So, this is not to be one of those fun, silly, cute, adorable day-care posts. I'll warn you now, this will be sappy, but I have to do it. It's been eating at me and I can't not blog this. And I can't blog this without tears, I've tried, but I just can't. But it is done with tears and a smile....
It is the fault of Ree, The Pioneer Woman. I love this blogger - she is my hero. Her posts are fun, funny, silly, goofy, informative and at some times so stinkin' poignant that I read with tears sliding down my cheeks. That's where I found myself this week as I read through her post about visiting her Ga-Ga, her grandma, at her house. (http://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2010/02/tears_at_ga-gas/)
Ree went to visit Ga-Ga, at her home, knowing it may be nearing one of the last visits she makes to her home. Her Ga-Ga is aging and she anticipates her moving out of state to be closer to family soon. She chronicled all sorts of wonderful things that brought back memories for her as she photographed different things in the house.
It was the sofa.
The stinkin' sofa sleeper that brought up so many parallels in my mind and led me down my path of memories. So bear with me, while I preserve some of those irreplaceable things from my memories of my grandparents' home.
I spent a lot of time at my grandparents home during the summers of my middle school years while Mom worked and the boys went to summer camps. She took care of me, but as much as she took care of me, since I was older, we hung out. We ran errands, with the radio set to a country station - which I couldn't stand and she relished torturing me with. She would point out the cute boys we'd see - which was just simply mortifying to me then!
In the sewing room where she taught me to sew, just a little bit, with a pair of black and white drawstring shorts, is a sofa. The sofa was the sleeper bed where I would sleep when I would spend the night there. I remember summer nights heading to bed listening to the sounds of the ball games from across the street at the park. The closet in this room is packed full of scrapbooks - from way before the time when scrapbooking was cool. Scrapbooks full of pictures of friends and family, with notes documenting the names, dates and places of all the events. I loved looking through the books and listening to Grandma tell me the stories of the pictures.
There are 2 bathrooms in the house - the one off of Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom was always Grandpa's bathroom. I will always picture Grandpa's shaving brush and cup here as it always was - it was just so old-fashioned and so Grandpa.
The kitchen was where we shared our meals at Grandma's - at the little table under the window. We'd move the little tv off the table onto the counter after we finished watching the noon or evening news before we'd eat. Three of my absolute favorite things in the kitchen are the small gray milk pitcher, the tupperware chip containers and bottled pop. I always thought it was so neat, so fancy, just so Grandma, that when she'd serve milk, it was never from the jug, but poured into the gray milk pitcher. Milk always tasted better out of that pitcher. In the cupboard over the stove were the milky-clear tupperware bowls with lids. Usually 2 - one to hold plain potato chips, one to hold plain tortilla chips. They were just always there and always full. For the longest time, until you could no longer buy them, Grandma and Grandpa had pop in the tall glass bottles. It was the biggest treat to go get one of those bottles, watch Grandma pop the top and pour it over ice - always over ice in a glass. And then to return the bottles to the store before we'd buy more.
Our holiday meals were downstairs. We'd set up long tables in the big room downstairs and fill them full of family and wonderful food. The closet in this room housed toys and games for us.
There is another bathroom in the basement - just a toilet and sink in the huge laundry/storage room. It was always freaky to use that one because it felt so big and open.
The other room in the basement was the family room. This was the hanging out room. This is where Grandma and Grandpa had their comfy recliners - with an end table between them (on the end table was a glass dish holding the soft mints with the jellied green centers and coasters for their glasses of ice water) - facing the tv. This is where we'd watch The Price is Right and Grandma's soaps. This is where Grandma would crochet while we watched. I loved getting to sit in Grandpa's recliner and pop my feet up while we were there during the day, just Grandma and I; it made me feel so special. It was in this room that Grandma had bookshelves full of books and I grew my love of reading - reading Grandma's books in the summer. Behind the recliners was the furnace that would rumble on in the winter. In the back of the room was a bar that was so much fun to pretend to serve drinks at during the holidays - oh the concoctions we'd make.
The other side of the room housed a pool table for the longest time. Since I was so young when the pool table was there, I remember that it was so much more fun to play under it than to play the actual game.
There are so many more memories - Grandma's teddy bears, her treasured lladros, all of grandpa's carvings, the pictures in the living room, our garage sales with our traditional donut holes, Grandma's potato salad with the sliced hard-boiled eggs and paprika on top, the fashion shows we'd hold there...
The house is still there, but things have changed as they've needed to as Grandma and Grandpa have gotten older. Grandma no longer lives there - she needs full-time care. The recliners, the tv are all upstairs as the stairs are harder to manage. It's hard for me to go see the changes - the changes in the house, the changes in my grandparents as they age, the changes I know are coming as age and time continue to march on.
I am so thankful for all the memories I do have and the love I have felt from my grandparents throughout my life. It is these that I will hold with me through the rest of my life and I can only hope my children, my future grandchildren will make such wonderful memories with me and my home someday.