My maternal grandfather died when I was six. Let's see, when I was six we were living in Highland Park, Illinois -- we'd already lived in Milescabenverontolouis Falls (Milwaukee + Escanaba + Denver + Toronto + St. Louis + Park Falls) and Tolumbusland Park (Toledo + Columbus + Cleveland + Highland Park). Most of them were far away from central Wisconsin, so I did not spend a lot of time at their house.
It's Grandpa's birthday today -- I'm pretty sure it's #102 (haven't had the genealogy files out in a while). Grandma died when I was only eight; she'd have been 100 last month. They were both only 58. Even being so young, I still have vivid memories blips about them and, especially, being at their house.
--The big dining room set -- table, chairs, buffet -- as well as grandma's treadle sewing machine that positively filled the very small dining room. That cherished set was a wedding gift from his parents. My mom has it now, though she cut the legs off the buffet in the late '60s. I dusted that set every third or fourth Saturday of my youth (when "dusting" came 'round by my name on the weekly cleaning rotation).
--Grandma's sewing machine has been my very sturdy night table for the past 21 years.
--Toast flying out of the toaster. Jumping, leaping, rocketing...
--Honey on Cheerios. The scent of honey always zings me right back to their kitchen, sitting at the table having breakfast with grandpa. The scent of honey combined with crisp, oat-y Os is near rapture; this is how I know about him and how much I must have loved him.
--Standing between the couch and wall, "doing" Grandma's hair (it was strawberry blonde and very fine), the old bubble bath container, a covered glass duck dish, held the bobby pins, of course.
--The telephone niche next to the kitchen doorway.
--Grandpa's overalls, grandma's dresses and aprons. They were both raised on farms and Grandpa wanted to be a farmer, but it didn't work out. I wore one of Grandma's old housedresses as a nightgown when I was in high school -- soft, old cotton in a wonderful, nostalgic style. I wore it out.
Memories are something, aren't they? They don't ever seem to grow old.