For the 38 years Shaffer has owned her Salmon Arm residence, she’s always thought of it as the Ball family home.
Nestled in the remnants of an orchard in the 1600 block of Second Avenue NE, on what’s historically known as Merton Hill, the Ball home has obviously undergone some changes and updating over the past century. But much of it remains as Darcy Ball remembers it, when the home belonged to his grandparents Maud and William Ball. This includes some of the furniture within, which he and wife Mona recently returned to the old home – to Shaffer’s surprise and delight.
“I’ve loved this house since I first laid eyes on it…,” said Shaffer. “I filled the house with antiques because that’s what I love, but to have the original pieces back is just the most incredible thing I can imagine.”
Among the pieces returned are a sewing machine, two chairs, a rocker and a china cabinet, which once again sits in the dining room, exactly where it did when Darcy came to visit his grandma.
“You know, when I look at it where it is, like the china cabinet in the dining room, it just belongs there,” said Shaffer. “And when I look at the two chairs in the parlour, it’s like the men have come home because they’re very masculine chairs and they’re just right there.”
Darcy says as far as he knows, the heavy wood furniture is all locally made.
“It’s not really exotic sort of stuff – It’s just something that came from the family, from the house, and I wanted to get it back there because I don’t need it and I can’t think of a better place for it.”
William and Maud Ball bought the Merton Hill property in 1910 (it had been homesteaded by someone else). The couple had been living in Brooks, Alta. but, on William’s doctor’s advice, had chosen to move to Salmon Arm for a climate that was less severe.
The two immediately bought materials to renovate the bungalow-style home, though William is said to have regretted this decision, believing the home should have been torn down and a new one built. Included in those renovations were the addition of a bathroom and a kitchen, which currently serves as Shaffer’s kitchen. Seated in that kitchen, on one of the returned chairs, Darcy, with Mona on an adjacent antique bench, shares tea with Shaffer and stories about the house as he knew it.
“It’s just a place of fond memories,” said Darcy, explaining how he was surprised, when he first started visiting Shaffer about a year ago, to find the old sidewalk running around the side of the house.
“I thought, ’It’s still there! Why in the world would they ever keep an old sidewalk like that? But I’m glad they did because I learned to ride my tricycle on it. I was maybe three or four at the time. I said, ‘Why didn’t you have that torn up and rebuilt?’ I was told (by Shaffer) whoever touches that is going to get shot.”
Through her relationship with Darcy and Mona, Shaffer has been able glean much of the colourful history behind her home – and the new/old furniture it once again contains.
“’I’ve always thought of it as your home, it’s the Ball House, you know,” Shaffer tells Darcy, “And we’ve had the honour of living in it and taking care of it.”