By Emma Bowen Meyer For The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON – Follow Betty Tufts through her home and she will lift treasure after treasure that prompts a story of family. From knick-knacks that were given to sketches that were drawn to features of the house that were installed, the pieces of her home are the calling cards of the ones who love her.
“Todd (her son) gave this to me a year ago Christmas,” she said, pointing to a professional-looking sketch of a farm house matted and framed. “He sat outside of my old house and just sketched it one day when he was in junior high or maybe a freshman. I didn’t know anyone still had it – but he found it and gave it to me. It is a treasure.”
In an adjacent room she pointed out another of equal quality that Todd created using her father’s old field truck as a subject.
While his artwork adorns the walls, his sister’s stamp appears in the structure. Tammy and her husband, Don Boyer, bricked in the fireplace to suit Betty’s tastes.
“It was just a plain tile and I really wanted brick,” she said. “Don can do anything – he also built this cabinet and hung my blinds.”
Draped through the loft are memories of her late husband, Frank “Ed.” A Civil War buff and history teacher for many years, Ed had quite a collection of books and patriotic décor. Hanging above the red sofa (complete with white and blue pillows) is a framed flag from Williamsburg circa 1896-1908. After she found it at an antique shop, Tammy helped with framing the worn flag which only dons 45 stars.
Even of the more simple items strewn about the home, many are gifts from family or friends.
“People know my style,” said Betty, who is retired from 32 years of teaching. “They give me things on Christmas and birthdays that fit in nicely with my décor. I love Shipshewana – a lot of my stuff comes from Shipshewana.”
An elegant country motif weaves through all the rooms, uniting all the spaces in their feel. An excellent choice, as many of the areas flow together. The kitchen and living room are one with an open loft above and French doors (that usually remain open) to the family room.
“When I first looked at this place I thought I didn’t need that extra room,” she said. “Many of the other condos here don’t have them. But now it’s my favorite room and there is plenty of space for the whole family to come over. That was appealing.”
Todd and Tammy have provided Betty with five grandchildren to fill the rooms with laughter.
Her hunt for the home began after her husband passed away in 1999 and her cousin began a campaign to move her to College Park Condominiums near Anderson University. It took six years of looking at potential properties before she finally left her large four-bedroom home.
“I feel very safe here,” she said. “I don’t have to take care of the outside – my husband was always so meticulous about that but it’s too much for me. I’m on the end, which is very private. The down side is that I don’t see as many people.”
She likes being near Anderson University – the place she met Ed. Both traveled to Anderson from Kentucky for college and met one another in the Hoosier state. After graduating, marrying and working a few years, they moved to Michigan for the bulk of their lives. When it was time to retire, however, Anderson called to them again.
“It just felt like home,” she said simply. “We were here seven years before we left, but we still had a lot of friends here – even my old college roommate lives here and we love to do things together.”
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an e-mail to email@example.com.