Thought I'd share a little about Rabbit Hop this morning, as some of you may be wondering what it is or if it really exists. It does indeed exist, and has since way before I was born. I've lived all but two years of my whole life here, and many magical things have transpired here over the years. :)
I'm not sure why it's called Rabbit Hop, except for the sheer number of rabbits that used to abound here. Even when I was growing up if you turned in to the drive after dark and the headlights hit, rabbits popped up like popping corn from everywhere and ran. Very prolific they are. :)
Rabbit Hop is a small community of houses in a rural area about four miles from the nearest really small town (one business street and no traffic lights). My maternal grandpa's dad bought a small farm with a house sitting back off the main road and moved in when my grandpa was about three years old, which was about 1899. The community was pretty thick with families at the time. There was a one room schoolhouse, Rabbit Hop School, near the main road, which Papa and his siblings attended. I'm not sure what else was here in the early 1900's (I need to do some research).
By the time I was born, Papa had married and raised six children in two sets (three,wait a few years, then three more). He, my grandma and the youngest two children were living in a house on the riverbank in town, and they ran a shoe shop in town, where they repaired shoes for a living. My mom, next to the youngest, married my dad, next to the youngest of eleven, when she was sixteen.
They lived with my dad's widowed mom, but I was born in Papa's house on the riverbank when mom was seventeen. We lived on the outskirts of town until I was two. Papa now owned the country farm, so he gave my parents enough land by the main road for a house and a garden spot in the Rabbit Hop community.
Papa and Granny moved back to the house on the farm for a few years when I was small. It was just over a little hill from our house, a short walk. They ran their shoe shop from a small building by the road, which my dad had built for a work shop. I grew up very close to all my grandparents, and I have made countless trips over that little hill to that home place in my lifetime. I have always loved it out there. So quiet and peaceful. Still.
The community was thick with houses, families, and neighbors who were the same as family. I was an only child, but I always had other children to play with and grow up with. There was a country grocery store across the road from us. They also sold gas. There was another one within walking distance down the road. There was also a button factory just under the hill on the way to the river, which we can't see, but it's only about a fifteen minute walk. There has always been a boat landing there and at different times beer joints. The man who ran the grocery was also a commercial fisherman and owned the button factory. Oh yes, there was also a rock crusher on the bluff above the river.
I went to school in town with all the other kids here in the fifties and sixties. We rode the school bus together every day. A few families came and went, but most were still here in the seventies when I married and my husband and I bought an acre adjoining my parent's garden spot from Papa near the road, where we built the home we still live in.
Daddy had already bought several acres adjoining their house place and eventually Papa sold him the farm, so I am the fourth generation to live on it.
The community is no longer a thriving one. The grocery across the road, the button factory, shoe shop, and beer joints have long been gone. A nice rock-sided home replaced the Rabbit Hop School many moons ago. Some of the homes burned and the families moved away. Many of the people have now died or moved on.
My dad made a wooden sign with two large rabbits a few years ago that said Rabbit Hop-population eleven and a half. It's fewer than that now. All that's left are hubby and me, my widowed mom next door, the elderly couple kind of across the road and down a little from us, and their granddaughter, husband, and little boy, who have only been here a couple of years now. The other three houses left are used as weekend/vacation houses. Papa's old home place over the hill is now falling down, though we're still using the old barn for the few cattle we keep.
I've often taken spells of wanting to live somewhere else, at least for a while. Everything is so far away from us. The nearest towns of any size are half hour away, and the nearest city with a mall or any shopping is at least one and a half hours away. It's frustrating sometimes to have to drive so far for everything, especially as I get older, but on the other hand, I'm deeply attached here and wouldn't know how to live anywhere else. It's where my roots are.
I've seen a lot of life, both good and bad, here. People came and went over the years, buildings changed and disappeared, just like everywhere else. Time doesn't stand still and everything changes constantly. But, as I said at the beginning, magical things happen here sometimes if you're paying attention. I have lots of happy memories associated with this little place out in the sticks called Rabbit Hop Community, and I'm beginning to dread the time when I have to leave it behind.
One day I will tell you about the people and some of the magic of the Rabbit Hop I grew up in. :)