Wednesday, 14 September 2016

To Grandmother's House We Go

What are your earliest memories?

I remember long road trips to visit my grandparents in Ohio. They lived on a high ridge, the Ohio River far below, West Virginia on the other side of the wide waterway.

I remember watching the barges go up the river, often loaded with coal, at least that's what I remember.

The house was huge, in my child's eyes, and was what they called a Tourist House, which meant they rented out rooms on the upper levels.

The front door opened into a dark entryway, dark because it was paneled in dark stained oak wainscotting, but not the usual chair rail height, this almost reached the ceiling.

Funny, but if there was a living room or parlor, I don't remember it. My grandparents' bedroom was on the first floor, maybe where the original parlor had been?

The kitchen was long and narrow, running the full length of one side. The dining room was really big, with a large picture window looking out to the river. The walls were covered in that same dark wood, with a plate rail on the top.

The round table would seat the whole family, and had a lovely stained glass lamp hanging over the center.

Some of my memories of the yard and garden are from photos. There was an English style garden, the grassy area surrounded by a white picket fence, the flower beds along the perimeter.

There were only two houses on the block, each house a large three story, on, aptly named, River Avenue.What seemed strange to me, as a child, was that there was a road separating the house from the garden. It was a small, maybe private road that didn't seem to go far except to separate the house from the yard, and the river beyond.

You could see the river, but it was from a height, and you couldn't make your way to the river's edge, as it was straight downhill and very wooded. Just as well, the water looked brown and dirty, not appealing for swimming.

When we visited, I got my own bedroom, a novelty as I shared one at home with my sister.

I remember they had a canary, and it once got loose in the kitchen. I have memories of sitting in my grandmother's bedroom going through her boxes of jewelry, some of which I still have.

Because of the age I was in the photos, I figure it was here my grandfather had his photography studio, and darkroom. There are so many pictures of us during those years.

Not sure when they moved to the smaller house, my memories are not as strong of that home. I think as we got older, my grandparents came to us, rather than the family making the trip to Ohio.

In 1971, they moved to Florida, and I've never been back to that 'hometown'.

I remember my grandparents to be loving and creative. From my grandmother I got a love of needle crafts, like sewing and crochet. From my grandfather it was the arts, painting and photography.

They were truly remarkable people, and I was very fortunate to have them in my life.

1 comment:

Blogger's Brother said...

You'd think my memories would be stronger as I'm YOUNGER than you, but I have very few. I remember the barges and I think I learned to ride a bicycle there. Wasn't there rhubarb next to the garage on the river side of the road?

I wish Grandad and Mom could've seen the kind work I'm able to do combining photography and art through Photoshop. I think they would've been impressed. Any talent I have in that area comes directly from the two of them, from a father to his daughter and from that daughter to her son.

I'm happy the way it worked out, I have Dad's sense of humour and Mom's artistic side. It could've been the other way around!