July 9, 2008


This weekend my grandparents are moving out of their home of more than 60 years. Because of their age and poor vision, living independently has become very difficult for them, and they have decided to move into an assisted living facility in Houston.

This time of transition is difficult for them and their family. Their home holds so many fond memories, spanning 6 decades and at least five generations. Every major holiday has been celebrated in that home, as well has fun-filled sleepovers, and birthday parties.

This week I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I want to go visit their house one last time. Part of me wants to go visit them and see the house, and make sure that they are okay. I also want to see their new home and know for myself that they will feel at home at Hearthstone. But at the same time, I don't want to see my grandparent's house packed and full of boxes. I don't want to see bare walls and empty closets. This internal conflict has plagued me most of the week.

I finally decided not go this weekend. I want my grandparent's house to remain in my memory the way it was when I was a kid. From the plastic table cloth on the kitchen table, to the gold mail box on the front porch, I want to remember every detail the way it is supposed to be. I want to always remember the yellow curtains that hang in the spare bedroom. They've been there my entire life, and I remember pulling them back to look out at the huge back yard when I was a kid. I'll always remember the pink polyester night gown that hangs in the spare bedroom closet. I couldn't wait until I was big enough to wear Grandma's night gown - it was a :grown up" night gown and I as soon as it fit me I claimed it as my own every time I spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

I remember the creaking sound of the latch on the screen door in the kitchen. My brother and cousins and I spent a lot of time in the back yard, and the small metal latch on the screen door was sometimes tricky for us to open when we were younger. It makes this wonderful soft creaking sound every time the door opens.

I love the HUGE dictionary that sits on the table next to my Grandpa's chair in the den. It must be about 6 inches thick, and contain EVERY word in the English language. When I was a kid I couldn't even lift it! It is blue and and I think my Grandpa has read it cover to cover....

I love how my Grandma and Grandpa's house smells...sort of a mixture between toothpaste, cookies, and natural gas. That doesn't sound like it smells good, but it does. Older homes have that natural gas smell, and that, mixed with the clean smell of toothpaste and the sweet smell of cookies makes for a wonderful fragrance that smells like Grandma's house.

In the next few days the house will be emptied, cleaned, and left vacant until Grandma, Grandpa, my mom and uncle decide what to do with the house. When they leave this weekend, there will be an enormous vacuum that will fill all of our hearts with sadness and a sense of lost. We are losing what was - their independence, their sweet home. This tiny house, lacking so many modern amenities has meant so much to my family, and is to me right now, a dream house.

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