Vintage Friday

My great-grandfather Merritt Heaton lived to be 98 years old. He was a farmer in Illinois and lived in a white house on a hill not un-similar to the one in the movie Psycho. But this house was calm and sweet, with a water well in the front yard and 235 acres of beautiful farmland surrounding it.

I wish I had been older when he was alive so that I could have taken more away from our visits but I do have this little jewelry box from him that I treasure. I don’t know how it came into his possession, if it belonged to my great-grandmother or what it was really used for but I love it and every time I look at it it reminds me of our family visit to that big old house in Toulon, Illinois.

At the ripe old age of 97 my great-grandfather was honoured as the oldest farmer in Illinois that was still working his land and as a result Johnny Carson heard of him and invited him to appear on The Tonight Show. In fact, Johnny invited him at least three times before he finally accepted. I’m so glad he did because now he’s immortalized on one of the Johnny Carson’s “best of ” videos and we can laugh along with Johnny at the funny things he said. After the episode aired he must have had some explaining to do as he revealed that he had one girlfriend in California, where he spent the winters, and one back home in Illinois. When Johnny asked if they knew about each other my great-grandfather said, “Well, I guess they do now!”