Gram’s House

How I loved this place. Gram’s house was my very favorite for years and years. I grew up in a one-story postwar bungalow, so the fact that her house had an upstairs was wonderful to me. I loved going up and down the wooden stairs that were so slippery you couldn’t do them in stockinged feet.
If I’d known the subsequent owners would basically trash the place, I would have taken pictures of every inch of it. They even cut down all the gorgeous old trees. But I have my memories, plus a couple of photos.
I didn’t like the six-hour drive to Gram’s house, but the minute the tires crunched on the pavement, the ordeal vanished. No matter what time we got there, my grandmother would say, “Oh, you made good time!” I later learned that Dad usually drove 100 mph, so she was always right.
My cousin Tim and I used to sneak down into the basement where our grandfather had those old wooden cases of Coke in the little green bottles. Oh, that old Coke is the BEST! The new stuff with high fructose corn syrup is not the same. I’d almost take a trip to Mexico to buy the old stuff, but heard there’s a place in California where you can buy it now.

There was a sleeping porch on the side of the house that wasn’t heated, and I quickly learned that all the Christmas cookies and fudge were stored there–kind of a Minnesota refigerator. I still prefer fudge that’s frozen.

Every morning I’d wake up to the smell of sizzling bacon, fresh-brewed coffee and cigarette smoke. My uncle was a chain smoker, and I loved to watch and see if his ever-growing ashes would hit the floor. They never did. This was back in the day when everyone smoked, even my dad. I nagged him when I was in high school and he finally quit.

My grandmother’s homemade bread was the best in the world. Soft and slightly sweet. How I wish I’d watched her make it so I’d have the secret.

I can’t hear the sound of mourning doves without thinking of sleeping at Gram’s house. They cooed every morning, and for a long time I thought they were owls. At the sound of their chorus, I immediately think of iron bedsteads, creaky wood floors, electric fans humming and hot summer nights.

My grandfather owned a hardward store, so another highlight was trying out all the brand-new tricycles and looking at all the merchandise. “Pa,” as we called him, would sit high up in his office overlooking the store and I would climb the stairs to see him. Each time he’d give me a shiny half dollar and a smile. I loved that.

I’m not sure why I titled this “Gram’s House,” because it was Pa’s home too. But my grandmother made that place.  Her imprint was everywhere. My mom was the same, and maybe I am too.  When my mother died, her sister Rose said, “It’s just another house now. She made it a home.”

It’s different coming into another woman’s home as I have. I couldn’t just walk in and change everything after so many years with other things. I have a few pieces of furniture and some pictures, but that’s all. And that’s OK. I think it’s more important that my stepdaughter feel at home. She lost her mom, and that trumps everything. As it should.

About pearlsandprose

Photography. With a little life thrown in.
This entry was posted in architecture, photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gram’s House

  1. Susan says:

    Oh my, I swallowed a big lump in my throat while reading those remembrances – and smiled at the same time. Especially while reading Rose’s comment about your Mom’s home transforming back into ‘just another house now’ upon her death . . . LOVED reading it – please do more.

Leave a comment if you wish. I love hearing from my readers.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.