Grandma's house. One of those impermeable ideals. I know the scent of old books in the hallway and the faint hint of pipe tobacco in the office from many years ago; the creaks of weathered floorboards that have supported countless gatherings and little girls' feet dancing around the rooms; the soft light penetrating the old glass slightly hazy with age. My body knows the rocking of the familiar series of turns and hills you climb just before you reach the ivy-covered wall that takes you to the opening framed by the old stone posts that ignited the excitement of knowing you were finally there. I hear music - constant music - remnants of afternoons spent around the piano as grandpa, uncles, aunts, cousins, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends joined in music. It has been a Roman ruin, a castle, an ocean, a library, a museum, a garden, and all other places where my imagination took me, and in the end it was never at all disappointing to remember that it really was just grandma's house.
This house saw my dad and his siblings grow up. It provided the roof on which my grandpa climbed to sneak up to my uncle's window and scare him into going to sleep. It held the hiding places in which my dad stowed away during hide and seek games waiting as my aunt (in typical oldest sister fashion) enjoyed some peace and quiet as she pretended to try to find him. It hosted years of Thanksgiving dinners with charades, Balderdash, and more laughter and food than one could stand. It housed books – so many books – gateways to new adventures and knowledge.
This has been a year of saying goodbye to houses – to homes. But I'm grateful that we still have the soul of these houses - We have Grandma, and through her we have my Grandpa, and we have our family to revel in memories with and keep them alive. And until then, I will bask in every moment I can spend in this house and store up the memories so that someday I can share just how magical this place was with everyone who never had the chance to experience it.