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More than a barn, a precious memory

For many families in this area history is buried in fields and farms and built into barns. There’s memories of grandma’s kitchen, the old home-place and grandpa by his tractor. Local resident, Joann Muller shared her story of her family barn and the meaningful coincidences that occur.

Joann’s parents, Joe and Ileen Meyer purchased 80 acres outside of Tea in 1946. On that property was a barn, as well as many other buildings. Joann said a new, bigger barn was built soon after they moved there with Joe and Mel Schoen helping Dick Schriever, the carpenter.

The new barn was used for milking cows and housing horses. Later, stock cows, pigs and chickens would enjoy the comfort of the barn. Hay and straw were stored safely in the hay loft. Joann and her siblings, Lynda and Dennis, have many precious memories of the farm. She said, “cats, and kittens and kids had many days of fun in the hay; many days of hard work for their parents.”

Joann moved off the home place but stayed in the area. Years later, when Elmer Bultena was in the hardware business in Lennox, Joann went into his store to make a purchase. She said she noticed several barn paintings that Elmer had done.

“To my surprise there was a picture of my dad’s barn and his name written on the print,” Joann said.

She immediately asked if it was for sale. She remembers, he said, “sure, you can buy it.”

When she asked how much, he told her to give him $5.00.

“Wow,” Joann said she was thrilled to say the least.

Joann and her sister and brother had the painting framed and surprised their mom and dad for Christmas that year. They treasured the “barn” picture and it hung on a wall in their home until their death. Now it hangs in the hallway of Verlyn and Joann Muller’s home as a wonderful memory of a beautiful past.

Joann’s mom Ileen died suddenly in 1989 at the age of 67. She remembers that her dad spent many hours a day after that looking out his kitchen window at his barn. He continued to use the barn for calving and farrowing, but it was never the same without his wife by his side. They had always been a team.

Joann’s dad, Joe died at the age of 92 in 2005. In 2010 Verlyn and Joann purchased the farm.

In 2016 Joann said, “we could see the barn was in need of restoration. So the project began.”

Bright red and white metal were chosen and with the help of two friends Verlyn continued his mission. After many days the project was complete, and a complete success.

To Joann’s surprise Verlyn said, “I did something just for you today, the last step of the finished project.”

Joann remembers that day, “As we neared the barn I could see the initials JM on the big white door. They were put on there with complete love in memory of dad, Joe Meyer, and in honor of me, Joann Muller.”

She says she cried tears of joy at the sight of it.

“It’s not often that you can put two generations of the same initials on a barn door and doing it with so much love and respect. I can just imagine dad smiling and looking down from heaven and saying, ‘that barn sure does look nice!’ Precious memories, oh how they linger.”

Now as future generations cross the old home-place to do some hunting at the stock dam, they will know it’s much more than “Grandpa Joe’s barn”… it’s a precious memory.

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