint that the street was gated off for the protection of the children on the sprawling campus, so we got the grand tour of the neighborhood, just trying to drive to the right address.
Through the rain—hey, this is Florida at the start of hurricane season—my intrepid companion didn't miss the opportunity to snap some photos of what was once the place where my maternal grandmother spent her teen years, graduating from the Fort Meade high school in 1919.
It might have made for a nostalgic trip. Sarah McClellan did actually make that journey, returning in 1949 to her old home in Fort Meade in the later years of her life.
Unlike my great-grandmother, however, I wasn't the one who once lived here. Hey, I've never even set foot in this state until this week, despite my claim to historic roots in this territory. But perhaps I can say I partook of the nostalgia on behalf of those relatives now long-gone.
Not only are these ancestors no longer with us, but the people who purchased the house from R. C. McClellan are no longer here, either. To those living in Fort Meade today—the ones who still remember those earlier days of the previous century—that home is known as the Heath house.
But even the Heath family no longer owns the property. Nor does the next family. The procession of homeowners continues, as even the ones who purchased the house a few years ago and wonderfully restored it to its previous condition have now sold the home and moved on.
Photos of the former R. C. McClellan property in Fort Meade, Florida, courtesy of Chris Stevens.