Thursday, August 30, 2018

WHEN WILL "198" BECOME JUST A NUMBER?

198.

That was my grandmother's house number, and her house is where I spent many happy times as a child, less time than I should have during my late teens/early adulthood, and more time than ever during the last couple of years that she resided at 198.

On many of my latter visits, I would walk around the house--now more quiet and dark than I ever knew it to be--and reminisce lots of good times.  Delicious meals, mamaw baking cookies, biscuits, etc., her stereo that used to play the kind of music that my sister and I enjoyed, mamaw in her favorite chair watching "Murder She Wrote" or the news, all the while working on some kind of project that fit on her lap.  The sun seemed so much more golden in those later years as it beamed into the dining room and kitchen, and I always enjoyed the peaceful view from any of mamaw's windows.  

I always enjoyed going to mamaw's basement, mostly because it was a cool getaway, but also because there were so many treasures for the eye to behold.  Any time she would ask me to go down there and get something, I was on it!  Of course, I always had to apologize for taking too long but was honest enough to explain that I took my eyes on a walkabout down there.  She would half chuckle and let me know that it was "mostly junk" and how she felt sorry for us or whomever had to carry "all that trash" out after she was gone.  

That day (weeks, really) finally came.  It was a lot to carry out, carry home, carry to my parents' house, etc., but I still enjoyed looking around--only this time I got a much more in-depth view.  My mother laughed at me because I kept going through what had been put in the trash pile, but you know there are treasures among the trash.  As you may have guessed, we were cleaning the house out for a new owner.  It was a huge job, but I enjoyed the time (but not the sweltering August heat) with my parents and sister.  I still walked through the house, but this time we were undressing the always-neat-and-tidy home that once was hers.  I tried to imagine not being able to come through the door again.  It's still bittersweet to reconcile that 198 is no longer in our family, but ohhhhhhhh . . . there are so many fantastic and loving memories.  

I will never enjoy mamaw's company or her beautiful and peaceful views.

I won't ever again check her mailbox.

I won't ever get to bake cheese biscuits for her (she taught me how).

I won't ring the doorbell and hear her footsteps rushing to get to me--or feel the warm embrace of her welcoming arms.

I haven't actually had any of that since 2014, but having her house in the family has been kind of like having a wee bit of her.

Sorry the prelude to this card was so long--I just needed to get some words out.  My mother asked me to make a card for the new owner, and I thought that it had to include "198".  And this is the card:


3 comments:

Nancy Dawson said...

You must have an amazing family! One that most of us wish for but never had. What a fantastic tribute to your 'granny'! God bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing such a private part of your life.

Stasher said...

I don't know how I missed this post! what a beautiful tribute to your grandmother, just bursting with love!

Two years ago my sister and I traveled to Michigan for the funeral of my mother's younger brother. We stayed at the home of my mother's older sister (she was in rehab following surgery at the same). This home had been one of the backdrops of my chikdhood. Holidays and weeklong visit with cousins a year younger and a year older. The house was bought new in 1949 and they lived there until my aunt finially had to sell it November of last year, when she may need to assisted living at age 92. All her photo albums we're there for us to look at. We spent several hours during that week looking through them.

The card is beautiful and a sweet gesture, I'm sure not lost on the new owners.

Jeria Coleman said...

What a beautiful tribute to one that shared so much love with you.