Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This is Where…

Back in 2006, we took a trip back to my grandparents’ home in South Dakota.  The last of them, my grandfather, passed away in 1996, and my mother continued on there for another 9 years before moving in with us in another state.  The house sat vacant.  It had seen better days – wonderful days – of lots of family chatter, savory aromas from the kitchen...  it was a safe haven where love and protection permeated the entire house.  Everything good about life I learned in that house.  And now we were going back one last time to pack things up and to say goodbye.  Take a tour with me, if you will.

lilacs2 This is where I would start to get excited – coming around the corner, seeing the warm light coming from the kitchen window.  The lilacs are lovey now, Grandma would have liked them; but they did not hide the house back then.  When we were dropped off in the early morning hours of winter, I could almost feel the warmth from the open oven door and the smell of hot chocolate radiating out the window with the light.

This is where I’d watch the squirrels clamoring to get to the squirrel feeder as Grandpa restocked it every day.

And from the outside, this is where Grandma and I would wave to each other as I was leaving.  Every time I left her house, except once, she was at that window; and every time I’ve left that house since her death more than 20 years ago, I could still see her standing there, smiling and waving at us.
Grandma's View kitchen window
100_3636 This is where I’d stand and contemplate – contemplate if the wonderful things stored in the attic were worth risking my very life to get to.  Yes, the attic was full of mysterious things both good and bad.  Boxes of old clothes, makeup samples from my mother’s time as an Avon lady, old toys… and monsters, for sure.  Lots of monsters.  Plus, Grandma told me, if I stepped in just the right place I’d fall down in between the walls, and “even Grandpa won’t be able to get you out.”  It worked.   Even now, I get a little chill down my spine at this sight.

This is where I sometimes slept when I spent the night there.  It was a tiny second bedroom with a magical trundle bed unlike anything I had ever seen.  Grandma would put a blanket on top of the mattress to make it more snuggly, and my sister and I would curl up under a big gray blanket with big red strawberries embroidered all over it.
This is where the black rotary dial phone sat, neatly in the little nook between the kitchen and the dining room; and where my grandmother would pull up a kitchen chair every night at 9:30, waiting for her mother-in-law to make her nightly “check in” call.

And, one more, if you don’t mind…

This is where I’d watch Grandpa walk in the morning, dressed in his overalls, and he'd back his blue and white car out of the garage.  He’d put his lunch pail in, wave goodbye, and head westward to his farm where chores awaited. 

I miss these days.  We are now raising our first generation of the family who never knew this place, and never knew these people.  I suppose we are now the ones whose responsibility it is to make the memories…


  1. Since we just sold our childhood home last fall after my mother passed away, I have to keep reminding myself that I'll always have the memories even if we don't own the house. No one can take those away from us. And you have wonderful memories!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Debi! It's a hard transition, isn't it?