Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grandma's Home

I'm 30 and some change.
Like generations before me, some of the fondest childhood memories I've got take place at Grandma's house.
We were fortunate enough to have an awesome grandmother who lived fairly close to us.
I can recall spending long, hot summer days splashing in her pool. Coming out just long enough to run to the other side of the garage to pee behind the lone bush, or being forced to emerge for lunch long enough to inhale food then jump right back in. 
As much as we hated getting out of the pool, we knew whatever we were about to do was probably going to be just as fun. 
Gram made the best tuna fish sandwiches!
She would cut up apples and toss them in with the mayo. 
I have no idea why this was the greatest summer lunch. 
Maybe it's because mom wouldn't add apples for us. Or maybe it was the "Italian" bread? I'm pretty sure you can still buy that bread... But it just doesn't taste the same as it did back then.
I can recall being forced out of the pool after hours of swimming, and standing on the concrete all wrapped up in my towel. We used to hide in our towels and strip down to nothing so we could hang our suits to dry. 
Not that this ever worked. It seemed the next time we went to pop them on... They were still soaking wet and cold :). 
Some days our swimming would end with a walk to the end of her road to Stan's Soft Serve.
This was a roadside ice cream stand. It was a summer staple. You knew summer had come when Stan's opened.
We would grab our cones and head on back.
Gram had the coolest house ever. 
It was two stories and had an awesome staircase. 
Looking back... Not that cool.
But boy, it was a mansion back then. 
There was an old school desk in the stairwell. It was full of paper, and pens, and stickers, and markers, and white out... There was even a drawer that had a bunch of packs of playing cards!
This was  our rainy day fun. (I can't count the hours we played Office on those stairs.)
Not to mention the game and puzzle cupboard... If it rained (thunder and lightning of course!!) we were taken care of. 
As evening fell gram would cook us dinner then we would enjoy quiet time in the living room watching whatever show she was into at the time. 
I need to say:
The woman loved ducks. 
Every room had 30 ducks in it in some way/shape/form. 
The living room had a white glass candy dish. The bottom was the bottom half of a duck. The top lifted off to expose worthers originals. Best day ever if you could sneak one without anyone hearing you!
She had this castle that sat on her side table next to the couch. I don't know the story behind it. I just remember it. It was maybe... 6-8 inches tall and made of some kind of substance that felt like sand. All rough and fragile looking. It sparkled too.. Like there was glitter in the sand.
I was afraid to touch it.
The night would end with us getting a bath and heading off to bed. Sometimes we would sleep on the porch. Listening to the night life through the screened windows.
I can remember laying on that white wicker couch.
Then I would be too scared to sleep so I ended up in the living room on the couch or back up in the guest room bed!
The next morning would bring another heavenly summer day.
Gram always got up at the crack of dawn. She had been a hard worker all her life.
She would get up and make us breakfast. Then we were off to the pool.
I can remember countless days that this was played out.
When school started up again, we were back at home every day.
But then came the holidays!
The holidays!
When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of Gram's house.
Every cousin, aunt, uncle, great aunt, family friend... Everyone you could imagine would be in and out and eat and play and talk... It seems we were there for hours on hours, and those days never ended. I can remember sitting at the dining room table. The smells. The eloquent dining table. My Grandma had (Has!!!) Class.
Sitting under her small tree.
Curled up with every cousin.
Everyone opening a gift or two.
The smells.
The lights.
The joy.
I feel like this generation is missing out.
When I bring my children to my parents house (IF I ever find the time) They're buried in electronics. They have no interest in playing. Nothing can stimulate them mentally.
We used to play with a deck of cards for hours.
Not any more.
My parents are no longer married.
My Father lives fairly close.. 2 1/2 hours away. But my Mom lives 1600 miles away. My children have never met her.
They'll never know the warmth of Grammy's hug when they fall down.
Or the cookie that Gram slides them when no one is looking. Or when Mom is looking right at her while she does it. Because she's the Grandma and that's what they do.
I feel like gone are the days of family traditions.
It's like pulling teeth trying to get everyone's schedule to connect.
Used to be, Everyone had the same days off. You KNEW that you were going to Gram's House because that is just..
What you did. There was no question. There probably wasn't even any discussion! We just woke up that day and drove to Gram's house.
I miss those times.
I hope that my kids will be able to look back fondly like I can.

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