Memory Monday-It’s a thing…
As we move closer to the holidays, I find myself thinking about life at my grandmother’s house more and more. Growing up with an extended family is such a treasure, but sadly, it doesn’t always seem like a treasure depending on how crowded it gets.
My cousin, Debbie, and I lived with our grandparents. Simply put, we lived there because Grandpa and Granny said so. Debbie is 14 years older than I so it wasn’t long before she graduated high school, got married, and moved away. It was nice having my grandparents mostly to myself and I could type on Debbie’s typewriter any time I wanted.
Grandpa started remodeling the house. Up until the early 1980’s, the house was sort of small: a living room, two bedrooms upstairs, a bedroom downstairs, and a kitchen. We were still using an outhouse and had a shower in a building outside. In the remodel, Grandpa and his friends tore down the downstairs bedroom and kitchen to add on to the house. They added a larger kitchen/dining room, two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, and a utility/storage room.
I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, but a few other things started happening. Mom stayed with us more often than usual and she finally told me she was divorcing my father. My reaction was priceless…I asked if I could go back outside to play. Debbie had been living in Florida with her husband and new baby, Brett. One day she and Brett showed up at home and didn’t leave. My Aunt Sue, Debbie’s mother, got a divorce too and moved home with her second daughter, Beverly in tow. My Uncle Grady lived there for a while too. Grandpa went on a fishing or hunting trip that was cut short when he became ill. They took him to the hospital where he died. Somewhere in the middle of all that, we met a girl named Bonnie who didn’t really have a home and she came to live with us too.
The utility/storage room was large enough to squeeze a twin size bed in, but you couldn’t fully open the door. We were doubled up in rooms and privacy, even in the bathroom, didn’t exist. Granny took care of us all. Brett and I were there with Granny most of the time as the others worked or went to school. Things were tight, even in the bigger house, but we had a ton of fun.
In addition to the full time residents, my Aunt Connie and her family lived in the next house over so her two boys were always around. I had two other cousins, Arden and Jason, that spent several weeks with us each summer. Plus there were other kids in the neighborhood that spent time there as well.
Granny’s house was certainly the place to be and she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Slowly, everyone remarried and moved to their own houses again, but none moved very far. In my later teen years, it was down to me, Mom, and Granny in the house. The last year I lived there, it was just Granny and me and that was fine too.
My Uncle Lucian Jr. lives in the house now. It was home to me for so many years and home for so many other people in my family. My hope is that the house will always serve that purpose for us so we can always go back home.