This is a special memory from my own childhood.
My sister and I loved the basement! It was one of our favorite indoor places to play. Now this was not one of those fancy finished basements. It was the old-fashioned kind with stonewalls and mostly a dirt floor. The old coal furnace was still down there. Dad must have replaced it when I was three or four but the old furnace was still there and it scared us. We were sure it could spit fire at us or something worse. It had a very evil face! We would run past it to get to the fun parts of the basement.
The basement had a coal cellar attached to it, too. I have one faint memory of going with Daddy in his old pickup truck to get a load of coal at the lumberyard. The cellar was on the side of the house sticking up just a few feet off the ground. It had doors on the slanted roof of it that Daddy would open to dump the coal in. When we got the new furnace it was converted into a gigantic root cellar. Our mom used it store potatoes and squash and while it was supposed to be clean, we found lots of coal dust to get into anyway!
But the best part of the basement was at the far end where there was even a concrete floor. This was where we would always go to huddle during tornado warnings, a common occurrence in southern Michigan. That was also where the freezer was! It was a huge chest freezer and if we stood on a box, we could open the top. We loved that freezer because inside it was this huge can of fresh frozen cherries. It was one of those big yellow New Era Potato Chip cans. We had three cherries trees in the yard. I know because I fell out of all of them at least once! Mom would pit and half the cherries and put them in those cans in the freezer for making cherry pies in the winter. My mother didn’t cook much but she could bake a wonderful pie!
Then there was the time she went to get some cherries and the can was empty. Up until that point she had no idea my sister and I were eating cherries on a regular basis. It was the best part of going to the basement. I’m pretty sure my Dad was helping himself to them, too but we were the ones who were blamed. We were the ones who did not get pie.
We were always in trouble for something!