In the corner of the United States, on the corner of Bridge Vista and Selah Loop, there is a yellow house with a star on
top. A little gate with a trellis over it welcomes family and friends, and invites them to step into a place where life slows down and becomes a little less complicated. Several years have passed since I visited, but I go back there just about every day.
My grandparents’ house holds many memories for me. Neither big nor small, it’s the perfect size. Inside, there is a kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms, a fireplace, a woodstove, and an attic. Outside, past the surrounding porch and patio, you will find a cherry tree, an apple tree, a peach tree, a walnut tree, numerous flower beds and a vegetable garden.
My dad and his sister grew up there. At the age of 18, he married my mom in that house. Later, when my mom’s illness put her in the hospital for months at a time, my family moved in and my grandparents took care of us while my dad worked. Years later, Adam & I had our wedding reception under the walnut tree.
As a kid, I could often be found in that walnut tree, reading a book. I loved everything about that house, especially the yard. I would spend hours wandering around outside, playing with kittens or baby chicks under the porch, walking barefoot in the garden, or exploring the fruit cellar. I remember drying my hair in the sunshine on hot summer mornings, watching Grandpa mow the lawn or Grandma water her flowers. I hope I get to see Lily and Jackson running in that yard.
I loved the yard best, but the attic was a close second. It was my dad’s room when he was a boy, and when we moved in it became mine. Dozens and dozens of beautiful porcelain dolls lived there, as well as all the various knickknacks and collectibles Grandma had acquired over the years. I loved exploring through old dressers and trunks, daydreaming in the window at the top of the stairs, and sleeping under heavy old quilts on the white brass bed.
Biscuits and gravy on cold mornings, summer evenings on the patio, Mariners games on the radio, yard-saling with Grandma, fresh cherries from the tree, Grandpa in his wood-working shop, tulips and daffodils in the spring, ivy and roses and pansies all summer, fresh sweet corn every August, sunflowers as high as the roof, the smell of fresh-cut grass every Saturday, home-canned grape juice, birthdays and Christmas and beans and cornbread…it’s always been that way, at least as long as I can remember.
Now, grandma’s memory is fading. Dementia. She’s not very old, only in her sixties. Grandpa just had another surgery to remove cancer. It scares me a little, to think that things might change. I know everything else changes, and people get older or move away, and nothing stays the same– and that’s okay. I’m used to that. But not them. Not that place. That can’t change.
I guess it is rather childish of me to hope it will always be there, unchanging, waiting for me forever. But I hope it does. I don’t know what I would do without it—the only thing in my childhood that never changed, never got sick, never moved away. I have a great life where I’m at, and I don’t wish for my childhood back, or anything silly like that. I just want it to stay right where it is, where I can always go back–to my little corner of perfect.
Time’s swiftly running,
Racing ahead of
Those golden days,
My little place
Where the sun shines warm
On sweet green grass,
Where pansies nod, and
Wink as you pass.
Come back, Yesterday.
Today, stand still.
Wait just a minute,
Time, stay until
A lock be set ‘round
My little place
To stay for all time—
The same, always.