Not only did Jim and Frankie McLean build a comfortable home in the country, they built a one-room playhouse in the backyard for the kids, filled with pint-sized housewares and fingerpaints.
It’s beside a garden for digging and sprinklers for cooling off.
Near an old magnolia for climbing and a fire pit for roasting marshmallows.
“This is where we all play,” said Frankie McLean, 65, the mother of three and grandmother of five.
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Jim McLean, 68, was born and raised in Blythewood.
The McLean name goes back seven generations in Northeast Richland County.
The two-story home the couple built in 1972 on 15 acres of family land is filled with the reminders of ancestors, whether it’s a deep porcelain sink, a colorful quilt or potted ferns nearly a half-century old.
Their property, off a two-lane road at the edge of Blythewood, is wooded.
The honeysuckle is fragrant.
Relatives live in shouting distance, sharing a view of a large pond.
Last summer, the McLeans said, they noticed a barred owl that arrived each evening at 7:45 p.m., swooping into the yard on the hunt for crickets and other critters.
It was such a sight, they invited friends over for a party, to watch.
Dawn Hinshaw writes about people, historic preservation and county government for The State.