During my trip to California, I had the pleasure of staying at my grandparents’ house. It’s this fantastic little house in Glendale that was built in 1931 and has been kept in terrific shape. They’ve lived there for almost forty years and used to host loads of family gatherings back when my mother and her siblings all still lived in California.
My brother and I spent hours playing with our cousins there. We were in the middle of the pack as far as age goes, so the adults would entrust the kids to the older cousins’ care and socialize indoors, while the cousins all ran around the backyard like a tribe of hooligans. My grandparents had this croquet set they’d leave out for us, which we rarely used for croquet. Rather, we’d invert the mallets and ride them around the yard like horses. They kept fruit sodas in the garage fridge, which was a major treat for us since we never got to have soda at home, and it felt like victory to just be able to go in and help ourselves.
Indoors, there was a Playskool Holiday Inn play set that my grandmother kept stored in a closet. We’d get it out every time and take turns pushing the little blue Jeep across the floor or helping the little block head people through the revolving door in front. There was also a pretty terrific grate heating duct system in the house, and we’d shout through the grates to see if cousins stationed around the house could hear us through the grates in their rooms. I’m pretty sure we thought we were being stealthy, even though there’s nothing stealthy about yelling children.
It was a real treat to get to hang out with my grandparents and brother and mother in the same house where we’d made so many memories. My mother asked me why I was so sentimental and I really had to think about it.
There was something about going back to my grandparents’ house as an adult that felt like coming home in a way. I moved around a lot as a kid, and it felt refreshing in a way to see a place I remember that hadn’t changed much. It felt like an anchor to the girl I once was, but in a good way. Sometimes I feel so removed from that girl that it’s hard to remember I was ever young. Going back reminded me of the giddy fun I had imagining worlds with my cousins, who I unilaterally loved. It reminded me of how I used to imagine what I’d be like as an adult, how wonderful it would be to finally have a glamorous bathroom of my own. It reminded me of being in a house full of family, where everyone was talking at the same time and it was all wonderfully noisy and comfortable.
It’ll be a sad day when my grandparents move. I tried to convince Wes to buy their house but he thinks that a move down to California might not be the most practical plan, and we’re not well off enough to afford a vacation home. Ah well. Nothing lasts forever, I suppose. I’ll just have to finagle lots more trips down there while I can!