Friday, October 19, 2007

Grandma's house

My Grandma has lived in the same house since she was 8 years old. It is a place where every kid loves to stay. I remember begging to stay when I was a kid, and now my kids beg to stay. There are a ton of things to do at Grandma's house. If it's nice outside, there is a swing set and sand pile in the back yard.

There are woods to explore, buckeyes to collect, berries to discover.

There is a circular driveway to ride a bike or scooter around. Several can be found in the shed. Just don't go too close to the road...

There is a huge yard to play any sport imaginable in. All the equipment can be found in the shed as well. Soccer, baseball, T-ball, basketball (there is a hoop by the driveway), football, kickball, crochet, volleyball, and probably a lot more that I cannot think of right now!

If it's raining, you can sit on the front porch and draw with sidewalk chalk, and probably run out and play in the water puddles formed around the driveway. Unless your mom or dad are there to stop you. Grandma won't. :)

There are also video games, DVDs, and tons of toys to play with in the house. As well as a pool table in the basement.

I don't remember ever being bored at Grandma's house as a kid. We played in the woods a lot. We also had a couple of 3-wheelers we rode around in the woods. Some of those hills we went up and down were pretty steep. There is a creek we used to spend a lot of time playing in during the warm months - looking for and catching crawdads, frogs, and various other creatures we found. Those old paths are grown over a lot these days - some of the woods that we played in as kids belonged to the neighbors and the kids now tend to stay out of the neighbors woods. Now instead of 3-wheelers, we have a 4-wheeler to ride.

In the winter time, we would all bundle up in our winter coats / hats / boots / scarves / mittens and whatever else was needed to go out and play in the snow. Sled riding down the huge hill that was in the neighbors yard and trying not to go so fast that you landed in the creek at the bottom. Most of the time we avoided it. That particular hill has since had a driveway put right through it to get to the new house that was built back in the woods.

We also used to walk down the creek when it was frozen over, or when we thought it was.. and hoped we were right. I remember falling through the ice with one foot.. or both... and either going on for a bit, or walking that long walk back to Grandma's house to dry off and warm up.

Always when we came in from playing in the snow, we would put our wet items over the register in the kitchen, grab a blanket and sit over a register in the living room, drink some hot chocolate that Grandma always had ready for us and warm up a bit before going out again.

In the fall, we would rake leaves together into a pile next to a swing, and jump off the swing into the pile of leaves.

I was one of the lucky ones because growing up, I lived right next door to Grandma so I could walk across the yard to her house any time I wanted to.

Before we moved next door, my sister and I always got on and off the school bus at Grandma's house as well. Mom had to be to work earlier than school started, so we were dropped off at Grandma's house - most of the time we slept in the car on the way there and on her couches once we got there, until it was time to go.

Every Sunday, Grandma fixes enough food for everyone to gather and eat at her house. All of her kids, the grand kids, and the great grand kids - not all come every Sunday, but any given Sunday will find the majority of them there.

Sunday at Grandma's house with our family is something I thought every family did when I was a kid. When I went to school and found out that it was not the "normal" thing for families, I was shocked. I also felt sorry for all those kids who didn't have a family like mine.

I grew up with cousins who were more like brothers and sisters. I remember some boy on the bus picking on me and Andy was right there coming to my rescue. Needless to say, the boy never bothered me again after Andy told him if he bothered me again he would be answering to him. I didn't have an older brother, but I had that "big brother" protection.

In addition to the Sundays at Grandma's house, the holidays are always a special tradition as well. Easter Sunday is a time when everyone comes to Grandma's house after church for THE. BEST. BREAKFAST. EVER. Then the older kids and some adults hide eggs for the little kids to find.

Our Christmas tradition recently changed due to the large number of people in our family. Up until last year, we would all draw names and gather at Grandma's to exchange gifts. Since there are now 60+ of us, last year "the kids" (Grandma's kids, mostly the women) got together and rented a place for us to gather. I believe this is the new tradition, but growing up, it was always at Grandma's house.
We always called it Christmas Eve at Grandma's even though it was not always on Christmas Eve. We adjust the dates to try to get as many people there as possible - with work schedules changing.

On Christmas Eve, we would go to Midnight Mass and after Mass, we would go to Grandma's house for pineapple rolls. The BEST. ROLLS. EVER.

Those are the two biggest holiday events. Other holidays were spent together doing various activities - grilling out, or just hanging out.

On Halloween, you can always expect a bag of goodies from Grandma's house. She never does get many Trick-or-Treaters because her house is so far back off the road. She always got the local kids, and grand kids, though. And she always has plenty of little bags to hand out, so when you do go there, you usually get more than one.

Any gathering with my family members there is almost guaranteed laughter. From stories of growing up, to making fun of each other, to playing games and laughing at each other, there is always something (or someone) to laugh at.

I have always felt extremely lucky and blessed to have the family that I have. There is a sign that hangs on a post in my Grandma's driveway that says "Worlds Best Grandma." That could not be more true. She is known to almost everyone as Mom or Grandma - even if she isn't their Mom or Grandma.

I took my camera to Grandma's house this past Sunday and Conor and I walked through the woods and took pictures. That is when all these memories of Grandma's house came to my mind. There are so many stories to tell, so many things to remember.

The road to Grandma's
In my opinion, I have the BEST family in the world. Yeah, I might be biased... but they are pretty awesome. And we were all raised, in some way, but the most wonderful person - my Grandma.


Misty said...

What a beautiful post and those memories will be with you forever. It's neat how what we experienced when we were younger are the same things that we want our kids to experience and when they do, it makes it even more special. Thanks for sharing!

Barb said...

What a wonderful legacy of hospitality your Grandmother is leaving to so many people! I was in her home once or twice and I felt welcome and part of the family, that's a rare gift she has!

Anonymous said...

That was really beautiful Kate.
Love you

Mrs. G. said...

You) (and yours are so lucky to have such warm and tender memories and your grandmother is an amazing woman to provide them so effortlessly to her family. She cuts all that grass!? Wow.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Haha, I have tried wearing a pepsi box on my head, good to know just before Halloween :)
Your grandma's place = HEAVEN indeed :)