Sometimes I miss my grandma. She died in April of 2008 after suffering a stroke. I don’t remember when I saw her last. It must have been over Christmas 2007. We lived in Turkey when she suffered the stroke, and I flew home to attend the funeral. My grandmother had been living with my aunt in another state due to some dementia and the inability to take care of herself that went along with it. The house she lived in my whole life was sold quite a few years ago so there had never been a reason to go back there. The funeral was held in a town close by, but her burial site was right down the street from her old house.
I miss that grandma. The one who lived in that house. The one who got up early every summer morning to go to the garden to pick what was ripe. She wore clear rubber shoes/boots that cinched up and buttoned closed. I liked to wear those shoes around the yard because they felt nice and slippery. I miss those shoes. In the late mornings we’d walk to the post office to pick up her mail. On the way home we stopped at the local store to pick up a few things, and she would always let me buy something. I usually picked out coconut candy.Sometimes I picked out a whole frozen German chocolate layered cake. It was the first German chocolate cake I’d ever had, and I’m convinced it was the best as well. I miss that cake. In the afternoons we’d go visiting. Sometimes we walked to the neighbors, but other times we’d get in the car and drive out to the country to visit whoever she “had a mind” to see. I miss those trips. The old country roads and rickety wooden bridges. The sweet iced tea on the porch. Collecting eggs or picking berries to take home. Wooden steps and well water. It was something.
I often wonder what kinds of memories my kids will have of their grandparents when they grow up. I have no doubt that they’ll be good ones. They’ll just be so different from mine.
When my oldest was a baby my parents bought a weekend lake house. After a few years they upgraded and moved to the lake. I was so excited for my kids. This was a place they could remember. There were acres to explore. Fishing and four wheel riding. Swimming and a vegetable garden. I couldn’t wait to make memories. Then we moved overseas. Still though there was a familiar place to come home to. I loved that. My parents lived in that house for a few years, then due to several health scares decided that they needed to move back to the city. I was sad. I grieved the loss of unmade memories.
After living in suburbia for a couple of years my parents built a house in a quiet neighborhood in the country. There are lots of trees and places to explore. The houses are spaced far enough apart so there’s no neighbor intrusion. They have a swimming pool as well as a nice backyard. My mom planted tomatoes, turnip greens, green beans, and has blackberry bushes growing wild along the back fence. The streets are paved and perfect for bike riding. My kids have a great place to make memories.
Last month my parents bought another weekend lake house. It doesn’t have the acreage or forest around it like the old one. From what I can tell from the pictures I’ve seen it doesn’t have as much character as the old one either, but it has a lake for fishing and swimming. They have a peach orchard and blueberry bushes. There’s room to explore in the wide open. We haven’t had a chance to go out there yet, but I can’t wait to see what memories are made there.