My mother had to sell my grandmother's house last week. My grandmother has been deteriorating in health for, well, as long as I can remember really, but she's actually gotten to the point where she can't be alone. I totally understand this. I also completely support my mom in what she had to do. And Heaven knows, no one else was helping her out. But, I can't help feeling a wee bit of the nostalgia. It is again the ending of an era of my life. A lot of my childhood was spent in and around that house.
Here's what I remember.
I remember the dogwood tree in the front yard. It was no good for climbing, but we would pick the red berries and put them in this little metal bucket that must have been 50 years old. I remember the tree in the back yard. I think it was an elm. It had a perfect branch for a swing and my grandfather made one from a piece of wood and rope. I remember that you could climb out of the upstairs window and get on the roof, not that I ever did it, of course. I remember going into the stifling hot attic and getting out the old board games, "Uncle Wiggly", "Go to the Head of the Class", a totally old school "Cootie" and something I think was called "Spirograph" (and it was, I just checked it out on ebay, and am totally getting one). I remember playing with my brother in the dark and moldy basement. We played a game we called (bag over head embarrassed right now) "Jerry and Tuffy's Cheese Factory". It involved pretending we were the mice from Tom and Jerry and using hula hoops to make cheese. I remember how they decorated for Christmas the exact same way every year and that the star on their Christmas tree blinked, which my Dad hated, because he hates blinking lights. I remember interminably long Christmas dinners, in which we ate very little ham and turkey in anticipation of present time. I remember after we went to Christmas Eve service, my grandfather would always slice up some Hickory Farm summer sausage and some cheese. I remember going trick or treating on their street because we never lived in a neighborhood. I remember my grandmother would always count how many trick or treaters she had. I remember my dad would always turn the house number sign on their lamppost upside down. I remember that my grandparents would always sit out in their front yard every summer night. All the neighbors did. It was just what people did in that neighborhood. I remember the fake fruit that hung in my grandmother's kitchen, and that she had a shelf that pulled out underneath her wall oven where she always made her morning toast. I remember she used to make real popcorn and we would eat it and watch Hee Haw. I remember that one night I got locked in the bathroom because the door was so old and hard to open. I had to crawl through the window, which was no easy feat either, because the window had been painted shut. I remember being sick there one day, and lying on the bed in the guest room, underneath old heavy quilts, the sheets feeling so wonderfully cold.
I remember lots of things. I'm sorry that it had to come to this. I'm sorry that life is so incredibly long, yet incredibly short at the same time. I love you, Nan. I wish you had been able to stay home.