Grandma hasn’t lived in her house by the pond for several years and Grandpa’s been in heaven for fourteen. It never bothered me much because I still could visit with my Grandma in the assisted living home where she now lives. I could still walk around her pond if I wanted to. My children and I could walk to her house through the over grown pasture or around through the field to pick asparagus or grapes, if we so desired.
But, this week as I was helping my parents clean my grandma’s house to get it ready for renters, sadness settled in. The emptiness spoke of finality. It shouted of a time gone by with only memories to support it.
As I cleaned the outside of a couple windows I glanced behind me to see the morning glories struggling to survive. Years ago when I was a girl they flourished. Grandpa had twine strung from the ground to the top of the garage. And those vines made a wall of green. When we spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s it was tradition in the summer months to count the morning glories before breakfast. I remember standing next to Grandpa looking out the storm door counting what seemed like hundreds of deep purple blooms.
I remembered many hot summer days building cities, roads and homes in the sandy driveway and when we got really hot Grandma and Grandpa would let us carry buckets of water to make moats and puddles, ponds and lakes for our sand creations.
Cleaning the kitchen cupboards triggered memories of Grandma and what a wonderful cook she was. I LOVED eating at Grandma’s she was the quintessential country cook. There were always “Granny” eggs (eggs done sunny side up) for breakfast, which Grandpa mashed onto our toast for us. Grandma could can pickles that were amazing, and her rolls and soft molasses cookies were the best. Grandma popped us popcorn in the evenings there was always home canned grape juice to go with it. Sitting around Grandma’s table, saying grace, holding hands, laughing, talking, watching nature down by the pond and eating till I was bursting and still Grandma offering more. Precious.
As I wiped down the top of the fridge, I fought back tears as I remembered the glass container that sat on top filled with peppermints that Grandpa loved. They were the pink soft sort. The kind I’m pretty sure they don’t make any more. I remembered the ladybug magnets that Grandma used to hold clippings from the newspaper that caught her fancy, funny sayings, quotes, life lessons. On top of the fridge sat an old hard leather case. Inside was Grandpa’s old electric razor. Amazingly, the man that was paid to come in and clean out the house completely of the belongings of my Grandparents (the items that none of the family wanted), left it in the bathroom cupboard. I’m pretty sure that was a gift from God!
In the living room I remembered all the times my sisters and I danced to the old records we loved. Records full of silly stories and songs that I had never heard any place else. We would eventually dissolve in fits of laughter onto the carpet. I remembered the nights snuggled on the couch listening to Grandma read the stories she had written about Grandpa’s Farm. Or the moments spent snuggled on Grandpa’s lap with one of my sisters beside me, listening to Grandpa sing our favorite songs. While I brushed my teeth with the toothbrush shaped like a giraffe, Grandma would pull the bed out from the couch and make it up with her special Grandma quilts and blankets.
Wonderful, special, heart-treasured memories of days and nights spent with my Grandparents.
And as hard as it is to see their house empty and know that the era of making memories at Grandma’s house is over, I am abundantly grateful for the memories that my Grandparents helped me create. These gems of untouchable wealth forever be stored in my mind and heart.