Around the time that my mom was leaving high school and going to college, her parents and brothers built a house. They purchased the plans and materials and rented machinery and did it themselves. They learned a lot, made some mistakes, but in the end made a home.
The house is now in its fourth decade, and I have innumerable memories of visiting there. We would always go for a long visit during the summers, and depending on how close we lived, we would go for shorter visits throughout the year.
I remember the bedroom in the basement that for some reason (probably a whim of one of my uncle's) had a light switch that turned on red and blue lights instead of normal lights and had a feature of having them turn off and on, back and forth.
I remember the pond and the pasture and rows and rows of garden that always needed work.
I remember the room full of jars of food that my grandparents had spent hours planting, harvesting, preparing, and canning. I specifically remember the home canned green beans. For some reason, I have memories of those tasting unbelievably good.
I remember still thinking as a high schooler that I was not allowed to touch the television or the VCR.
I remember the seemingly endless supply of VHS tapes, including all of the great musicals.
I remember the neighbor around the corner who took care of sick or injured exotic animals and who always had something interesting to show us.
I remember the Amish store nearby that had really delicious food.
I remember the park by the cemetery and feeling almost like I could fly when my older brothers and cousins spun me on the merry-go-round.
I remember taking my new husband there and him thinking that squash was going to be the only thing served for dinner.
I remember making myself sick sneaking orange flavored Vitamin C tablets, because they tasted as good as candy.
I remember spending Easter there with my brother Danny when my parents were down in Brazil looking for houses.
I remember performing skits in the yard with my cousins and ganging up with the lone female cousins to try to "torture" our male cousins. I remember the willow tree, the trolley, the swing set, the treehouse, and the trampoline.
I remember fire flies, Fourth of July fireworks, and sparklers.
I remember picking fruit from the fruit trees and berries from the bushes.
I remember the basket full of old toys down in the laundry room.
I remember eating melted cheese on tortilla chips right out of the oven and popcorn and chocolate covered nuts my grandmother made.
I remember sitting down to breakfast and having six different types of homemade jam to choose from.
I remember two spice racks full of vitamins and pills instead of spices, spice racks my great-grandparents gave my grandparents as a wedding gift.
I remember being really happy, and I remember the love of my grandparents. I remember how proud and accepting they always were of me.
My grandmother passed away in 2009 pretty soon after Jill was born. In fact, we were in the hospital at the same time. Since then, my grandfather has moved in with one of my uncles who lives near by. After many hours of work put in by my aunts, uncles, grandfather, and parents, the house is going up for auction tomorrow night. It is what the family decided, and I know it is for the best, but I can't help but feel a little sad knowing that I'll most likely never step foot in that house again and soon all I will have is my cherished memories of childhood pleasures.
My siblings and I with our grandpa in the garden
My sister and my grandma and a rutabaga
Me with my grandma
Me with my grandpa
I love you, Grandma and Grandpa Homer. Thanks for helping make my childhood so special.
Good-bye, big blue house.
My sister wrote a beautiful post a year ago about my grandparents' house. Here is the link if you're curious.