Morrison Granddaughters Visit The Oldest House
Two granddaughters of Gordon and Kathryn Morrison visited The Oldest House during the historic home’s “In the Mood with The Morrisons” weekend honoring the Morrison family, July 15, 16 and 17. Bonnie Grose Smollinger of Williamsport and Katie Grose of Sayre were both delighted to see their old home.
The Grose family lived in The Oldest House from the mid 60’s to the early 70’s; Patricia Morrison Grose was the younger daughter of Gordon and Kathryn Morrison. The visit was full of reminiscences, from recalling that the front parlor was used as a kitchen, to pointing out the spot in the backyard where their beagle “Dynamite” used to have a doghouse.
Bonnie remembered one of her older brothers going off to fight in Vietnam and saying goodbye on the house’s front steps. Both girls remembered how, on cold winter nights, they’d be tucked up in bed in one of the house’s three main bedrooms, drinking cocoa their mother, Patricia, had made for them. They said their dad, Rexford Grose, would sometimes pop his head through the hole in the wall where the coalstove pipe had been and say “boo” to scare them.
“I remember the boys playing on that side hill,” Bonnie pointed out, referring to the steep bank on the east side of the property. “They’d rough and tumble for hours.”
The weekend featured displays of art, music and clothing popular in the 40’s and 50’s, the time the Morrisons and their descendants owned and lived in the house. One such display was of several “paint by number” pieces, and Katie recalled that her mother, Patricia, used to do paint by number all the time. “It was a great pastime,” she said.
Katie and Bonnie, who visited with Bonnie’s husband, Wes, also delighted in seeing their grandmother Kathryn’s artwork: Kathryn painted a mural on the ground floor “keeping room” wall and also painted a large cupboard in the upstairs hallway. The style of the latter work was American folk art, and the fact that the weekend featured a display of that same type of artwork by local artist D.G. Holgate was another welcome resonance.
The artistic streak was passed down to Patricia, whom the girls said had painted a second mural on the ground floor wall. And Bonnie and Katie identified the people in the photograph of the Morrisons owned by The Oldest House. “That’s Aunt BJ and Uncle Bud,” they said. (Gordon and Kathryn Morrisons’ two older children, Elizabeth Jane and Frank). Elizabeth Jane married Ben Young and in 1964 took ownership of the house. The youngest child, Patricia, married Rexford Grose and raised seven children in the house following the Youngs’ tenure.
Although the weekend contained many wonderful moments from Friday evening’s live jazz band to a Sunday morning stopover by a classic car club, the visit by the Morrison granddaughters was a nostalgic and heartwarming highlight.