Tonight at 6:30 Emily and I will talk about our books in one of our favorite places–the hayloft of the big old barn at Bo-Mar Farm in Yorkville Township, Wisconsin. The History Seekers of the Union Grove Area have invited us to speak, and our sister Gretchen Hansen and her husband are hosting the event.
Six of us Demuths grew up on Bo-Mar Farm, known to our readers as the McEachron homestead, and we have vivid memories of working and playing in that barn. For many summers we sweated and scratched as we hauled and stacked bales of hay in that loft. In cooler weather we built castles–complete with dungeons–of straw bales. Our 4-H lambs were born in that barn, and Mr. Vyvyan came to shear every June. My horse and our two ponies grazed in the pasture for many years.
After we all moved out and Mom and Dad no longer kept livestock, Dad laid a new floor in the empty hayloft, hung basketball hoops and a swing, fenced off the open end, and built a staircase up to “Grampa’s Playpen.” Twenty Demuth grandchildren and plenty of adults have played in that hayloft in recent years, including musicians at a genuine barn dance.
One of the Demuth family treasures is a photograph of the barn-raising, a turn-of-the-century community event. I hope the men who built the barn and the women who fed them all had time and energy for dancing when the work was done.
Many different kinds of activities have taken place in that barn over the past hundred and fourteen years, but one of the most unique occurred just a few years ago. On a brisk autumn day our nephew Thomas Martin Hansen was baptized in that hayloft, which was hung with family quilts as a backdrop for a marble baptismal font and conveniently furnished with church pews.