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A story of how world events helped shape and affect the generations of the Willard family for one hundred seventy years.
John Willard built a house for himself and his wife, Mary in 1840. The house became a home for their four children and their children's future generations. They survived through the Civil War, polio, the Great Depression, Prohibition, World War II, and even the Woodstock festival. The apple tree that Thomas Willard planted in the back yard proved to be as strong and resilient as the people inside the house.
The turn of the century arrived with fireworks and prayer services. Outside, it was spitting snow. David, home for the winter break, knew just how he wanted to celebrate. A few minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, two of his classmates from Yale gathered with him outside the house and helped him tie Roman candles to the old privy that was no longer in use. When all was ready, at nearly midnight, he went inside and called his parents, Ruth, and Henry to come watch. With everyone assembled in the backyard in their nightclothes, David lit the Roman candles and quickly ran back to safety. First came a good amount of crackling, popping, and sizzling and then the candles burst into flames and lit up the sky, setting the privy on fire. The group watched in amazement as the privy burned to the ground amidst fireworks to rival any public display. David howled with laughter. “Did you see that? Yahoo! Helloo 1900!”
Benjamin put his arm around Esther and gave her a tender squeeze. “Well, old girl, looks like it’s a new era."
Ruth put her hand to her stomach and felt the new life growing inside.