“Welcome to Wilsonville, pop. 11″… That’s what the sign read in the front yard of the house my mother grew up in. The original house was built in the early 1920’s by the Nanny Family but was too small (it is now used as a shed) and so Mr. Nanny built the current home for his family in the “National Style”. This house contained 2 full bathrooms, and 2 bedrooms. Mr. Nanny did another major remodel in 1948 and added on an upstairs attic area, another bathroom and a front living area. Mr. Nanny soon died and my grandparents bought the house in 1965.
Immediately after they bought it, my grandparents began a long series of remodels that stretched the nearly forty year span they lived there. The remodeling began with a complete make-over of the entire inner dwellings of the house including multiple removals of walls around the kitchen and living areas, opening up the stairwell, and refurbishing of hard wood floors. They also converted much of the attic into bedrooms going from two, before the remodel, to six for the nine children. In 1981 they converted the garage into a family room.
The next big project happened in 1986 when they took off the old roof and added a new shaker roof, the one that is still there today. Thirteen years later, my grandfather converted the huge patio into a sun room, making the total square footage four thousand four hundred. In 1999 the original asbestos siding and insulation was removed and new siding was put on, this became the last remodel and last major impact my family made on the house before my grand parents sold the house to its current owners in that same year.
The house sits on a very fertile plot of land in the farm lands surrounding Homedale, Idaho. The yard is very lush with trees, flowers, fruit trees and plants including a small orchard on the back side of the house containing apples, apricots, and peaches.
Throughout the lawn you will find many raspberry and strawberry bushes, the source of my grandmother’s famous home made jams and jellies. Surrounding the lawn on all sides is farm land, making the house a very private and peaceful place. In the back of the land is the original, two room house from the early 20s. It is now overgrown with the flowers and plants of the yard. Behind this is the pasture with a barn were my mother and her siblings kept there large array of childhood pets such as dogs, cats, chickens, sheep, goats, ponies, and pigs. The family would even throw some barn dances in the summer. My mother loved growing up in this house. It was a great home, and a wonderful place to be a kid.
My mother Lisa enjoyed the time she spent there as a child and has shared stories of her experiences growing up in Homedale and in that house. How her grandfather (Grandpa Schaffeld) came over to visit them and often to help in the remodeling process, how- as the 7th of nine children- she was often left to the tormenting hands of her older brothers and how they frequently locked her in the cellar where she had to fend off spiders. She was terribly afraid of spiders, and even though the house was notorious for some particularly unsettling ones in the cellar with spongy-looking backs, my mother managed to retain a fond care for the place she grew up in.
The house was also notorious for being haunted. Growing up the kids would experience some strange things happening although activity from the ghost didn’t pick up until around the time my mother was in junior high school. Still, there are stories about things like the table which stood on wheels creaking and sliding around for no reason or doors being shut and slammed throughout the house without provocation. One story I’ve heard occurred when the parents were out of the house and the kids had gathered in the living room to watch T.V. They sat down and got comfortable- after finding a channel that came in clear- and all were back on the couch when the knob on the set that adjusted the channel popped out, hovering straight out in front of the hole about three feet from the television, finally falling to the floor half way between the couch and the television which continued to work. The kids were all amazed, and a little perplexed, but not afraid. That type of thing just happened sometimes when Nanny was feeling anxious. The kids came to know the ghost as Nanny, the last name of the people who built the house and who they could only imagine would have any reason to remain there. The table moved quite often because, as my grandma guesses, it was in a different spot than when Nanny was alive and so he runs into it all the time. That and the T.V either turning on and off or changing volume for no reason were the most common distinctions of Nanny’s presence (apparently the knobs only went airborne once). Although it seemed Nanny had a fascination with the television because of how often he was messing around with it.
When he appeared it was often as a dark figure or shadow as described by my aunts and unless who saw him as well as my grandma (though she’d have you believe he had big red eyes and fangs and sometimes horns) and as soon as a person would look away or react to him he would disappear.
One such time when my mother was sleeping on the couch while baby sitting her nephew Nathaniel; Nanny appeared over the baby’s crib. Upon waking my college age mother looked over to see him standing there ruffling with the child’s blanket, Nathanial’s crying on being awoken having disrupted her. Her initial reaction was that it was her father but she realized quickly that the figure standing before her was not solid enough, even in darkness, to be a person. When she yelled out to it the ghost vanished, leaving Nathanial screaming and my mother shaken. “That was the worst of it,” she later told me, “when he was messing with baby Nathanial was the most frightened I had ever been of Nanny”. It wasn’t until years later when members of the Nanny family came by for a visit to see what had come of the house their grandfather had built did our suspicions of the circumstances surrounding Nanny become clear. When the Nanny family showed up on my grandmother’s doorstep she asked them if anyone had ever died in the house. They said yes, their grandfather, the one who had built the little house on the plot which we called the T-house because it had two rooms and built the house my grandparents lived in, which they renovated to fit nine kids in, had suffered a heart attack in the house and had died. He must have grown fond of my grandparents and didn’t wan them to leave because the lady who bought the house from them in 1999 called one day shortly after moving in asking if the house was haunted. She had returned from the grocery store to find two canaries she had in the attic were dead. One was lying on the floor of the cage with its neck broken, the other, a few feet away on the attic floor, apparently thrown there although the cage door was still clamped shut. I guess Nanny was angry my grandparents left his house. When they moved to a new, smaller house in Homedale, they took the “Welcome to Wilsonville, pop. 11” sign with them.