The ROMP Shop is three things in one. It is a Workshop, where people can have meetings and/or do arts and crafts. It is fully stocked with all kinds of creative materials. It is also a Poet’s Retreat, which has a beautifully-designed bedroom and bathroom (by Kelly Palmer), and people can rent the whole Shop and stay overnight in the Retreat. It also has a gift shop with locally-made items and poetry-related things of all kinds.
This little house was where ROMP Director Shaun Perkins’ grandparents lived for many, many years. When her grandmother (Gangy) died, it was used as a house for a while, then a bookstore, and then it was a rental property. Now, it is a wonderful annex/addition to the museum, which is right next door.
Growing up, her grandkids all called this place Gangy’s house. Gangy’s first grandchild said “Gangy” instead of “Grandma” so the name stuck. She lived in it alone for quite a few years after Grandpa died. It’s a humble little place with walnut trees in the front, a long porch, and a hilltop setting. In 2007, the Perkins sisters and mother started a bookstore in it, which explains the paint job, and it was called Ruby’s Hilltop Readery. The bookstore lasted for a little over two years.
The little house has quite a history. Ruby and Hersal Willkinson were typical Okies back in the day, traveling often to California. Daughter Betty Perkins remembers living in a tent for quite some time in Orange County. One time, a house they had built on this property burned down, so they built a shed and put all their belongings they had left in the shed and took off for California again. When they came back, they built on to the shed, and this house was born. The bedroom is actually the original shed.