Hazeldine was emotional as he expressed his gratitude for the community effort. He shared how much the small family homestead means to him and the generations of relatives before him.
He said Hungry Hill, the nickname for the area around his neighborhood, carries a certain irony, considering his grandmother Lilian Turner was known for serving hot meals on the picnic table out back to hobos who walked the rail line.
The house is not fancy, he said, but it’s where he and his wife raised their only son, John Jr., now 33.
“Look around,’’ he said, in the dwelling with its dark, wooden hand-hewn beams. There are stacks of bibles he has collected, ceramic milk jugs and bowls on a low shelf, and a built-in desk in the living room and ironing board closet in the kitchen, both examples of solid craftsmanship, he said.
“This is home,’’ said Hazeldine. “Nothing has really changed since 1926 except we painted over the wallpaper.”
Hazeldine moved about slowly, cradling a left arm paralyzed by one of the strokes and favoring his left leg. He beamed when he recalled his retired Standardbred horse named No D, a former harness racer in Foxborough he has already sent to a new home, along with the dozen hens that provided eggs every morning, because of the expected eviction.
Giving up the animals was heartbreaking. “That horse was my life,’’ Hazeldine said, shaking his head. “It’s overwhelming when you feel there is a price on your head.”
All that remains of the menagerie is a trio of pet birds that are caged in the kitchen.
Like Milhomme, Hazeldine is a religious man who counts the graces he has received. It is the belief in a higher power that gets him through, he said, thrilled that the home may be saved.
“It is good to know that there are people out there that do care,’’ he said. “I can feel the hand of God waving over me.”
For more information about the Hazeldines’ situation, visit Milhomme’s Facebook page, “Save John and Julienne Hazeldine From Home Eviction.”
Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.