If you are a frequent follower, you know I love to write about the nostalgic moments in my life. I have posted a photo of my grandmother’s house several times. It is the house I associate with the best years of my childhood.
My father was an only child. When we moved to Ohio, my grandfather had already passed away. My grandmother was later diagnosed with lung cancer. There is a long convoluted story related to how my father lost his birthright to his uncle – my grandmother’s brother. It is a sad story which I will not get into here, but I know it to be true. I found all the associated legal documents in my genealogy search. It was the heartbreak my father never recovered from. But enough about that.
This house was magical to me. It is where my father was born and raised. It is where he swore he saw little green martians one night. It is where his mother disciplined him with a garden hose. I know the scar in the wood of the stairwell came from a misfired gun. I know behind the walls upstairs, there are fireplaces once used to heat the house.
It was on the hearth where my grandfather roasted chestnuts at Christmas. I learned about the magic of graphite watching my grandfather repair the push button locks in the front door. I imagined how the house would have looked when the French doors leading to the dining room would actually open and close.
The closet under the stairwell is where I discovered boxes and boxes of crepe paper, leftover from a time when my grandmother made paper flowers. I could imagine her as a young woman knowing what she enjoyed doing. In her bedroom was the cedar chest that held her dresses and the drawer that kept her jewelry and silver dollars hidden from sight. In the room next to her bedroom was where she kept all the momentos her grandchildren made for her. It was where her glass hypodermic needles were stored along with a handful of thermometers. All leftover from her work as a nurse.
In the bedroom upstairs is where we crawled into my grandfather’s room while he napped trying not to wake him. We tried to get a taste of the sugar and cinnamon mixture he kept by his bed in case he had a nighttime cough.
In the bookshelves in the hallway is where my grandmother kept a newspaper article showing a photo of a cloud formation that looked like Jesus. She had it in between the pages of a book for safe keeping. It is also where she kept the book of poetry that now sits on my bookshelf.
In the adjacent bedroom is where my father stored his t-squares that my brother and I used for guitars. It is also where my parents worked on the jigsaw puzzle of a young girl praying with a golden halo around her head.
In the third bedroom is where I accidentally broke the 78 rpm record of “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen”. I was devastated to see how it made my grandmother cry. It is also where I took apart my grandfather’s old pocket watch to see how it worked. In the closet is where a stray Easter egg was lost and not found until the smell revealed its location months later.
A house is a structure that holds memories. When the house changes hands, the memories only remain for those blessed to have experienced them.
Can you mentally walk through a childhood house and recall the memories?