|Stairway to the upper floor|
Remember Onkel Willem and his simple barnhouse? We explored the ground floor of his dwelling in my last post. You probably guessed that there was more to come because his house had two stories. So it is time to climb the stairs to see what is in the rooms situated above the Stube and the tiny dark kitchen.
|Bedroom in one of the houses at the Roscheider Hof Open-Air Museum|
Next, up a flight of very narrow stairs, came the third floor "real" attic where the corn, wheat and oats were stored. There were small white ovals here and there amid the hills of golden colored grains. Those were the eggs that Onkel Willem's wife, Mimi Sus, had stored there to preserve them for the winter months. (Winter was the time the hens lacked food and stopped producing eggs). Sacks with dried peas, linseed and clover seed for planting in the spring stood nearby. There was a ceiling beam in the upper attic where the women hung small bags with garden seeds.
An even longer beam was hung with work shirts, bed linen, dish and hand towels that were washed each week but which were not needed before the next "big wash" in either spring or fall. During the big wash, these pieces, along with other anything else that was dirty, were soaked in lye made from ashes - then bleached white in the sun and given a fresh, pleasant-smelling scent before they were stored in cabinets and on shelves for future use.
Now we have a word picture of the house of Onkel Willem, one which bears a strong resemblance to many of the houses of his neighbors - and to the Irsch house of my great-great grandparents.
Source: Croon, Maria. Die Dorfstrasse, Eine Bunte Heimatchronik