Something is soothing about Grandma’s house, especially in these times of uncertainty; you can always rely on grandmas house to give you that loving comfort it always did. Everything sits in the same place; the spider plant, which will outlive us all, sat in the sunny spot of the hallway next to the wooden paneled staircase. The pencil pot and the miniature framed watercolor neatly placed alongside Nik naks that one day could just come in handy. If the smell of Grandma’s house could be bottled, I would certainly buy it. It is an indescribable scent perhaps of washed bedding and leather with a sprinkle of talc. A smell I know I will never smell anywhere else.
When I was young, I would pretend that the swirls in the patterned carpet were a racetrack and push my cars all over the house. The carpet that somehow managed to live in pristine condition for such a long time was never a mark? Never a tear? Even now, I can’t understand this witchcraft! We live in such a disposable way of life now. Everything in Grandma’s house had a function or a reason for being there aside, of course for the cabinet of trinkets. Some valuable, some more for sentimental value. I remember staring in awe at the collection of bird ornaments on display and wishing I could hold one. This, of course, never happened. The items in the beautiful mahogany cabinet were for viewing only. The most crucial area is, of course, the kitchen or “The Hub,” where warm cheese scones and lemon drizzle cake were prepared for our arrival. As soon as we put our bags down after receiving the friendliest, most comforting hug from grandma, we would be offered warm Ribena in posh glass mugs. my brother and I only drank warm Ribena at Grandmas; it didn’t quite taste the same at home… Grandma taught me how to measure out ingredients and had so much patience watching me attempt to cut out scones from the dough. As the mother of a heavy-handed 4-year-old, I now cannot for the life of me understand how Grandma remained so calm and patient watching me butchering a Victoria sponge cake. But this was Grandma. Calm. Kind. Patient.
Grandmas like mine don’t seem to be around anymore, almost like a dying breed. She was from a different age. An age where the Housewives role was an important one. Nearly as important as the man of the house’s job to earn income. I used to talk to Grandma about modern life trials and tribulations, and I imagine in her mind she must have been thinking how trivial it all sounds. Nothing in comparison to the hardship of living through two world wars, but yet she still sat patiently, listening and advising.
Three years Grandma has been gone now. Her house and the warmth brought all now a faded memory, or a quick lookup on righmove.com, which I wish I never did as seeing it so bare and empty brought on a full-on meltdown, and I mean ugly tears. I never managed to grieve as the process was shielded. Protected by family members that thought that perhaps they were helping by not letting anybody go to the house for one last time when in truth. It’s all I wanted. One final touch of the velvet cushions neatly placed on the comfy sofa, one last sit on the fold-up bed I used to sleep on the night before Christmas as a child, the bedding still the same and still as neat as a pin. I think I wrote this post to help me grieve, in all honesty. Even now, I still can’t bare to talk about grandma for more than a few minutes. She was everything I aspire to be in my later years. She just made everything seem alright. And I know you can all relate to this somehow, big or small. We all have that one person that gives us this comfort. Whether it be an aunt, a grandparent, or even a friend. Maybe one day I will be this person for somebody. I sure hope so.