I always loved staying at grandma’s house when I was a kid; it may have been the constant supply of cookies and other treats at her and grandpa’s house, I guess. It could also be the way I was catered to; a kid never gets enough of that and of course the hugs.
I remember grandma’s house always seemed warmer in the winter, and even without air conditioning it was cooler in the summer than my home; the reason for that was always a mystery to me. As for entertainment, those were the days before television or video games, but I don’t remember ever being bored at grandma’s, because there were always things to do — things I would call chores at home, but at grandma’s they didn’t feel like work. I was always glad to feed the chickens or bring in some wood for the cook stove without a whimper. (The wood was probably for baking cookies.)
My grandpa died when I was pretty young, but I have wonderful memories of me sitting on his lap as he shelled peanuts and fed them to me while we listened to the Hugh radio in the living room.
When I got a little older, grandma taught me how to play gin rummy and other card games. One of the things I liked about staying overnight at grandma’s house was the big old featherbed I slept in when I was there. The featherbed felt like I imagine a cloud would feel like if you laid down in one. The featherbed would fold itself around me so that only my face would show above the banket that covered the bed. I remember feeling warm and safe enveloped in its fold no matter how cold the room around me happened to be. The memory of waking up in that bed on a winter morning to the smells of breakfast coming from grandma’s kitchen is something I could never forget.
I thought about me staying at grandma’s house last weekend when our grandson Aiden stayed with me and his grandma. I am sure he likes staying with us for many of the same reasons I had all those years ago, with the added bonus of a television and video games that he has at grandma’s house. There are some similarities to how things were at my grandma’s house, and how they are here — grandma has to have those hugs of course, and the menu always includes his favorites like chicken nuggets.
My wish is that when he is older, the memory of staying at grandma and grandpa’s house is something he will cherish as much as I do mine. While he won’t have the memory of a featherbed like I do, hopefully he will remember the hugs and other acts of love that grandma makes sure all her grandchildren get when they are at our house.
My grandma has been gone many years, but her and grandpa, and that old featherbed, are indelibly etched into my memory, and I think about them often.