13 March 2012

A cousin's 1962 visit to The Maples

My cousin Jo Ann from Victoria BC has sent me some memories of a summer visit with my grandmother Jane Barter Allen some 50 years ago. Aged 17 at the time of her visit, Jo Ann's great-grandmother, Nina Orser, was a second cousin to Trecia Orser, Sam Barter's wife.

Jane playing the "grand" piano (left to her by a friend and later sold for $1000
to the Pentecostal church in Hartland) with her own Kleber upright behind her.
"We really enjoyed Jane when we spent the night at The Maples. I had never seen a lady her age [70 years old] with so much make-up on -- she really fascinated me!  She showed us all the things that my great-grandfather [Peter Appleby] had made... One particularly interesting piece was a beautifully carved arch which formed the entrance to the living room...

"The furniture in the study had belonged to a doctor [James Dixon of Portsmouth NH]... several of the pieces were manufactured in New England and the manufacturers wanted them for their museum.

"Even though it has been over 40 years, I still can picture Jane bringing us a 'little lunch' out in the summer kitchen. It was more like a feast... home-made bread, thick slices of ham and cheese, huge squares of cake and many cups of tea.

Most of the furniture being admired in the den by
Neta Appleby Jackson) is still in the house.
Today, the room is a bedroom --and much less cluttered.
"A tour of the house showed it to be three stories and eleven rooms: two kitchens; a dining room containing a round lazy-Susan table of light oak, a horsehair settee, numerous antique cabinets and cupboards, a set of six matching oak chairs; a living room containing two pianos -- one upright and one grand -- several overstuffed chairs and walls hung with many pictures and mementos; a library [or den] containing the more expensive pieces of furniture, the doctor's medical books, more pictures and mementos; four bedrooms. Our bedroom contained a large 100-year old spool bed, one tiny spool crib-sized bed, various small Persian rugs, a rocking chair, bureau and table.

"The [hanging oil] lamps were all adorned with prisms and beautiful shades. We noted pictures of the family, birth certificates, family name rolls on the walls and furniture made by great-grandpa Peter [notably the dining table mentioned above]. Jane invited my cousin to play one of the pianos and Devina was thrilled to play a grand piano!"

This shot looks to the northeast corner of the living room and everything you see except the piano is still in the house.
Sometime afterwards, Jane added a rather large bay window that took up most of the north wall.