Saturday, November 1, 2008

Some Rabbit Hop History

I originally posted this little bit of Rabbit Hop history on Moxie Blue about a year ago, and surprised some of the people that had known me for years. They thought RH was a figment of my imagination. Since some of you may not be familiar with me I thought I'd post it here also. Hope you enjoy!

Thought I'd share a little about Rabbit Hop this morning, as some of you may be wondering what it is or if it really exists. It does indeed exist, and has since way before I was born. I've lived all but two years of my whole life here, and many magical things have transpired here over the years. :)

I'm not sure why it's called Rabbit Hop, except for the sheer number of rabbits that used to abound here. Even when I was growing up if you turned in to the drive after dark and the headlights hit, rabbits popped up like popping corn from everywhere and ran. Very prolific they are. :)

Rabbit Hop is a small community of houses in a rural area about four miles from the nearest really small town (one business street and no traffic lights). My maternal grandpa's dad bought a small farm with a house sitting back off the main road and moved in when my grandpa was about three years old, which was about 1899. The community was pretty thick with families at the time. There was a one room schoolhouse, Rabbit Hop School, near the main road, which Papa and his siblings attended. I'm not sure what else was here in the early 1900's (I need to do some research).

By the time I was born, Papa had married and raised six children in two sets (three,wait a few years, then three more). He, my grandma and the youngest two children were living in a house on the riverbank in town, and they ran a shoe shop in town, where they repaired shoes for a living. My mom, next to the youngest, married my dad, next to the youngest of eleven, when she was sixteen.

They lived with my dad's widowed mom, but I was born in Papa's house on the riverbank when mom was seventeen. We lived on the outskirts of town until I was two years old, still on the banks of the river. Papa now owned the country farm, so he gave my parents enough land by the main road for a house. It was a little four-room house built by dad. The rooms were small, we had no running water, no bathroom, no telephone, and no electricity, and I got very sick with polio right after we moved in.

They later bought a garden spot, of about an acre beside the house lot, from him in the Rabbit Hop community, where mama raised a garden every year and canned and froze most of what we ate. I can remember waking up in the mornings and she would already be in the garden hoeing out weeds and tending the vegetables.

I was about sixteen years old when mama and daddy had a new living room and kitchen added on to the four rooms. We had had cold running water in the kitchen sink for a few years, which had to be heated on the wood cookstove, but now we had hot and cold running water in the kitchen, plus my bedroom was turned into a bathroom, and the old living room became my bedroom. The old kitchen became a guest bedroom and mama's sewing room. But I get ahead of myself.

Papa and Granny moved back to the house on the farm for a few years when I was small. It was just over a little hill from our house, a short walk. They ran their shoe shop from a small building by the road, which my dad had built for a work shop. Daddy had to add on to the little shop for a place to do his mechanic and wood work. I grew up very close to all my grandparents, and I have made countless trips over that little hill to that home place in my lifetime. I have always loved it out there. So quiet and peaceful. Still.

The community was thick with houses, families, and neighbors who were the same as family. I was an only child, but I always had other children to play with and grow up with. There was a country grocery store across the road from us. They also sold gas. There was another one within walking distance down the road. There was also a button factory just under the hill on the way to the river, which we can't see, but it's only about a fifteen minute walk. There has always been a boat landing there and at different times beer joints. The man who ran the grocery was also a commercial fisherman and owned the button factory. Oh yes, there was also a rock crusher on the bluff above the river.

I went to school in town with all the other kids here in the fifties and sixties. We rode the school bus together every day. A few families came and went, but most were still here in the seventies when I married and my husband and I bought an acre adjoining my parent's garden spot from Papa near the road, where we built the home we still live in.

Daddy had already bought several acres adjoining their house place and eventually Papa sold him the farm, so I am the fourth generation to live on it. The community is no longer a thriving one. The grocery across the road, the button factory, shoe shop, and beer joints have long been gone. A nice rock-sided home replaced the Rabbit Hop School many moons ago. Some of the homes burned and the families moved away. Many of the people have now died or moved on.

Daddy made a wooden sign with two large rabbits a few years ago that said Rabbit Hop-population eleven and a half. It's fewer than that now. All that's left are hubby and me, my widowed mom next door, and the elderly couple kind of across the road and down a little piece. The only other houses left are used as weekend/vacation houses by the children that I grew up with, or their children.

Papa's old home place over the hill is now falling down, though we're still using the old barn for the few cattle we keep.

I've often taken spells of wanting to live somewhere else, at least for a while. Everything is so far away from us. The nearest towns of any size are half hour away, and the nearest city with a mall or any shopping is at least one and a half hours away. It's frustrating sometimes to have to drive so far for everything, especially as I get older, but on the other hand, I'm deeply attached here and wouldn't know how to live anywhere else. It's where my roots are.

I've seen a lot of life, both good and bad, here. People came and went over the years, buildings changed and disappeared, just like everywhere else. Time doesn't stand still and everything changes constantly. But, as I said at the beginning, magical things happen here sometimes if you're paying attention. I have lots of happy memories associated with this little place out in the sticks called Rabbit Hop Community, and I'm beginning to dread the time when I have to leave it behind.

One day I will tell you about the people and some of the magic of the Rabbit Hop I grew up in. :)


Anonymous said...

I loved your story on Rabbit Hop. I had wondered the name of your! You write beautifully...ever thought of writing a book about Rabbit Hop? I'd be the first to purchase a copy..if I had the chance. Please write lots more. Em

Crafty Green Poet said...

I enjoyed reading this story, Rabbit Hop seems like a good name for this community. Sad that it's declined so much though,