On Friday morning we visited Scott’s paternal Grandmother, Jean, for the first time in her new house. She has been through a lot over the past few years, so it was really nice to see her settled. We drank lemonade and ate cookies while she told us stories about growing up and raising a family. It was one of the first times I really got to spend time with her, but I became so relaxed in her presence that halfway through our visit I found myself tinkering with a music box, smelling her candles, and walking around barefoot, curious and comfortable, just as I had been when I was a child in my own grandmother’s house.
I love spending time with grandparents, listening to them tell stories about their childhood when gas cost 18 cents and asking us things like “is your friend still going steady with that girl?”
Late Friday afternoon we went to Grandma and Papa’s house (technically Scott’s grandparents, but I consider them mine too) for Papa’s birthday.
Their house is filled with so many happy memories that even the air seems to embrace you.
We sat in the living room on Friday evening. I watched Papa’s face as he opened gifts. It was lit by a lamp I want to call vintage, even though it’s just a lamp they’ve always had. He seemed so fulfilled.
Grandma and Papa’s living room is a warm room that appears to be untouched by time. Many items seem like they’ve sat in that house since 1968 when they moved into it with their four children. They came from Massachusetts originally, moved from Winchester to Jacksonville, Florida and then landed in the San Fernando Valley in the late 60’s when Scott’s mom Carolyn was nine, her three sibling’s ages not far off. But the rest of the decorations are precious gifts that Grandma Debby would never part with, not while she’s alive at least.
She mentions from time to time that she’s going to “will” certain things to us when she’s gone. She has a necklace she wears with a letter “D” on it. She tells me every time I see her “This ‘D’ is going to be yours someday” and a little of me wants to cry every time I think about owning that necklace. She says this to assure herself that her cherished keepsakes will stay in grateful hands who know the value of memories and the past, I think.
I relate to this a lot. I save not only birthday cards and sweet letters, but ticket stubs from noteworthy movies like The Hunger Games, every journal I’ve had since second grade and my favorite Halloween costume from college when I was a Corona beer bottle with my friends (it’s actually just a painted dress). I still have parts of the outfits Scott and I wore the night we met; a teal sweater from mine and brown corduroy pants from Scott’s that have a hole in the knee. They are away in labeled boxes in our garage. I say this so you won’t picture us up to our ears in collected clutter. Some people probably think I’m crazy for hanging on to this stuff, but Grandma Debby wouldn’t. I hope I will have someone as enthusiastic about having some of the things I treasure someday too.