My Grandparents' House

A short piece I wrote when we started clearing out my grandparent's house after we decided to place my Granny into a nursing home.

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1. My Grandparents' House

I took a deep breath and opened the front door and stepped inside.  Even after doing this a dozen times or more, it felt strange to be here without them inside.

I looked around me, seeing none of the familiar knick-knacks that I remembered.  Most of the furniture had been cleared too.

This house held some of my happiest memories: times when I stayed with my grandparents during the holidays and when my parents were moving house; Christmases with family; and weekend visits with my parents.

Now it was depressingly bare.  Everything I remembered from my childhood, adolescent years and young adult life was gone.

I go straight to the kitchen.  This was where I would normally have found my grandmother cooking.  Granny had been the best cook I knew.  I loved it when she used to make Sunday lunch; especially her fluffy roasted potatoes.  No-one could make cakes and scones the way she did.

I move on to the dining room.  There used to be a portrait photo of my uncle and his family over the sideboard where my grandparent’s kept their cutlery and cruets.

The conservatory, where my grandmother used to do her embroidery in the summer, and where we used to make little scented bags and pouches.

Next was the living room, where we spent so many pleasant hours chatting, watching television together or just quietly reading.  I can still see my grandfather sitting in his favourite chair by the window reading one of his books; and I can imagine my grandmother sitting next to the fireplace embroidering by the light of a day lamp, or in the garden tending to her roses or digging up weeds.  I remember curling up in Grandad’s lap whilst he read me books by Lewis Caroll and Dick King-Smith before I was old enough to read them for myself.

So many happenings that have come and gone.  I like to think that they have left their mark on this place, even if you can’t see them.

Leaving the living room, I climbed the stairs to the study.  My grandfather used to spend a lot of time in this room, on his computer.  Whether it was uploading photographs from his digital camera or printing pictures onto DVDs of television recordings.  But before that, it was where my grandmother did a lot of her sewing, and where I slept when my parents and I stayed over for Christmas, or for a few days during the summer and Easter holidays when I was little.

I can remember running up here when I was five, after hearing one of my wrapped presents suddenly start yawning and snoring, thinking it was a dragon.  It had turned out to be a snoring teddy bear that my father had bought for me when he was in the Middle East on one of his business trips.  I laughed at the memory.

The spare bedroom where I stayed when I became too big and heavy for the travelling cot, and where I often sat at the table by the window that overlooked the garden, reading books or listening to music on my CD Walkman.

The master bedroom still smells like them.  It is strangely comforting, but at the same time upsetting.

Walking back downstairs my hands lightly grip the banister.

Stopping in the hallway I take one last look about me.  I’ll miss this house, just as much as I miss my grandparents.  But it, like them, will always have a special place in my heart.  With that thought, I close the door behind me, and at the same time, closing a chapter of my life.

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