Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My dream home

I regularly search MLS for one house. One house that I have always loved. I key in the small town that it resides in and I see if someone has chosen to part with her.

Yesterday I found that they had.

This is the house that holds all my happy childhood memories. Every one of them. I spent at least a dozen summers at this house. It was owned by my grandma and grandpa. It was a different color back then. Browns and yellows. It was built in 1902. Those big windows at the top was grandma and grandpa's room. I only got to sleep there when I wasn't feeling well. Below the windows is the door that used to have the clear glass handle. It opened into a front porch that we didn't use. It smelled of dry paint and cobwebs and it was always warm. It smelled warm even.

You can see the solar panels on the garage to the right. They used that to heat the pool. That garage also had "the pit". The big hole in the ground that grandpa would climb down in to if he wanted to work on a car or truck.

This is the back yard. The fire pit wasn't there when we were, but this is just a stone's throw from the trees (to the right of the picture) where a bee stung my lip. I remember it vividly and I remember going inside where grandma had me drink orange juice. My lip swelled up so much I couldn't drink. Almost exactly where this fire pit is was where we put the sprinkler. My cousin and I would run naked through it (hey, we were five). If you were walk into this picture right now and keep walking straight through those trees, you would come to her house. In the very, very top left corner of this picture is my tree. See that little 'V'? I used to sit there and watch the world around me. The prairie was flat as anything and you could see for miles. You could hear for miles too so grandma didn't have to yell very loud to tell me to get out of that tree before I fell and broke my neck.

This room was an addition when I was about eight I think. The windows weren't there. The fireplace was. I remember a bird flying in through that fireplace and grandma when crazy. She didn't like birds. But to the left of the fireplace was a shelf with the tv on it. During the hot prairie summers we would cool down in this room, hot from the baking sun, and watch Gilligan's Island.

Ah. The pool. I was the very first person in this pool when it was built. It used to be a big garden, I can remember that grandpa would dig up the potatoes in the garden. One time he was digging and I reached my hand in to grab a potatoe and he almost smashed my hand with the shovel. I was reminded to keep back... but I wanted to grab the potatoe and smell it, all earthy and cold. When I first climbed in the pool there were bugs in it, and it was cold as heck. I remember the shallow end came up to my arm pits. But it was so cold you tried to walk on your tippy-toes to get the least amount of you wet. The crack in the sidewalk is still there. I stubbed my toe too many times. My cousin and I had reading marathons on this deck. I always wanted to beat her. I wanted to be better at something. Even when I was young I knew she had the better life. Her parents were still married and she lived next door to grandma and grandpa. My parents were divorced and I had to drive hours and hours to get here.

When I saw this picture I cried. This window overlooks the deck and the garage. I pressed my face to it every single night to try and see the stars and the lights from the closest town. I used to read Reader's Digest sitting at the top of the stairs when everyone else was asleep. I can still feel the cold against my cheek and taste the condensation. I remember that if you rub your hand along that wallpaper it makes a "zip" sound. And that stair rail? I got my head stuck in that rail when I was five or six.

This is the view from inside grandma and grandpa's room. Grandma has a closet to the left that had dresses and shoes that I'd never seen her wear.

This deck. This deck got HOT in the summer. And just to the right of it is the big picture window from the dining room. We used to go in and out of here, dripping from the pool to the couches with our towels.

And here's the dining room. That built in cupboard in the corner used to hold grandma and grandpa's wedding picture and china. I can still remember grandma sitting in the far chair every single morning I got up. I'd come down and she'd be sitting there. Welcoming and loving.

I think that part of the reason this is so hard for me is because we just moved grandma into one of those assisted living homes. I realized as we did it that she'd never move out. This was her one last move. The room is so small, so hot and so not enough for a woman like her.

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