4.25.2011

Memory Monday v3.0



Visits to the grandparents' were few and far between growing up but always seemed so much sweeter for just that reason. Stepping into my grandparent’s house was like stepping into a frozen time capsule as a child. No matter how long in between the visit, everything remained in the same place it was since I last left. The smells, sights and sounds were so assuring and predictable.

Grandpa Lay’s house smelled of a life time of cigarette smoke. He stopped smoking indoors in his last few years of life but I’d say it was probably a few decades too late. I never minded the smell though, it was strangely comforting and something I only experienced at grandpa’s. He loved cooking up a fried egg and it was never a visit to his house unless we had that mouth watering fried chicken. Grandma and Grandpa Lewis’ house was quite the opposite experience. To this day I don’t know what gives their home its smell, but it is theirs. Every now and again, I’ll smell something similar in passing but have never been able to place my finger on it. Some days smelled of soup cooking and in their backyard, fresh flowers. The pride of my grandfather’s garden. The pull out couch and the sheets on the bed didn’t smell like mine at home. They smelled like Grandma and Grandpa’s. The smelled like a summer in Missouri. 
Grandpa Lay’s house had rooms of trinkets, books, old magazine’s and drawers of goodies to explore. The old exercise bike provided hours of entertainment as one kid stood on each pedal and we flew up and down as fast as we could get going. The wall paper and every picture on the wall was stained yellow from tobacco smoke but in my eyes, it was charming. I loved his religious artwork, the semi-creepy portrait of Jesus that inspired many of my home decorations now. My favorite room, the one I always slept in, was right off the living room. It had the tiniest bed but the room was packed with  shelves of books and piles of Sears catalogue’s from the late 60s and 70s. Inside the closet were trophies and on one visit I found my late grandmother’s powder perfume. Grandpa allowed me to take it home with me and I treasure it to this day today. It still pains me that I’ll never be able to explore his home again, did I appreciate all that it held? All the memories each trinket may have been associated with? Never again will I able to lay on that tiny bed with its thin sheets, picking out what outfits I would have chosen from Sears.

Fireflies were some of my favorite things to see at night in Missouri. We don’t have them in California and boy are they fascinating! One summer I got paid a penny for everyone I caught and I’m pretty sure I was rich by the end of the night. Then there are ticks, chiggers and mosquitos! A few fun things you never enjoyed finding on your body in your night bath. 

Grandma and Grandpa Lewis got up at the crack of dawn. I remember hearing them tinkering down the hall way, fixing a cup of coffee, their alarm system dinging as Grandpa went in and out for the morning paper. They always had bird feeders in the backyard which attracted many beautiful birdsongs in the morning. Then there were the house shaking thunder and lightning storms that sometimes came hand in hand with tornadoes. Laying in bed, the thunder so loud and strong that you could feel it scared me to no end as a child!

I am sitting here right now at my only living Grandparent's house. Grandma's house has changed very little in all of the years. Now I make her soup and the rose garden no longer grows since Grandpa passed away. I find myself gazing through the window, reflecting on many trips past and it still feels like home to me.



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