Our grandparents’ homes are safe havens, places of unconditional love and indulgence. Most people hopefully are blessed with wonderful memories of their grandparents.
My paternal grandparents lived in a two-story, clapboard house surrounded by giant oak trees. My grandfather farmed but also, at one time, owned an excavating business. Their farm was somewhat cluttered, as was the inside of the house.
Coming from a family that had once had money yet lost much of it during the Great Depression, my grandmother saved everything and was somewhat of a hoarder. During family holidays, it was common practice for the ladies of the family to spend a good amount of time cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes before the big meal was prepared.
Still, that kitchen was a great place much of the time. There seemed to always be brownies, muffins, or cupcakes without frosting. Bread was a constant presence as well; always slick-looking, pale beige rolls either in a bowl covered with a dish towel or many times, baking in the oven. In the middle of the table was a giant dish of butter. You could eat as many rolls as you wanted, because she’d just make more if needed.
Their farm was a place of wonder. As I said, cluttered but fascinating all the same. There were big old barns to play in, woods filled with dilapidated farm equipment, livestock sheds filled with sound insulating stacks of hay, and numerous hiding places that provided hours of fun for my cousins and me.
Years after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother moved to town and lived in a small apartment. Later, the farm was sold and the last time I drove by I didn’t even recognize the place. The house had been torn down, as well as all the old buildings. The rusty equipment had been taken away.
A mobile home sat in a prime spot, far off the road. Many trees, plants and overgrown areas of the property had now been mowed down, leaving an expanse of manicured lawn.
It wasn’t Grandma’s House anymore. I wasn’t able to see anything recognizable.
My maternal grandparents’ home was on the other end of town and was quite a bit different from my Tullis grandparents. The house and farm were neat as a pen. Neither of those grandparents spent much time resting or being idle, yet when they did decide to sit down for a spell, they fell asleep.
The kitchen at grandma’s always had something tasty. Giant sugar cookies with raisins in the middle, pies, and many desserts. Bread too, but this grandmother’s rolls were golden brown.
Even though the farm was neat and orderly, there were still plenty of places to explore. Barns, woods across the road, a chicken house, ponds and gardens were places to hang out and keep occupied. We could spend hours walking along the graveled country roads looking for shells, picking up walnuts or hickory nuts in the woods, where we’d also find little cedar trees to cut down for Christmas.
After my grandmother died, a young couple bought the farm and have lived in the house for about 20 years. They’ve raised a family, have worked hard, and are now planning to build a new home on the property.
Grandma’s House will be torn down soon.
It’s very strange to live long enough to see your grandparents’ homes torn down, and I know many people have seen their childhood homes meet the same fate.
And even though it may be cliche, it must be mentioned that memories cannot be torn down. We can still go into our memory bank and visit these places, spend some time there, and go back to dates, times, celebrations and deep feelings of contentment.
Homes are more than buildings, land and other tangible things.