Independence Day and Magic…

My cousins reached out to inform my brother and me that they would be spending the 4th of July holiday in Prescott, AZ with their kids and my Aunt and Uncle. They were hoping we could both get our families mobilized to get out there for a visit. Prescott is a very busy place for this holiday and rodeo weekend and we didn’t have much notice, but we got to it and just barely managed to find lodging for the 9 of us.

My brother and I have always had a really special relationship with our cousins, Shannon and Shawn. We lived down the street from them in Phoenix for a while when we were kids and we enjoyed our time together so much. As adults, we still maintain our grown up version of our “kiddie” table during big family holiday meals. It consists of “The Cousins” and our spouses, or significant others and it gets a little rowdy when the wine starts to flow. We all live in different states now and jump at any chance we have to get all of us, and all of our children together. We want our kids to be able to have great memories with each other like the ones we cherish together.

Prescott has always meant so much to us as a family because we spent quite a bit of time here visiting my grandparents. The house they lived in belonged to my Uncle (Shannon and Shawn’s Dad), and was where he grew up. The house was originally built for the Territorial Governor sometime between 1895 and 1905, my Uncle’s parents bought it in 1944 when he turned one. After his parents passed away, my grandparents moved in. The house sat on an acre of land, a corner of which had a creek cutting through it. Summers were perfect here, exploring the creek, building forts in the back barn, playing board games with my cousins on the front porch, and sometimes just doing nothing but listening to the hum of the cicadas. (Part of house info paraphrased from description written by Shawn)…

My grandmother continued to live in the house after my grandfather passed away, but in 2002 it was just too much for her to be there on her own. So, she moved out and my uncle sold the house. It was devastating for my uncle and his family to give up the house and was heartbreaking for us too. He had a lifetime of memories there and it’s where we had some of our best memories from early childhood. My Uncle had heard the house was deemed a historic place and was actually moved to another location.

My cousin Shannon made it her mission to find out where the house was moved so we could pay it a visit on this 4th of July holiday. For weeks she researched and contacted multiple people in the local government to find records of where it went. But she had absolutely no luck. At this point, it was assumed that the house was probably in too bad of shape to have ever been moved and was likely bulldozed. My Aunt and Uncle arrived a few days ahead of all of us, and one afternoon, drove over to see the house I was renting with my brother and his family. As they were leaving our rental, my Uncle saw a little house for sale and told my Aunt to pull over. They have discussed maybe moving back to Prescott to retire, so looking at a house that was for sale was not unusual. My Aunt said it looked nice and my Uncle said, “No, look at it again…”

It was THE house! It had not been bulldozed and had actually been moved. And even though Shannon tried her best to track it down, it all came down to my Aunt and Uncle driving down a random street and my Uncle just casually glancing at a house they were going past to find it. They pulled into the driveway and my Uncle got out and met a woman living there. She confirmed that she had heard it was moved there from Valley Street, around the time the house was sold. The house, now and then, then and now…

Some of the brick columns have been replaced and the concrete floor of the porch has been replaced with a wooden deck that now wraps around one side. But otherwise the house inside is laid out the same. And it still has the old glass cupboard doors in the kitchen and the clawfoot tub in the master bath. We, as a family, invaded this house for a few precious moments to take pictures together on the porch, just like old times. We were so happy to see the house was still in one piece, and enjoyed that there was a bit of magic at play in the way in which my Uncle spotted it!

We only had a few days together in Prescott, but so many great things happened. We spent precious time together catching up, in a place that holds very dear memories and history for us. Our kids spent time making their own fond memories with each other. We found the house and had a few moments to enjoy it. My sons had their first fishing experience with my brother, which so special. My brother was always such a fisherman when we were kids, and I loved watching him walk them through everything. It was an unforgettable and wonderful holiday with my family.

Thank you for reading! Now that I’ve walked through the events with loved ones that have brought my motivation back to my “Dates” and blog journey, the next post will be the already completed Date #17!

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