Sally’s Red Fence

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Sally had a really red fence.

As a part of the museum display, I am collecting and putting up many styles of “old time” fences. These will include snake rail, picket fence, stacked stone, post and rail and post and board fences. Good fences played an important part in the proper running of a farm (and a poor fence just made for trouble). They kept animals in, other not so good animals out and, of course, “good fences make for good neighbors”.

When I was very young there was still the remains of a hundred year old snake rail fence on our farm. All that remains now are the placement stones. And occasionally I will find bits and pieces of barbed wire and stone fences once used on the long “disappeared” farms in the woods of the National Park. I recently responded to a Craigslist ad for a free post and rail fence. I was hoping to add it to the collection.

A young man and his mother had left Florida to come to Ohio. They had just moved into their new home and decided that the fence surrounding their property was just too much to mow around. They received many, many requests for the fence, but decided to give it to the museum. I drove the half hour to the community of Seven Hills and turned onto Ridgewood Rd. I couldn’t believe it, there was the reddest fence I had ever seen. It was quite the landmark.

As I worked to take the post and rails down, neighbor after neighbor stopped by to talk about Sally. They all remembered her fondly. She had lived there “forever” and every summer she would sit on a chair and paint her red fence. A UPS driver always used it to find his way, the local Postman slowed down and stopped to watch the fence being removed. A woman walking her dog stopped to say that her son would miss the fence so much because he liked to count the posts as they walked by. Quite a few people slowed to say that they wouldn’t know where to turn now that the red fence was gone. It all rather surprised me, just how much a neighbor and her fence meant to a whole neighborhood.

Sally and her fence will be missed on Ridgewood Road. She had far more effect on her neighborhood than I suspect she ever dreamed. Every person I met talked so fondly of her, and they all smiled when remembering her.

….And now, Sally’s red fence will also be remembered at the museum.

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