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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: fathers (06/06/05)

TITLE: In My Father's House
By Jan Ackerson
06/06/05


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In a small coal-mining town in Pennsylvania, at the bottom of a slag hill, sat my fatherís house. At the turn of the 20th century, his parents walked through its door, young immigrants from Germany with a whimpering infant in arms and another on the way. Barely twenty years old, they were weary already with work and care. The coal mines and the kitchen would claim their every waking hour for the next three decades.

As the years passed, the house filled up with the chaotic sounds of children. Within its three bedrooms, twelve children marked off small territories they could claim as their own. Twelve voices laughed and cried, squabbled and teased. Twelve pairs of feet wore smooth paths in the wooden floors; twelve times each morning the screen door slammed as the children scampered off to school.

There was a constant battle in the house between coal dust and cleanliness. Black dust entered through the back door every evening and settled on the walls, the floor, the furniture. It was immediately scoured and scrubbed away, only to return the next day.

My fatherís house still stands in that valley, its siding permanently faded to gray, its shutters hanging askew, missing shingles revealing bare sections of roof. It is occupied now only by echoes of memories.

On a street paved with gold in the heavenly city sits my Fatherís house. Throughout the centuries, millions have walked through its shining gates, world-weary no longer. The sounds heard within are their voices, raised eternally in worship. No unclean thing will ever touch its walls, nor will it ever deteriorate or fade.


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This article has been read 1225 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Verlennich06/13/05
I liked your story, and then loved how you tied it into our Heaven Father's House! Thank you!
Carol Shaffron06/14/05
Marvelous story telling. You bring the children to life and one can see the struggle between the coal dust and the cleaning person. I too grew up in a small coal mining town in PA but way after the mines were emptied and closed. However, on one of the street where houses were built over the mines, some of the houses caved in---no one was home at the time, thank God. Keep writing and develop your talent...
pam bryan06/14/05
I loved the picture your piece painted in my mind. I found myself wanting more. thanks.
Shari Armstrong 06/14/05
Very nicely written -I can see clearly.
Joyce Simoneaux06/14/05
Instead of bringing your memories to us, you brought us to your memories. The description of your fathers' houses both here on earth and in heaven were very special.
Anthony Tophoney06/16/05
I too grew up in a small mining town in PA. Small world. My dad was miner so I can really associate with this piece on many levels. Thanks for the memories!
Gabrielle Morgan06/16/05
Lovely story, I could well imagine the twelve children and the worn floors. A perfect quotation to end the piece.
Michelle Burkhardt06/19/05
Nice story. I love to hear the history of people who lived long ago. 12 kids and only 3 bedrooms..Thanks for sharing
Jacquelyn Horne02/24/08
Beautiful comparison.