All it took was one small rodent doing what they do. Something so insignificant, chewing on an electrical wire, caused a devastating fire and created a significant hole in a family’s history.
Built by Christian Trachsel, one of South Easthope’s (Perth County) Swiss Pioneers, the house stood on the property since 1876. Seven generations of Trachsels had occupied this property until it went up in flames on April 26, 2021. Only the maple tree, planted in front of the house by Washington Trachsel and his son Harvey (my grandfather and father), survived the heat, along with some hardy lilac trees.
Each generation of the family who called this house their home had their own memories. Mine are of having my tonsils removed by Dr. Taylor, on the kitchen table. One Christmas Eve, the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof turned out to be George Scheerer putting out the fire that engulfed my father. He’d lit a cigar while wearing a Santa suit that had been stored in mothballs. It took the bath water from the old boiler on the wood stove to extinguish the flames. My father’s hands looked like fried bacon, but no scars remained.
Though I did not like dolls, I had one favourite, Pasty. Somewhere in the back kitchen lay Pasty’s head, after my sister removed it and stuffed it down a hole.
– the wooden veranda because we read our comic books there as our sister crawled over our legs, earning her the nickname Army Worm;
– the runt of the litter keeping warm in the oven;
– receiving an ironing board, a plug-in-iron that really worked and a teddy bear for Christmas.
So many more memories. The teddy bear is threadbare, but I still have him.
We keep the memories in our hearts even though the house no longer is there.