I have one true home. My Grandma’s house.
I spent almost every Christmas, birthday, and summer vacation in a split level house sitting on the edge of a small town. The walls had ridiculous amounts of stone work. There was a real working fish pond with a waterfall that became filled with pot holders and Sky Mall magazines sometime in the late 70’s. I have never seen it with water or fish. My grandmother asked for a sunken living room when they built it in 1960. Instead the contractor gave her a raised front hall. Every person entering the room from the front door was given a warning of “Careful of that step”. It’s tradition.
I spent my toddler years pounding away on the piano in the living room and bumping my little butt down the stairs. I fell down the concrete patio steps and burned myself making pancakes with Grandma. These memories are still fond in my mind. I had a Big Wheel that I peddled around the back yard and walked her poodle around the 1/10th mile driveway looking for snakes at night.
The Christmas I got my first bike I found it under Grandma’s pink flocked tree. I couldn’t take it outside in the snow, so I rode it back and forth to the kitchen, got stuck at the turn at the sink and someone would dutifully come to turn me around.
As a teen, I spent my rage-y hormone-y time upstairs listening to Good Charlotte and P!ink CD’s. It was a fortress of solitude. When I wasn’t in the gripes of teen awfulness, Mom and I sang 70’s TV theme songs to match the Welcome Back Cotter trash can in the spare bedroom. Grandma was forever trying to give Mom money. Once while she was dressing, Mom was was refusing. So Grandma stuck it in Mom’s bra and walked away. We are a family that doesn’t take no for an answer.
Like today, Jason, myself, and Mom took Grandma grocery shopping. Jason and I escorted Grandma around Wal-Mart and we came upon some flowers near the checkout. Grandma declared them pretty and only five dollars and asked which ones I liked.
“We don’t need flowers, Grandma.”
“Well, for your mom then. Which would she like?”
I picked a bouquet of yellow gerber daisies that Jason also deemed acceptable.
“Now which ones do you like?”
“You’re not going to let this go are you?
I picked white carnations. Because I love carnations. Anyone who cringes at the mention of carnations is no friend of mine. Filler flowers my sweet tush!
Grandma’s house has been locked up for three years. After she broke her hip and my grandfather had a few massive strokes they couldn’t be there alone. We go up once in a while to mark the peonies and pick up kitchen utensils that may be useful. My grandparents live in assisted living an hour away from us and another hour from their beautiful, wonderful, nostalgia inducing house.
If you haven’t been home in three years, you know how this feels.
The first time I drove it was around Grandma’s driveway.
The first thing I ever baked was in her kitchen.
The first pet that I loved that died was her poodle, Shane.
I spent hours walking around her backyard wondering what Taylor Hanson was doing in that moment.
There were always baked goods and all the spare change I could count.
I feel like a kid at camp.
I want to go home.