Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Haunting

My most vivid childhood memories can be found on Highway 145, five miles south of the town of Chesterfield in a big old white farmhouse occupied by my grandparents. The memories seem to cover most of the seasons, although I never lived there full time. I spent nearly every summer there, as I have said before, maybe three or four Christmas's, at least three Thanksgivings , (eating at the children's table...much more fun than eating with the adults) and maybe once or twice in spring time. It seems that whenever we arrived, all the aunts and uncles came to see my parents and the cousins to see us. As the car climbed to the top of the hill on 145 we always saw Daddy Dwight's tree. Daddy Dwight was our grandfather, and Mammy was our grandmother. The tree was a tall long leaf pine that had been standing between the two dirt drives for as long as anyone could remember. When we saw that tree, we knew we were home. My mother would put down her car window and taking a deep breath, say "welcome to Chesterfield County, smell the air!" as though the air smelled any different or better in Chesterfield County. Of course she was right. It did. When we pulled up into the drive and parked in front of Mammy's house, we'd all pile out and run up the steps to the screen porch and mob my grandmother who was always, I mean every single time, wiping her floury hands on her apron so she could give us all a hug. She had the warmest smile and most musical laugh I can credit anyone in my life with having. It made us feel welcome and the love poured out of that laughter like water over stones in a waterfall. She would tighten that hug for a second to make you feel special before letting you go to hug our mother. My mother's face always lit up when she was being held in her mother's arms. If it was winter time, the kitchen would be warm and the fire would crackle in the little black pot bellied stove. Everyone would sit in the warm kitchen and catch up on life. Just a bit after dark, my grandmother would take us children upstairs to the big middle bedroom and help us find our pajama's, the huge old bed , piled high with quilts would be turned back ready for us to crawl in. We'd change quickly into our night clothes and tumble into the bed, cover up fast and wait for her to return with the warm flannels. She would take small flannel blankets and heat them up at the little stove, hurry up with them and wrap our feet in joy. The quilts would be piled on top of us, banishing the cold air, holding in the heat from the flannels, warming us up to our noses, which were just a tad blue, being out in the cold air. There was no central air and heat, but we didn't miss it a bit. Those were the most comfortable nights of my life. Just the memory of them warms me and I can see my Grandmother's face as clearly as if she were standing in front of me. Maybe that's what they call haunting. If so, I don't mind a good old haunting at all.


16 comments:

Brenda said...

Sandi,Great story. I would love to be right there today. In that warm old bed with a love that I feel we can never replace!

Katherines Dream said...

Lovely story, and that bed sounds very familar.
I am after an eiderdown myself as i speak...looking on ebay!
Food Shop Lists.......mine stays at home too - but funny thing is I remember the list as well, writing it down sort of leaves an imprint doesn't it!
xx

Vee said...

What a fantastic story! Your grandmother was the quintessential grandmother now wasn't she? Gives me something to aspire to and reminds me of evenings when my own grandmother would tuck me in. (She never wrapped my feet in joy, though. That sounds like heaven!)

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments in my blog today. That's just what an open door does...lets in gentle breezes and clears away the cobwebs.

Mary said...

It sounds just what grandmothers are for yes love

Jodie Adams said...

Hey I remember sitting at the children's table for holidays. I absolutely love this story. You wrote it beautifully. I almost felt as if I was there. It was nice when people made everything homemade wasn't it. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong time period.

Susie Q said...

You are an amazing storyteller Sandi!
I am always so drawn in by your words...they are magical!
Hugs,
Sue

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

Sandi what a lovely story! I'd love to have been tucked up in one of those beds too!

Terri and Bob said...

Sandi, I would love to be haunted like that, too! Sounds soo nice.

Kari said...

I always say that Grandma McBride had the nicest bedclothes. It seems like her sheets always smelled the best, felt the best, WERE the best. Maybe that's part of what grandma's are about. They're supposed to make you feel special, and loved, and ALWAYS at home.
Loved this story. It brought back many a good memory for me, too. Funny how much seperates our childhoods, and yet they still share so many similarities, huh?
Love you!

Mockingbird Hill said...

This really stirs up memories for me. We used to visit my grandmother, driving all through the night to get to her house. No matter what time we rolled in, there would be fried chicken, green beans and chocolate cake..and we sat down to a full meal, sometimes at 2 or 3 in the morning. Never seemed at all weird to us...it was just the way it was!
Thanks for signing up for my Halloween giveaway...you're a peach! Cassie

Jeanne said...

Cool story. Had to keep reading when I saw Chesterfield as there's a town near me that it sounded like.

Adla said...

Nice read, always great to have memories of those whom we love.I have special memories of my my great grandmother too. Grandparents are such beautiful people!

Wanda said...

What wonderful memories. I was right there with you. Quilts piled so heavy you can't turn over is one of the few things I actually love about winter.

Jenn and Jacqui said...

Hi Sandi, oh that was the best post! So enjoyed your trip down memory lane. Just beauiful memories of your Grandparents. Have a lovely day! Jenn and Jacqui

Country Cottage Chic said...

That's the sort of haunting we'd all love. Sadly, I grew up in a different country to my grandparents so we only saw them every three years or so, but whenever we did stay with them we were spoiled & my Grandad would always tuck hot water bottles into our beds in their cosy little back bedroom where my sister & I always slept.

Abbie said...

Memories! I love how you tell yours, seems like I'm standing right there experiencing it with you.
My grandmothers bless their heart didn't speak a word of English so it was hard to communicate with them, but they communicated pretty well with great tasting African dishes.