We had some time to kill yesterday before the hockey game. So the four of us, Mom, Brian, our friend Cathy, and myself rode around Glens Falls, the home town of both of my parents. We parked in front of Grandma Mamie’s (Dad’s mother’s house) and noticed the addition that made it look so different. The elimination of her wonderful patio where we had so many family gatherings while sharing her great meals was very noticed. The corner where her house sits looks so different. There was a strange feeling of the place being “off limits”, when once-upon-a-time-ago it was the center of love and inviting hospitality.
The next stop was the house my mother grew up in. There was a young woman carrying a little boy on the front porch. We stopped and asked her if she lived there. When she said yes, I pointed toward the back seat where Mom was sitting and told her that my mother grew up there. Before I knew it, Mom was getting out of the van and bee-lining it to the front porch. Soon after, she disappeared into the house. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to see the inside too, so I joined them.
I walked into a time machine. The room I was standing in used to be my grandparents living room. It has been turned into a bedroom. I recalled the day my grandfather was holding me in the middle of that room. I was crying because I was afraid of him. The poor man lost his eye to cancer and he looked like a monster to a 4-year-old. He was really a nice and funny man as told throughout the years by my mother. He died when I was 6.
My mother went into each room with us following. She shared a little history with the young woman and the little boy. Mom and I learned that the huge garage that was out back and was once filled with Grandpa’s junk (treasures to him and the people he sold the stuff to) is gone. The house next door, which used to be a grand old house was looking dilapidated. I told the young mother about the velvet curtains in the doorways that had beautiful braided ties, and about the old dusty portraits of forgotten people that hung around the house. And I remembered how nice Marion, the woman who lived there was.
Mom shared a few more highlights about the house and neighborhood she grew up in with the young woman. It had been a more than 40 year gap since we were in that house. The young mother seemed appreciative of learning a little history, but it didn’t over shadow the indebtedness we felt towards her for letting two harmless-looking strangers into her home.
We left for the hockey game with swirling heads of ancient memories. Memories that this nice young woman graciously allowed us to have.
An unexpected and heartening contribution to mine and Mom’s lives together.