My mother grew up in a place that’s referred to as the Ottawa Valley. It’s the area surrounding our nation’s capital filled with small towns and chip wagons. Every summer when I was young we’d pack into the station wagon and drive up to Renfrew to visit my mother’s parents.
I loved those summer trips. The town was charming in a way even an 8 year old could recognize. People moved slower, the sun seemed warmer and there was a quietness in the air. The town had a genuine penny candy store up the street from my grandparents’ house where they had a glass cabinet filled with candy they’d plop into a paper bag for you.
It was a town that seemed to be frozen in the year 1910.
My grandparents have since died, but the house I used to visit is still there, as are my memories of laying on the thick lawn daydreaming about what candy I would get at the store that day.
When my grandmother died years ago, my Uncle bought the house and lives there today. So when we were up that way attending a funeral a few weeks ago my mother and sisters took a trip to that little town to visit him.
The candy store is now gone, and the kitchen I remember so well has been remodelled, but much of my grandparents’ house is how I remembered it. Weird little toys around and trailing plants hanging over the fireplace mantle. I’m sure you have similar memories of your grandparents’ homes. Even the art hanging on the walls and the knick knacks from the shelves were still there. Things I remember from when I was a little girl. Things that made me feel warm and secure. Things that made me feel I was in the warm hug of my grandparents’ home.
So when my Uncle told me I could take a few things home, things that reminded me of my summers spent there as a little girl, I knew right away what I would take home with me.
Oh I’m sorry. You probably think I’m talking about this chair. Or the fern on top of it. No, let’s open up to a wider shot so you can get a better look.
Boobs. This is the single strongest memory I have of my grandparent’s house. Chalkware boobs.
Want more STUFF like this?
Or if you want to get technical about it, they’re “Mammalia Americana”. American boobs. They now hang (or protrude if you prefer) on my office wall. I took down a nice painting so they’d fit. With boobs it’s always hard to get a good fit.
I’ve mentioned a few times over the years that my grandparents were interesting people. Interesting in the way most people weren’t in the olden days. Interesting the way the criminally insane are interesting.
Which is not to say they were *actually* criminally insane. As far as I know they were never once jailed or institutionalized. And it’s a miracle that none of their offspring or offspring’s offspring were either. Unless you count that one time I was “detained” for the incident in the grocery store. It was the last unbruised peach, it looked perfect and it was to be mine. I took whatever actions necessary to make sure it got into my cart and no one elses. That was an accidental choke hold I had that woman in anyway. Pinkie swear.
In many ways my grandparents were like any other regular grandparents. They had a cottage we’d visit where the kids would fish off of the shore and the grown ups would get looped on the screened in porch.
My grandfather was a small town dentist and my grandmother stayed at home because that was best for the children. And her raging agoraphobia.
They had chattering teeth and plastic bed bugs and questionable specimens in jars. They’d lovingly fill your bed with the bugs before you arrived. It was like a game. Whoever could scar the child for life won.
Was I scarred? Oh yes. And I couldn’t be more pleased. Because if I hadn’t been tormented and influenced by those two freaks I never would have become the freak I am today.
The freak with a soft spot for penny candy, lush grass and an office wall that conjures up good memories instead of good taste.