Thursday, September 9, 2010

Childhood Home

The day my grandfather's house sold a piece of me knew that I would soon need to say goodbye not only to the house but to the man who made me laugh, gave to so many, and was the best father role model a child could have. His house was something I can look back on with fond memories.

I can only quote him on certain details of the house but I remember his stories quite well. He often told me of the condition of the home when he bought it, floors that had holes in them and walls that needed to replaced. Despite all this my grandfather and grandmother could see past this and see the dream home they were going to create. My favorite story is that my grandmother, a woman I knew for a short time in my life but I feel like she gave me so much, wanted her flooring replaced right away. She sent her brother and her husband (my grandfather) to the store to get hot dog buns and upon their return found my grandmother with the floor half ripped up. She knew that they would have to do something about it then. She was determined.

I can remember the small kitchen where my grandmother would ask me what bread animal we would make today. It was usually a bear or a turtle with raisin eyes, sometimes we would add cinnamon. The smell of fresh baked bread, still to this day, makes me remember this. Later in life the kitchen would become a bathroom for my grandfathers handicapped twin brother, with whom my grandfather welcomed with open arms.

Several rooms in that home were my bedroom at one time. The small bedroom next to the kitchen, that was my aunt's bedroom, my grandmother's sewing room and later my grandfather's twin brothers room. This room is where I hid in an over sized chair from my mom and grandmother, where I swore I saw the Easter bunny (he is purple), and was my bedroom while my mother and father were building their house.

The dining room was more like the living room. There was a large wooden table that if you wrote on a piece of paper hard enough you would leave an imprint for people to see. Often you would see random words in an horizontal or vertical fashion from my grandfather's crossword addiction. This is where I solved my math homework when I was in middle school while my grandfather played "oldies" or some form of blue grass music. I remember my grandmothers white hobnail milk glass chandelier that hung in this room and how many foreheads it hit. The ceiling in that house was so low you could stand, raise your hand, and touch the ceiling.

The house had steep stairs that led to a bathroom and three bedrooms. On the side of the stairs was faux brick paneling that I remember knocking on as a kid, hearing the hollow noise, and whispering of treasure that hid behind the "bricks". Walking down those stairs was too easy, you needed to sit and scoot your butt all the way down. As I sit here now I wonder how many children before me did this in this house?

As time went by the house aged with my grandfather. When we weren't looking, things began to stop working. Living rooms were turned into wood working rooms, an in ground pool got filled with sand, and the barn began to sag. The day my grandfather had a heart attack I stopped everything. My husband raced home from work to watch our son (we only had Damien at the time) so I could be with him in the hospital. The man that came to our house every Sunday to play with my son, eat breakfast, and play scrabble was a fighter and didn't give up the race for a couple more years.

After the heart attack my grandfather wasn't really himself and neither was the house. The house so use to the noise of children and everyday life was put on the market. A younger couple purchased it and saw the potential. What some may describe as worn someone else will describe as loved and what some describe as new someone will describe as lacking character, for a house is not a home without the people in it. The house had moved on and we were going to have to do the same. It wasn't the structure that I remember the most it's the memories it gave and we will always remember my grandfather.


Carol Bender said...

I am watery. You did an excellent job with this! Thanks for your perspective.

Peggy said...

This blog brought back so many memories for me and my grandpa who snuck me chocolate when my prim and proper grandmother wasn't watching - only to see the sly grin on his face when she had to wash the chocolate off my face, lol. And your grandfather was indeed a very special person! He definitely loved you and Damien too!

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

What wonderful and sweet memories you have here!
I have the same sort of fond memories of my grandparents home, too.

Have a wonderful week!
Big hugs,