You can always go home
As we pulled in the driveway that August afternoon, my first thought which I may have spoken aloud was, “It’s not as big as I remember.” I don’t know when Pop and Gram moved to the house at 5396 South Linden Road in Swartz Creek, Michigan, but it’s the only house they lived in that I remember well, and as a result it was high on the list of places we had to visit when Carolyn and Dad and I made a trip to Michigan in August, 2010.
My grandparents’ house of my childhood, seemed to have shrunk over the years! I especially noticed the size of the breezeway – the screen porch that connected the house and the garage. In my memory it was huge, or at least large enough to have a crowd of people sit and visit for an evening. In reality, it looked as if two or three chairs would have easily filled the space.
And the porch that accommodated all of the grandchildren for an Easter picture, really wasn’t very big at all.
Of course the house has changed over the years. New siding, front porch railings and a big bay window were the obvious exterior updates, and I’m sure that the inside had been spruced up as well. A stranger answered our knock on the door. After all, Gram and Pop have been gone for more than 30 years. But that house is at the heart of many of my cherished childhood memories, and even though it looked a little different than the last time I was there, when we pulled in the driveway the memories came flooding back. Carolyn and I got a little giddy with our reminiscing, and we were laughing and talking over each other as we listed the good times as fast as we remembered them.
- “Do you remember the closet in the den where the Life game was?”
- “We always took baths in the laundry sink in the basement!”
- “And what about the basement toilet that flushed up?”
- “Wasn’t there a creek that ran behind the house? Yeah, we weren’t allowed to go back that far without somebody with us.”
- “Pop always had the basement fridge full of Vernor’s (ginger ale) and Red Pop.”
- “But don’t forget the food room where Gram kept all the Christmas treats. That room was like a secret hide out.”
Do these pictures stir up your memories?
The copper bottomed pots and pans always hung above the range top. Occasionally we would get to shine the copper bottoms with a special sponge and cleaner. Work was always more fun at Gram’s house!
The front yard seemed so big, and it was bigger than an average lot in town, but not as huge as my childhood memory indicates. Linden Road (behind us) was a well traveled route and as a result we weren’t allowed to play in the front yard much. And I was totally rocking my skinny jeans in 1966!
I was always fascinated with the interior shutters on the living room windows. Clearly, Gram was very fashion forward in her home decorating. And that round table in the corner now sits in a corner of my house. I think I’ll find a more prominent place for it. After all, it is a piece of my history!
What do you think of when you remember Gram and Pop’s house?