Saturday, May 05, 2007


My grandparents (my mom's parents) were one of the first people to move into a development around here in the suburbs. Their house, much bigger than the one they moved out of in the city was made like all of the others. Split level, three bedrooms and a bath and a half. Looked like all of the others in the development.

Growing up most of the family activities were centered around the house. Picnics during the summer. Birthdays. Sledding when winter rolled around or playing games with my numerous cousins. Holiday meals and Saturday nights spent playing games of Uno with my grandfather while others played round after round of hearts or dominoes.

Twenty four years ago my grandfather died. Since then, my grandmother has been living in the house pretty much alone. My aunt moved back in after she graduated from college for a short time then again after he divorce a few years later but beyond that, my grandmother has been maintaining the house all on her own. A few years ago, right around her 80th birthday, the house started gatting to be too much. She fell while trying to clean the snow off of her driveway and couldn't push the lawnmower to cut her grass. Due to her bad knees she couldn't go up and down from the living room to the second floor. The old place just became too much.

We all started tryig to convince her to sell it. My uncle, my aunt, my mom and even all of my cousins and I. From every angle we made the whole prospect of giving up the old house look good. But she is stubborn, a trait I fully inherited, and dug her heels in. She wasn't going anywhere. Finally, this past year when she fell and ended up laying on the floor of her living room for almost 10 hours before my mom happened to stop by, we made some headway.

She was ready to hear us out.

It still wasn't an easy sell. But we did it.

Now the whole family is pitching in repainting the house, fixing thing here and there, making sure the house, much loved and well used would be ready for a new family to take it over by the end of the summer.

During the course of the cleaning out we've found all kinds of things collected over the years from boxes of old clothes that belonged to my great-grandmother and my aunt, uncle and mother to old silver serving platters and mugs bought by us grandkids for birthdays and Christmas. So far I've inherited what I consider to be the best pieces yet, my great-grandmother's old Brownie camera and boxes upon boxes of pictures.

The pictures will end up being the real treasures though as I am going to be sitting down with my grandmother, before she's gone and no one will be able to tell me, and go over every single one of them. I want to be able to show them to my own kids (if I ever get around to having any) and tell them who the people in them are. Because that is the real treasure that is coming out of the house, not the antiques or the furniture. It's the history, that' the real treasure.

1 comment:

kate said...

My grandfather passed away last summer and we found boxes and boxes of old photographs while going through the house. My mom knew who most of the people were but I wished I'd known about them while he was still alive. I love those pictures; I snagged a few to frame and hang on my wall.